How to Take a Selfie Without Shame
Chicago photographer Wendy Alas knows a thing or two (or 365) about self-portraits. Though she shoots weddings and other events like a pro, the trained photojournalist also took a picture of herself every day as part of a year-long self-portrait series she conducted from 2009 to 2010. In the years since she completed that particular project, cell-phone self-portraits—or “selfies”—have become even more popular, though as any avid Facebooker can attest, the results are often less than flattering. Here, Alas shares a few tips for taking more elegant self-portraits.
Show Your Best Side
Alas says that side angles are usually the most flattering, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only option. “If you have a strong jaw, you should definitely show that off with a straight-on snapshot,” she says. As for angles to avoid: “One that I see all the time … is [a] high, handheld camera looking down, which will make your head look big and your body [look] tiny.”
See the Light
“I love natural-looking images and natural light! Window light FTW!” Alas jokes. When taking a selfie indoors, she recommends using a white reflector, or a piece of white cardboard to diminish shadows on the face. “Try it and you’ll thank me later.”
Ditch the Duck Lips
“Just opening your mouth slightly will create that confident look on your face … I also believe in Tyra Banks’s smile-with-your-eyes look. It’s a pensive, almost vulnerable look that will make you look super cool and confident and approachable.”
“I love Instagram, [and] I love that you can take videos now, too,” she says. “I recommend the Mayfair, Lo-Fi, Rise, Valencia, and Walden [filters] for portraits; they just even out your skin tones and make you look flawless.” Another tip: the Lo-Fi filter helps correct overexposed or too-bright photographs.
The Final Word
“Use a timer, a tripod, and have fun with it.”
Letting someone else snap the shutter for you? Check out Alas’s tips for flattering, natural-looking portraits.
Photo: © Marla Depew, Groupon