Setting a Standard for Selfies

With the advent of smart phones and social networking, almost all of us have indulged in the occasional ´selfie´ at some point, but if you want to know how to take better selfies, there are a few fundamentals that you should be aware of.

¨A selfie is a self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone. Selfies are often shared on social networking services such as Instagram, Snapchat and Tumblr. They are often casual, and are typically taken either with a camera held at arm’s length or in a mirror.¨

Pre-Production or Background Preparation

Choose a well-lit area. Good light is an essential element of any photograph, and selfies are no different. The sun or light source should always be in front of you and a bit above eye level, never behind you. Light from behind leaves your face in shadow and completely ruins a selfie.
Consider using a thin curtain to diffuse sunlight or a single light source. It makes the light softer and more flattering and smooth’s facial lines while making it easier to smile.

Use natural light if at all possible, since it renders colours more faithfully than artificial light. You can use artificial light to fill shadows, if necessary. Most modern digital cameras have some automatic colour correction but artificial light, particularly fluorescent, will change the colours of objects over the entire photo (this is called colour temperatures.)


Have some tact. There are some places that should be completely off-limits to selfies. Most are pretty common sense, but as a general rule, ask yourself, “Is something more important than me happening here right now? Is this location known for something more important than I am?” If the answer is “yes” to either question, save your selfie for another time.

Funerals, weddings, and other major occasions are off-limits. If you are at an event meant to focus on or celebrate another human being, put down your camera and step out of the limelight. Similarly, if you are at a memorial site, keep the phone in your pocket. No selfies at any other memorial or statue, especially if a tragic event took place there once before.

Pose with a striking or unusual background. While the bathroom reflected in your bathroom mirror may seem like an acceptably standard background, to take a truly good selfie, try posing with something that people might actually like to see. Nature always makes a great background. In the spring and summer, you can pose in a small wooded area or near a blossoming bush of flowers if you need a quick and easy backdrop. For autumn, capture the colour of the changing leaves in the background, and in winter, capture the majesty of ice and snow.


If nature is not your thing, you could stay indoors and take a selfie in your room. Clean things up first, though. You could also display something interesting in the background as long as it is not distracting. For instance, if you love to read, then a bookcase or stack of books would be a good backdrop. A movie poster with a lot of different people on it could be distracting, however.

Watch out for photo bombers. The standard culprits include younger siblings, crying children, and dogs taking a break on the lawn behind you. Before you snap yourself, take a quick look around to make sure that no one and nothing is lurking in the shadows, waiting to ruin your moment.


Of course, if a photo bomber still manages to sneak into your selfie, you can always retake the photo after they leave. Just make sure to check the background thoroughly before you upload your newest selfie!

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