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How to take the perfect selfie - Do's and Don'ts!

Updated on September 9, 2013

Whether you think it’s cool or lame, let’s face it; the ubiquitous selfie has become the mainstay of our generation. No longer just a part of the hipster generation lingo, there really is no place that you can look nowadays without encountering well known public figures, celebs and your everyday person becoming snap happy in the quest for a perfect self-portrait. Call it narcissistic if you would, but one has only to browse Facebook to see a stream of selfies coming thick and fast. But let’s face it, so many of these pictures are done wrong. There are many dos and don’ts when it comes to taking the perfect self-portrait, here are a list of some of our favorite points that are worth considering when it comes to the self-inflicted mug shot.


1. Consider Lighting

When it comes to taking a selfie consider that daylight is your best bet. The natural light that enters into a space diffuses everything with a soft glow and helps to bring a radiance to a person’s best features.

One of the most flattering things that you can do for yourself when it comes to taking self-portraits is to find good, soft focus lighting. Keep away from fluorescent lights as they highlight every harsh reality of shadows, lines and pimples that can exist on a person’s face and you really don’t want to highlight this.

Use natural lighting to the best of your ability. Keep the subtle and natural tones.
Use natural lighting to the best of your ability. Keep the subtle and natural tones.

2. Look happy!

Put on your happiest face, feel the cheer and happiness permeate your being. Life really is too short for miserable and dour looking selfies. Yes there is a time to look moody and dramatic, but more often than not, the aim of your selfie is to go up onto a social media page, a professional network profile or uploaded as an ordinary profile picture, why would you not want to put your best foot forward? Smile naturally and yes, that means having your smile reach your eyes - show some teeth!

A smile and a happy countenance is the best accessory that anybody can wear!
A smile and a happy countenance is the best accessory that anybody can wear!

3. Find your best angle

We all have it, that one angle that we rock, looking the best that we ever can. Find your angle and find what works for you. If you have no clue what your best angle is, figure it out with a friend. Take a chunk of your afternoon, go out in natural light, and explore different types of shots and angles. See what works best. A fresh pair of eyes is often exactly what is needed to be able to see ourselves in the best light.

Top Photographer selfie tips:

  • One of the best tips that top Photographers offer is to tilt your head at a 45 degree angle so that you look slim and trim in your selfie.
  • Move away from the middle. At times, the subject of a photograph may seem boring when placed in the middle of the frame, but when moved either left or right gains a whole lot more perspective and interest.

Find your best angle and work it!
Find your best angle and work it!

4. Relax your arm

Let’s face facts. We all know that you are taking a selfie; we also all know that that’s your arm in the picture. What matters is not that we know, but just exactly how it is that you do it. Do you pull off the execution well? Especially if you’re taking a picture with your Smartphone or a tablet, you really don’t want to make it obvious that you’re holding the camera...drop your elbow a little bit, relax into the shot and pose with a clear open gaze.

5. Be original

We’ve seen the peace sign over a million times people. It’s about time to try something new! Equally, thumbs up and then two thumbs up is simply so passé. Try some new and more exciting poses, find angles that work for you instead of just being a part of the crowd. Find your own unique sense of sparkle and run with it!

6. Do many takes and have fun with it!

Patience darling! If you want the perfect selfie, you’re going to have to put in the effort. The perfect photograph isn’t taken on the first shot. You will have to do as many as it takes in order to get the desired effect. Remember to take breaks in between to recoup your natural sparkle and energy. Don’t feel as if this entire shoot has to be forced. In the chunk of time that you carve out to take the pictures, ensure that you cultivate the right energy.


1. Duck face, trout pout...just don't do it

This one comes back to haunt you. When there are so many other choices and types of selfies to take, really rather leave this washed out tired pose alone. When there are millions of original ways in which to arrange your face, why on earth would you want to choose ‘duckface’?

2. Don't neglect your background

Many times in our enthusiasm to get a good picture we forget to check our backgrounds. Take a good look around you to make sure that there’s nothing embarrassing or cringe worthy that you will regret later on when you excitedly upload it later. Scan your environment for piles of clothing, stuffed waste bins and photo bombing pets and little children. Remember: location, location, location! There have been a number of times online; we’ve all seen the ones, where people take pictures in all kinds of weird places like bathrooms and toilets with disastrous consequences. Equally, if you’re outdoors for a selfie, don’t just pose without checking up on what’s around you first.

The shock, the horror! A background come to life!
The shock, the horror! A background come to life!

3. Don't highlight and accentuate features that are not your best

Let’s face it; we would all like to think that every one of our features are the best. However, the reality is that some are just more flattering than others. If you have a stomach pouching out that you would just really rather hide, then perhaps it is best that it doesn’t appear in your shot. Equally, don’t deliberately take upshots of your face in a manner such that you expose your double chin. In a world where your face is your visual currency, there really is no reason not to put your best foot forward!

Are you adept at selfies?

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Taking selfies in public is a unique opportunity to bighten up your day, have a look at this fun video; Taking selfies with strangers


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    • infoweekly profile image


      4 years ago from South Africa

      Ha ha too funny! Love the memes!

    • Pro-Hubber profile image


      5 years ago from Florida

      I take selfies and i love it. nice hub and informative. Thank you :)

    • Rae Saylor profile image

      Rae Saylor 

      5 years ago from Australia

      I don't take selfies, but I have friends who do and whom I can share these tips with ;-) Great hub! Voted up.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I am so guilty of the duck face, well i've reformed a bit but still pull it out every once in a while. lol ... great article, very fun!

    • amandajoyshapiro profile image


      5 years ago

      I don't know why so many people make their mouths the focus of their pose in a selfie. Just keep your face relaxed or smile. Great article.


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