Saturday, February 1, 2014

Tips for Smokin' Hot Selfies!

Selfies, though a new term, is not a new idea. I've been doing it for years. I use self-portraits to create my own press photos, to entertain myself and my friends, to goof off, document my life, and.. well.. I do it because I can. Over the years I actually got pretty good at it. Of course, being a professional photographer has something to do with it.

Recent Selfies - documenting my 40's.
But I do have some tips.. a secret here and there. Here's my top 10:

1.       LIGHT: Make sure you are lit from the front or the side. The best light will come from a natural light source, such as a window or light from the outdoors. If inside, you can use a white posterboard to bounce light and direct it onto you. For example, sit on a chair facing a window. Place a posterboard on your lap and reflect the light onto your face, but hide it from the camera. This will fill in harsh shadows and create a soft look. You can also use the sun when outside, but it’s best on a cloudy day because the clouds filter the bright light. If you do not have clouds, sit under a tree. Sitting for portraits in direct sunlight is a myth. You’ll squint and create lots of shadows.

2.       BACKGROUND: How’s your background? Are there a lot of stuff sitting around you? Is the wall distracting? Does it look like a plant or tree is poking out of your head? Look around for a spot that has as many solid colors or textures as possible. Brick buildings, wood siding, a solid colored wall or a wooded backdrop all make great backgrounds. Just remember, the less busy the background, the more the viewer will focus on YOU.

3.       DO SOMETHING! If you have the same pose, the same look, the same head tilt in every photo, it’s going to get boring. Even if you’re having dinner or walking the dog, THAT makes a far more interesting photo than just you, again, smiling like you always do… every single time.

4.       LOOK UP: Hold the camera just slightly above eye level. It’ll raise the chin and catch the light so your eyes will twinkle.  Pull your jaw slightly forward and away from the neck. Double chins vanish!

5.       BE AWARE OF YOUR BODY: including your outstretched arm. Unless that’s the look you’re going for, try different angles so that your arm is not seen, or prop the photo up and use a timer.

6.       BE REAL: It’s often pretty obvious that your photo is a selfie, so be very careful when trying to fool people into thinking you were sleeping, looking away, gazing into space, and so on. We pretty much know you staged the photo and then snapped it yourself. So be real. Take real photos. It’s better to the in-the-moment, goofy and visibly taking a selfie than to pretend that you somehow just caught yourself off guard and happened to take a photo.

7.       TAKE SEVERAL PHOTOS: Yes, you may feel silly sometimes, but even professional photographers need to snap a few photos before they have the one they want to show the world.

8.       USE MAKEUP TO FOCUS ON ONE THING: If you have your eyes done, then keep your lips bare. If you’re wearing bright red lipstick, then keep the eyes simple with some mascara and maybe liner and light eye shadow. You don’t want the eye to be drawn into two places, it needs to focus on what you think is your best feature.

9.       IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU: If you post a lot of selfies, you may come across as  conceited. Sorry, but it’s true. I good rule of thumb is to post a minimum of 3 photos of other things for every 1 selfie. This way, it doesn’t look like all you’re doing all day is taking your photo and focusing purely on yourself – unless you’re involved in a photo project, if so, click away!

10.   USE YOUR FILTERS: to create interesting lighting and color saturation. Play around with what YOU like. There are some amazing tools out there and honestly, I love playing with them too.

Lastly, just remember that eventually, some of your Facebook and Twitter friends are going to eventually see you out in the real world, so be careful not to over-edit. You want them to recognize you when they see the REAL you.

Have fun my lovelies. Feel free to share your selifies with me on our IFD Facebook page and let me know if you have any tips to share.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, here's some of my favorite selfies from my 30's (when we called them Self-Portraits.)

Terri Jean

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