Selfie-Shot in kitchen window lighting/1.17.14- Helios 44-2 film lens/Digital Rebel/manual
Lighting is your friend, ladies!
Seeing how I’ve been getting all this extra attention lately, I thought it a good time to make a post about how to take a good selfie (technically speaking). Anybody that knows me truly knows that:
a.) I don’t take myself too seriously. Ever.
b.) I look 20 years younger than I actually am, thanks to Photoshop. (I’m 44.)
c.) I don’t shave my legs and I really don’t care. (But that’s beside the point.)
Normally, I stay oblivious to my “audience” and rarely write for others. Not that I have anything against that, I’m particularly too lazy to keep up with all of the hooplah and riffraff. But tonight, I decided to address selfies and lighting and that sort of thing, because, who doesn’t have a few bad selfies lying around? (I have hundreds.) Not that I’m a narcissist, I’m a photographer: there’s a difference. (Not really.) But if you have a guy-friend that pilfers through your hard drive like I used to do with my ex’s, then you can just tell him “you’re a photographer” and he won’t think twice about it.
I have a bit of a cheap wine hangunder at the moment, so I’ll keep this list short and sweet. I know there are all sorts of one-click filters out there to make you look all selfielicious and everything, but if you stick to these pointers, I promise you, you’ll cut a few corners, save time, and look a heck of a lot better.
- Go into the light!
Find a “window light” source. It doesn’t have to be fancy; everything I do is cheap and at a fraction of the cost that others spend. Natural window lighting is the best light in the world for selfies- I promise! Don’t use midday lighting: it’s harsh and will either blast your pupils, simulating an unflattering meth-addiction, or it’ll highlight your shadows and age you instead. (You don’t want that.) The best time for good-selfie lighting is early morning to midday (just before noon), and late afternoon to early evening. Also, apart from professional and expensive lighting, nothing puts beautiful catchlights in your eyes like a window. (See pic above.)
- Embrace your flaws
As you can see in my selfie, I’m make-up free and alright with showing a few lines and pores. It’s natural. Guys want to sleep with Barbie but they really don’t want to take her to lunch. Don’t be a Barbie.
- Look like you’re going to kick somebody’s ass
This is my go-to look that works for most pictures. It’s alright to smile! But this is always good to fall back on and believe me, you’re going to need to fall back on this at some point.
- Stretch your face muscles before a shoot. Mimic the word “WOW” in excess, raising your eyebrows simultaneously; it’s a little weird at first, but it loosens up the expression and circulates the blood. Do this about 50 times, and really, it’s good do get in the habit of doing this daily because it tightens up the facial muscles. (I’ve done it for years.) After you’re finished, your face will relax into a “default” comfortable expression. If that doesn’t work, look like you’re going to kick somebody’s ass.
- Keep the camera slightly above your head, point your chin down a hair, and lock your eyes into place.
There’s nothing worse that enlarged nostrils, double chins, and bad angles. Keeping the camera above your head slightly (preferably at 3/4ths of an angle) will flatter your angles.
There you have it.
THANK YOU!!! this is awesome. What a kick ass expression (bit of an Elvis sneer) and yes that window caught my eye with your eye right away. Really B, I have taken a few good shots of meself, but I am learning and taking notes here. really? 50 eyebrow push ups with matching wows!! ???? LOVE it oodles!! yeah!!
January 17, 2014 at 10:09 pm
See, we can both study each other and take notes. :0) I certainly do you. By the way, that’s not an Elvis sneer, that’s my smile. And that”s AFTER the facial toning workout.
January 17, 2014 at 10:11 pm
So… At the risk of making every single comment to you about our similarities, once again: a,b,c – check. The beginning of the paragraph following – check. I hope all this sounds like some weird code, because it’s meant to.
January 18, 2014 at 1:58 am
I’m good at reading between the lines. ;0)
January 18, 2014 at 2:17 pm
I love the way your eyes look and your look with them, it reminds me of myself at times when I am trying to take pictures of myself 😀
I totaly second all of your advices, but especialy advice number 3 😀
January 18, 2014 at 9:27 am
Yeah, I’m so totally not going to “smile and say cheese!”. Ugh. I show what I feel, which is often introspective, reflective, questioning, seeking, and, not surprisingly, stormy.
