We peeps on social media are not content to just write lengthy Facebook posts about ourselves, tweet out genius 140-character one-liners, or photograph all the cool food we’re eating and you’re not. We’ve got to show you just how awesome we look while we are doing all of these things. From kids to teens to celebs and even grandmothers, the selfie craze has taken over the Internet. In order to avoid deep social shame, follow these rules I’ve picked up for perfecting the art of the self-portrait.
DON’T: Look down at the phone when you take your selfie. Various bad things can happen, like your body looking larger than your head. You also develop extra chins. Shadows can fall across your face in unflattering ways. These are all selfie fails that can lead to lasting social media shame.
DO: Hold the camera straight in front of you or better yet, several inches higher. Tilt your face up slightly if necessary, but let your eyes do more of the work meeting the camera’s gaze. This can make for a very sultry selfie, as Kim Kardashian illustrates. And yes, this is also the chubby girl’s trick to looking thinner–you’ll see a lot of Facebook and dating profile photos taken from this angle. But seriously, it’s an attractive angle for people of any size, male or female. The light falls on your face, your cheekbones and chin look more prominent, and your eyes are open wide.
DO: The Turtle. This is a photo technique from supermodel Tyra Banks. Always push your face forward when taking a selfie. Pulling back gives you that weird squashed face look and adds extra lines and folds that you don’t want to show off.
DON’T: Use the front-facing camera. Camera phones are climbing quality levels to the point where you could practically film a Hollywood movie using one. Unfortunately, the front-facing camera would only be suitable for something like the “Blair Witch Project.” Sure, it makes it easier to see how you’re posing, but it also makes a photo that is grainy, poorly lit, and adds ten pounds to your face.
Practice makes perfect. Take enough test selfies and you’ll eventually know exactly where and how to hold the phone so you’ll be perfectly in frame.
Exception: Once-in-a-lifetime photos. If you’ve foolishly and illegally climbed to the top of some man-made sculptural landmark, or are hanging off of a cliff, or you run into Beyonce just as she’s getting out of her Escalade, you don’t want to risk screwing up this momentous selfie by aiming the camera wrong. Sure, you’ll sacrifice a bit of photo quality, but you also won’t be sobbing that you only got a picture of your left eye and that shiny SUV door handle.
DO: Find someplace cool to take your selfie. By this we mean, not your bathroom. Sure, sometimes you just want to post a pic to show how hot you are, but consider making an effort. Even Eminem selfied in front of the Mona Lisa.
DON’T: Take selfies while driving. This is as bad as texting, people. Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. We might give you a pass if you’re stopped at a freight train or in traffic so bad you have time to write the next “Anna Karenina.” See tennis legend Roger Federer, who combined a selfie with a contextual shot of said traffic jam. Nicely done. Now put that phone down.
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