Selfie Lighting Tips and Flattering Angles for Selfies
Taking a selfie seems like a simple thing. Then, you take one that you don’t like, then two, and, after a while, you’ll start wondering whether your less attractive friends are just more photogenic.
On the other hand, maybe they have the best selfie camera phone, and you’re just lagging behind when it comes to hardware. The truth, however, is that there’s no such thing as photogenic, and that even the best phone in the world doesn’t make much difference if you don’t know how to take a good selfie.
There are two things you need to master to start taking killer selfies.
The first one is choosing the right angle. You would be surprised at just how much difference this can make. Secondly, you want to learn how to manipulate light to your benefit.
With that in mind and without further ado, here’s what you need to know about choosing the right selfie angle and setting the light (as well as a few things more).
Table of Contents
Choosing the Right Angle
Picking the right angle for a photograph is nothing other than choosing how you want to portray something.
You see, every object has its good and bad sides and the creator of the photo chooses which side they want to show. So, before you get started, it’s important that you find the right selfie angle.
Keep in mind that the key thing you need to focus on is contextual. So, depending if you want to hide a second chin, appear thinner, make your nose look smaller, you may have to take a different approach.
If you aim to look taller, you need to angle the camera from below. Of course, this is the briefest possible explanation, and there are a few additional tips you want to follow.
For instance, you need to be the tallest object in the photo, and standing straight may also help. Also, taking walking photos may be quite helpful. Lastly, make sure that you don’t wear a single color.
Making your nose look smaller
There’s a survey claiming that selfies can make noses look 30% bigger than they are.
Now, this is a significant problem for people who are already self-conscious about the size of their noses. The thing is that selfies put a short distance between a camera and a face, which is why you need a wider-angle lens or a selfie stick.
Even without these two, just extending your reach as much as you can, will give you a better selfie angle.
Hiding a double chin
The simplest way to hide a double chin is to take a selfie from above. Raising the phone above your eyebrows and angling the camera to look about 45 degrees down will make all the difference in the world. Also, you can draw your chin forward in a slight arc, thus concealing it without actually having to look down.
If you want to look slimmer in selfies, what you should do is try sticking your chin out, stand still, and take a photo from above.
Raising your hand high above your head or even using a selfie stick can make a huge difference. Also, if taking a photo in a sitting position, it’s incredibly important for you to sit straight.
Finally, the choice of your wardrobe makes a huge difference here. For instance, having patterns or wearing bulky clothing may make you appear wider than you are.
Lastly, there are a few more ideas that might provide you with a better angle than you initially expected.
For instance, laying down and putting the camera directly above your face might be a fun thing to try out. Also, slightly elevating the camera while looking straight at the lens might be quite fun. Needless to say, this also answers your question of “where to look when taking a selfie?”.
Finally, turning your face slightly to one side might work, especially if you believe that one side of your face is more photogenic than the other.
Selfie Lighting Tips
While the quality of your selfie somewhat depends on having the best selfie camera phone, the truth is that understanding lighting and angles can be even more impactful.
When it comes to the light, regardless of whether you have a front camera flash or not, there’s always a light source present. Now, how you orient yourself against that light source will determine everything.
Here are some spots that provide you with unique lighting opportunities, as well as how you benefit from them.
In the shade
Taking a photo in the shade of a tree, in the shade of a building, or in an alley is an amazing opportunity for outdoor selfies on a sunny day.
Shade is generally great for selfies because it will help you avoid squinting your eyes. Generally speaking, you want the light source to be in front of you.
While the majority of people just worry about where to look when taking a selfie, the prospect of this light being too intense doesn’t often cross their minds. Remember: you’ll still have enough light, and it won’t take as much editing later on.
Aiming for the golden hour
The golden hour is a colloquial term used for the moments before sunrise and just before sunset (sometimes even a full hour).
The reason why this is so great is that the sun will light up a part of your face without it being too intense. This means that it won’t hurt your eyes or make you squint.
Some people like to take selfies during the golden hour with the sun behind them. However, this needs to be done extra carefully — otherwise, shadows may ruin the whole composition of the photo.
Also, keep in mind that even during the golden hour, the sun can be quite intense. So, wear sunscreen.
Facing the window
One unexpectedly good idea when taking a selfie would be the one where you’re facing a window. Now, this can result in several interesting options.
First, you can go for a short light, in a scenario where the window is at an angle to the side or in front of you. This way, you create both highlights and shadows. This will also give your face more depth and dimension, especially since shadows are slimming you down.
You can also go for the butterfly style, which is of the ways to provide good lighting for selfies without any extra effort. This is when the windows are in front of you above your eye level.
Because the light is coming from above, the shadows will only be on the bottom side of your face (especially beneath your cheekbones and below your eyebrows). In other words, you’re getting natural make-up.
Spots to avoid
One more thing worth mentioning is that there are quite a few spots you want to avoid.
Even with the best selfie camera phone, suboptimal conditions will make the selfie subpar. For this very reason, you want to stay away from open fields on a bright and sunny day.
You also don’t want to stand under the overhead indoor lighting, since it will make you appear over-illuminated, and you’ll have no control over where the shadows are falling.
Naturally, you want at least some light, which is why selfies in dark bars or clubs are, generally speaking, not the best of ideas.
A Few Extra Tips
At the end of the day, there are two more ingredients you need for a perfect selfie.
While it is true that there are a lot of rules about how you should pose for selfies, you can also get extra creative and try to turn the odds to your advantage.
You see, you don’t have to look perfect and you don’t have to over-pose for every selfie if you don’t feel like it. After all, the trend of posing under a less flattering light to show the difference, a no make-up selfie, and similar unique ideas are on a stellar rise.
his is the so-called Instagram vs. reality trend that you should check out. Remember, even the best selfie camera phone is powerless if the artist lacks imagination.
Another thing you need to understand is that self-confidence makes all the difference in selfies.
This is something that no pose and no amount of light can substitute. Just think about the message that you’re trying to send. If you’re visiting an impressive landmark, make sure that your facial expression shows this, as well.
Sure, indifference can be witty when done sarcastically, but the bottom line is that you want to tell a story with your selfie. Photography is an art, and the fact that it’s a selfie that we’re talking about makes no difference in this regard.
In the end, it’s important that you understand the importance of a proper setup and the proper opportunity.
For instance, the golden hour photo opportunity presents itself once or maybe twice per day (depending on how early you get up). In other words, it’s usually not a spontaneous thing.
The biggest deception about some of the best-looking selfies is that they’re far less spontaneous than they appear. Nonetheless, with the above-listed few principles on your side, you can get quite a bit from this.