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What’s the secret of a perfect selfie?

Perfect selfie
Turn your lacklustre selfies into art

Everyone, from primary school kids to 80-year-old grannies, takes selfies – even monkeys are getting in on the act. The perfect selfie is a brilliant way to capture a great night out, create a new Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn profile picture or flaunt those new fake lashes. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone takes good selfies – the internet is bursting at the seams with blurred snaps taken in haste or in the bath.

And I’m just as guilty as everyone else, as this horrifying outtake from The Blair Witch Project proves:

bty

Perfect Selfie Step 1: Angle

Always hold the smartphone above your head while taking a selfie. This will make your eyes look larger and avoid the dreaded double chin and pig nose. If you’re the proud owner of a selfie stick (hey, we’re not judging. Well, maybe a little), this will happen naturally.

It’s also worth holding the phone at arm’s length, rather than unnervingly close to your face – no-one wants to see your nasal pores.

Perfect Selfie Step 2: Light

Natural light is your friend as it’s softer and will reduce unwanted shadows. Try sitting next to a window while you’re snapping away or, god forbid, venture outside into the sunlight.

If, however, you’re more of an indoor selfie-taker, position a lamp around a metre away (but don’t point it directly at yourself), rather than relying on the harsh top lights. Never use the smartphone’s flash for selfies unless you have to.

When you’re on a night out, hunt down a hipster bar with flattering Edison light bulbs or candles and watch as you’re instantly transformed into Kylie Jenner. That could just be the 10% double IPA, though.

Perfect Selfie Step 3: Setting

There’s always a place for holiday selfies in front of dramatic lakes, bemused locals and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but otherwise try to keep your pictures as distraction-free as possible. This also applies to selfies with friends: you don’t want to spend ten minutes framing a shot – only for some numpty to ruin it with bunny ears.

Perfect Selfie Step 4: Expression

Most people are at the best when they’re smiling. If you’re not, try experimenting with a pout or the classic duckface, although the latter is apparently “sooo passé”.

You can also enliven the image with that staple of selfies around the world: the hand gesture. There are many to pick from, including peace (or, if you’re of a certain age, Churchill’s “V for victory”), metal horns, “okay” or, if you’re feeling nostalgic, even Ali G’s “West Side”.

Perfect Selfie Step 5: Filters

To prevent your selfie looking like a scratchy portrait of a Victorian family or a still from an animated children’s TV programme, keep filters and add-ons to a minimum. Experiment with the ones included on your smartphone and photo editor of choice until you find a filter than subtly enhances your image – not distracts from it.

The Perfect Selfie

It’s time to put my money (or smartphone) where my mouth is and capture the perfect selfie. The result is a symphony of awesome lighting, a winning smile and a subtle filter…

bty…or not.

Read next: Which is the ugliest smartwatch?

About the author

Max Figgett

Max has written for numerous websites and magazines over the years. Whether it’s about ancient hardware or software secrets, no Big Tech Question is too obscure for him to tackle.

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