Selfie master: Getting the best pic when you’re alone

Marion Fernandez

Adventuring, whether you are hiking, camping, or even on a road trip, can provide memories that you will keep for the rest of your life. Because of that, most people like to mark memorable moments with a picture, something that is challenging if you do not have anyone with you. Thankfully, with the progress of smartphones, the ability to take an epic photo of yourself when you are alone is more than possible. Here’s how you can get the best picture of yourself when no one else can take one for you.

1. Know where the light and shadows are

Choosing the perfect light setting makes a world of difference to how your selfie turns out – you could be bathed in a soft sunset, complimenting your features, or stand out in stark sunlight, emphasizing all your blemishes.

The first thing you need to know before you take a selfie is where the light is at. You need to make sure you don’t have any shadows over your face. If you are in a place where it seems likely to have a shadow, you can face the sun, though you run the risk of washing out your face instead. The ideal time of day to take a selfie is when the sun is lowest in the sky, giving you a beautiful light that is not blinding or too intense, but still present enough to help you avoid the shadows. When the light is right, it will get rid of any under-eye circles and help you look more refreshed.

2. Use flash when you need it

Of course, if you are out, you do not have control of the weather or the light. There is a good possibility, depending on where you are, that you cannot avoid shadows or get good light at all. If this is the case, it is time to employ the flash. Most smartphones now have the option for flash with the front-facing camera. Just make sure that the lightning bolt symbol is selected, so the flash will work. You may need to take quite a few this way in order to get the light right.

3. Avoid lame poses

Be original with your poses – taking run-of-the-mill selfies gets a little tedious to see on social media – but an original selfie will have tongues wagging and many thumbs up.

It is tempting to do silly poses that other people have been doing in selfies. If you must then take one like that, but still take other photos as well. The duck face, for example, has been overdone so if you do decide on it, do so with caution.

4. Give yourself a smile

Smiling in any photograph is going to take it up a notch. Even if you also want to try some that are more serious or express an internal type of reflection, make sure you also take one where you are smiling. Smiles, primarily natural smiles, bring radiance to a shot, giving you something that you will want to share with others. A forced smile may not come off as well so if you cannot possibly muster a natural smile, just try to keep your face neutral and pleasant.

5. Don’t settle for one picture

Take multiple shots so that you have options to choose from.

Even if you think you got the picture the first try, take a few more just for good measure. When you are back home, reviewing the photos you took, having more options about a scene is always better, especially if you were trying to capture a special moment at a special place. You could not repeat it easily if you didn’t get it the first time. Try smiling differently and moving your head and body around in different pictures to see if you can catch the light or angle better from shot to shot.

6. Don’t double up on sunscreen

If you already wear a daily sunscreen, putting on more sunscreen on top of it is going to result in a bad selfie. The zinc within a sunscreen can react poorly to sunlight or a flash, giving you a glare on your face that you will not be easy to correct. There are SPF powders out there if it is a big concern for you, but you can also avoid it with just one type of sunscreen on at a time, or using a hat to help protect your face from the sun’s rays.

7. Putting makeup on might prove a mistake


Harsh sunlight has a way of making all your flaws stand out – especially if you are wearing makeup and it’s a close-up selfie. Be natural and don’t cake your face when outdoors in the sun.

Usually, if you are out hiking or in the outdoors generally, the chances are that you might not be wearing makeup. Ideally, your face should be free of makeup when taking an outdoor selfie, in order to ensure that the natural light will not show the makeup in surprising ways. When all else fails, keep it natural.

8. Try out a full-body selfie

Try to get all of you in one shot or your surroundings instead of just your face to lend perspective and background to your selfie

Check out your phone’s camera settings and see if you can find the timer. Setting up your phone for a full-body selfie doesn’t just take in more of the surroundings, but it also shows off more of you and gives you a different look than the zoomed-in full-face selfie. Play around with where you are in the picture and how you are sitting or standing to get a picture that you are happy with. You can set your phone up with a tri-pod if you have one, but otherwise look to see what you can set the phone up on before taking the picture. Be careful where you put it, however, because losing or breaking your phone anywhere, especially in the outdoors, is not what you would want to do.

9. Be careful with the filters

It can be tempting to use all of the amazing photo filters that are available on phones and in apps, but proceed with caution. Over-filtering pictures can detract from the natural beauty of both you and the surroundings. You can always tinker with pictures after, when you are reviewing the pictures that you have taken, but when taking them try to do it without filters or effects in order to get the real picture you want.

10. Try your phone’s back camera

Your front facing camera is not as good as the back one – so try to use the back facing camera to get a better quality picture

Instead of using the front facing camera, it might be better to use the back camera. The camera itself is usually better quality and will offer a better picture in general. You may have to do some guesswork with lighting and position, but the quality will make it worth it.

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