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5 Steps To Taking The Perfect Selfie When You're Less Than Photogenic

Updated on July 8, 2014

Halle Berry


"You Look Much ______ In Person!"

For better or worse, humans tend to judge by appearance first. And in today's hi-tech world, we either meet or keep in touch with most of our acquaintances online. Whether you're taking a professional selfie for a job site like LinkedIn, keeping your social networking afloat or trying your hand at online dating, you want to take great selfies to not just look good but to wow your viewers and possibly beat out the competition!

Ever meet someone in person and think "this person looks much better in person than they do in their pictures"? Or the polar opposite-meet someone who looks way worse in person than they do in their pics? It's not that they bamboozled you into thinking they looked better or worse-it's just that they know how to take a good selfie. Or not so good selfie. Whichever applies to said person you just met that took your breath away-for better or worse.

Flawless Skin, Ageless Beauty

And the rest of us are not Halle Berry. The rest of us age, have red blotches, acne in our 30's, pockmarks, raccoon eye, and everything else our HD cameras nowadays tend to pick up. Then there are those of us who aren't considered conventionally beautiful. Our noses too wide or narrow (in my case, one nostril is larger than the other-Shh!-our little secret!), too pale or too dark-skinned, misaligned or missing teeth, too round of a face or too strong of a jawline-the list goes on!

So how do you take a great selfie with all of that? Well the answers are simpler than you think.

The Moment You've Been Waiting For: All 5 Steps!

  1. Smile With Your Eyes- I knew all those America's Next Top Model-watching marathons would pay off. Tyra Banks would say this corny line repeatedly until it stuck in my head. I thought she was off her rocker. Until I tried it one day. Ok, she may still be off her rocker somewhat, but the eye thing works. Try this: practice, of course, with your cellphone camera kind of making your eyes "pop" (brighten or widen them a bit), while remaining unsmiling with your mouth. You'll wind up with a few googly-eyed and deranged looking pics at first, but no worries. There will be that one pic where you'll realize, "hey I am smiling with my eyes!" and you'll have the hang of it from that point on. Attempt to smile with your eyes for every single selfie you take and you'll notice an overall better quality selfie.
  2. Pose- Seems silly to pose if you're only taking a picture from the neck-up, right? Not really. If you take the time out to pose, the alignment of your body will be better, and your face will reflect that alignment in your selfie. For example, a person with a rounder face may notice that with posing his or her face seems to have more structure along the jawline in their selfies. Try this: take a face picture of yourself relaxed, slouched and unposing. Now take the same type of picture, from the neck-up, but pose. See the difference? Great!
  3. Angles and Lighting- Ever go to one of those department store type of places to take a family photo and they have all of these bright lights beaming down on you? On top of that, the photographer has the nerve to come and adjust your head and neck into an awkwardly uncomfortable position that makes you feel like you're going to look a few cans short of a six-pack when the pictures are developed? But then voila! You get the pictures back and you look like the celeb version of yourself? There's a science to getting just the right lighting and angles to create a perfect selfie as well, and it's not far off from the department store photographer's methods. Try this: Take selfies in every type of light you can find until you get the one that flatters you the most. For me, it's in my bathroom and certain angles in the sun. Try taking your selfies in both natural and artificial light. Also try to turn your head in unnatural angles. Don't always look directly into the camera-have fun with it-look off in the distance somewhere. Find different angles to place the camera. For example, try taking selfies above your head, on the side of your head, from below and directly in front of you. A little experimentation will help you decide your most flattering lighting and angles.
  4. Smile Your Best Smile- There are some people who just hate taking pictures-and it shows. Every selfie they take looks more like a mugshot than a personal pic they took of themselves. Regardless of the reason you want or need this selfie, you want to look inviting and warm. A smile is the best way to invite someone in. If you are self-conscious about your teeth, then smile close-lipped OR put your tongue in place of the missing/misaligned teeth. Tongue replacement makes your picture look whimsical, so don't try that on professional selfies, of course. Try this: attempt to take several different selfies while smiling every way you know how. If you have an issue with your teeth, try the tongue-replacement method with several different types of smiles. Once you've found the smile that's the most flattering in your selfies, stick with it!
  5. Makeup and Jewelry- It's not only for celebs, you know. If you have oily skin that always shows up as a bright orb on your forehead, then you may want to try a light oil-absorbing foundation prior to taking your selfie. If you feel you come across as too pale in your pics, then a nice bronzer and a little blush should do the trick. If you're going for dramatic, you can always go with false lashes to make your eyes "smile" even more. Jewelry should always enhance, not take over, i.e. try not to put on earrings that are bigger than your head, chains that make you look like Flavor Flav and 4 finger rings-unless you're going for the has-been rapper look. Try this: Even if you're not a make-up kinda person, go to your local drugstore and pick out some anyway. Look at it as only being for your selfies and then go home and try it out. Take selfies with your new look. You never know, you might like it! Warning: professional selfies should have very minimal make up, if any at all. Jewelry should always be kept to a minimum; opt for small studs and no additional jewelry if possible.

There you have it, folks. Great Selfies 101. So long the duck faces of yesteryear and hello to a cuter you-at least in pictures!

Yours Truly, Doing My Best Celeb Look

Taken with my laptop camera. Note I have on oil-absorbing foundation, false Iashes and a little bit of shadow and lip gloss. I'm tilting my head down so you don't see my crooked nostrils, smiling with my eyes & bit down on my lip for a sexy look.
Taken with my laptop camera. Note I have on oil-absorbing foundation, false Iashes and a little bit of shadow and lip gloss. I'm tilting my head down so you don't see my crooked nostrils, smiling with my eyes & bit down on my lip for a sexy look.

The Perfect Selfie Tutorial

Let Me Know!

Thank you so much for reading! I'd love to hear your comments or questions on how you've learned to take a better selfie!


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