But it’s REAL, yeah, fellow INFJ? ;0)
And yeah, # 3 is one of my favourites too…ha. I’ve had to survive in some pretty gruesome scenarios; you learn real fast to wear your quills extra sharp for survival. What’s even harder though, is knowing when to tuck them in so you don’t rip up the feather, eh? I’m still working on that one. ;0)
January 18, 2014 at 1:04 pm
Great pic, you look mean n’ moody. I don’t do selfies, infact I prefer not to photograph posed people shots full stop. I think there are a grand total of 2 selfies of me in existance which are 6 & 10 years old now.
January 18, 2014 at 12:33 pm
That’s my “ass-kicking expression” according to a dear friend of mine..ha. Don’t let my “Kill Bill” tough girl act fool you though, I’m a softy that delights in bleeding out for humanity. (Sometimes, to my own detriment.) But I’m content with it. :0)
And, you should totally take more selfies. I tell people that they should do that frequently, because it forces you to “look in the mirror” and analyze and critique your own eyes, face, mouth, expression: it builds self confidence and self esteem and a person needs to “self-examine” regularly. I know a lot of photographers (a LOT) and I’m never surprised that many bold people with their cameras are terrified to take self portraits (for various reasons) but psychologically, it’s not only healthy but necessary.
So yes, take more selfies. ;0)
January 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm
haha, yeah I’m a big softie too. I think a big draw of photography for me is that I can hide behind my camera.
January 18, 2014 at 1:52 pm
EXACTLY. I used to have chronic agoraphobia (among other things), but when I got into photography a decade or so ago, it shattered those fears (to bits) and my camera became my weapon. I set out immediately for some hardcore ‘exposure therapy’ (no pun intended!) and began taking pictures of the things I was afraid of most. Heights, gargoyles, train tracks, deep water- the list was pretty long, but after ‘composing these things and areas’ through the lens (rather than allowing them to compose ME), I grew fearless and bold. I think we photographers share many other things in common besides the camera. ;0)
January 18, 2014 at 2:00 pm
I have conquered my fears of heights and bridges over water through my photography. I started getting anxiety/panic attacks about 2 years ago (being in crowded places and on buses are big triggers) and with being house-bound for several months I’ve got worse and start getting panicky just getting ready to go out but I’m hoping I’ll beat it by going out taking photos as my stamina for walking improves.
January 18, 2014 at 2:18 pm
I’m betting you’ll beat it too. You know how it goes: the bridge is shaky at first, but then after a few steps- no problem. ;0) You’ve got this. Looking forward to your spring shots!
January 18, 2014 at 4:05 pm
Thanks 🙂 I think we’ll be getting an early spring this year, we’re having a very mild (but wet) winter.
January 18, 2014 at 5:18 pm
I salute you with multiple chest-thumps for not shaving your legs.
January 19, 2014 at 10:23 am
I’ve been known to thump my chest a time or two. :0)
January 19, 2014 at 4:48 pm
I doubt I’m alone when I say I am sitting here doing the face-stretch “WOW” thing over and over right now.
January 20, 2014 at 12:08 am
You can even pair it with kegels for added entertainment!
January 20, 2014 at 11:46 am
Haha! That sounds way too coordinated. Though now I have to try…
January 20, 2014 at 11:56 am
Could you imagine a You Tube tutorial on that? You’d have to call it something like, Kegel Pow-WOWs or something, and play like, Gangnam Style in the background. If you get really good at it, you could probably make up an exercise video where you’re actually doing kegels, the WOW-eyebrow thing AND the gangnam Style at at the same time. Imagine THOSE hits.
January 20, 2014 at 12:05 pm
Let’s do this. And become millionaires.
January 20, 2014 at 12:11 pm
Beautiful lady! ❤
And thanks for the tips! I'm sitting here in front of my computer, stretching my face, yawning "WOOOOOOW" 😉
January 23, 2014 at 4:25 pm
Haha…it’s really super fun if you do it while raising your eyebrows simultaneously, while pacing the hallway.
Ok, it’s not super fun- that’s a lie.
But it does give the kitties a good scare…heh.
January 23, 2014 at 5:20 pm
You are so beautiful and timeless that it’s unbelievable ❤ Seriously. Gorgeous
January 23, 2014 at 8:51 pm
Aww, thanks, Jen. :0) I swear Photoshop has nothing to do with my ever-increasing diminishing facial lines.
January 23, 2014 at 9:52 pm