I sometimes struggle with my self-esteem. I don’t always think I’m beautiful or even attractive for that matter. A couple of years ago, I found myself being thrust into the dating scene (which wasn’t a bad thing), but it led me down a path of really looking at myself. Both from an internal perspective, but also examining my face. Trying to figure out if I was beautiful, or how I could determine that. Part of the dating scene is taking attractive pictures of yourself. No, I’m not talking about sultry photos that make men weak in the knees. But selfies that show off your features and make you feel beautiful. Which is how I came to like what was looking back at me in the mirror.
And there are psychological advantages of taking selfies. They’re not just vain. Take too many of them, and they can be. But overall, they can improve your self-esteem. They have for me. I used to send a picture to my boyfriend every day. I would get myself ready for work and then take a quick photo of myself so he could see what I was wearing or how I was styling my hair. Or if I decided to wear contacts today over my traditional glasses. Which means, over time, I got pretty good at taking selfies. I know which is my “good” side. I know what kind of lighting frames my face the best. And I would like to share some of those tips and tricks with you now.
First of all, practice! When you’ve got some free time at home, take as many selfies as you need to figure out what angle works for you. Like I said – I was taking these every day. It takes time, but you’ll figure out the angles make your smile look best. While this isn’t a hard and fast rule for everyone – holding your camera slightly above your eyes will prevent the appearance of double chins. Tilting your head slightly to the left or right will make your face look slimmer. And trust me, it does!
Once you’ve got the angles figured out, you will have to figure out the best lighting. If you’re inside and light is only coming in from one direction – say a window – try to face the light source without making your hand cast a shadow on you. Shadows are always bad. The best type of light to take photos in is natural light. Obviously. But the best time to shoot is during the hour before sunset. Pictures will look better on a slightly cloudy day than under harsh sunlight. Clouds provide a natural filter for a softer effect on your face and prevent overexposure that can happen on a sunny day.
Remote Triggers to Avoid Blur
All the prep you do before taking a picture can be ruined by a shaky hand. This is something that I’m all too familiar with. You might have to hold your phone in a way that makes the trigger hard to reach. Or, if you’ve recently had a manicure, hitting the trigger on your iPhone can be difficult too. In those situations, try using a voice or gesture trigger. Today, many phones offer voice commands to take photos when you say prompts like “Cheese” or “Smile”. Or you can use a selfie stick, which seems like antequted technology now, but it still works.
After you’ve taken the picture you still might want to improve it. Aside from using your built-in Photo apps or Instagram in order to tweak things, you can also consider a selfie app. Some popular ones you can try include:
- CyberLink’s YouCam MakeUp app – you can slim your face and apply makeup digitally.
- Meitu Xiuxiu – to add an overall glow to the picture. You can stretch yourself to appear taller, turn yourself into the cover star of a magazine or add stickers and text.
- EditLab – to add a double exposure effect that blends another picture on top of your selfie, which creates a romantic effect.
- Snow – for its fun Snapchat-like face filters.
While these last suggestions will enhance your selfie-game, remember that if you are using them for a dating site, make sure they are representative of who you are. Posting selfies to Instagram with fun filters all over them is one thing. Just don’t misrepresent yourself. Think of these as photos for yourself. Have fun with it. It will make you feel better about yourself, I promise.