HOW TO TAKE SENSATIONAL SELFIES

GIRL ABOUT TECH, AKA AMY CUTMORE, TECHNOLOGY EDITOR AT IDEAL HOME MAGAZINE

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Have a quick glance through your friends’ Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feeds and it won’t take long to find a pouty self-portrait, inspired perhaps by Ellen DeGeneres and friends at the Oscars, Cheryl’s charitable no make-up poses or Kim Kardashian’s brazen ‘Belfie’. Not surprisingly, the selfie has quickly become an art form. So how do you perfect yours? Follow my quick tips, that’s how!

TIP 1 – GET A BIT OF DISTANCE

Unless you’re half Stretch Armstrong doll, achieving good results with the wide-angle lens found on most cameras is pretty much impossible. However, with new gadgets like the selfie stick and apps that let you operate the camera’s shutter from afar, it’s easier to get the distance you need for the most flattering portrait.
Alternatively, The Olympus PEN E-PL7 lets you get really creative with its OI.Share app, which allows you to remotely control the camera from your smartphone. You can zoom in and out, adjust the aperture and shutter speed, preview the effect live and then operate the shutter remotely, and even set a timer to take a sequence of selfies, changing your pose just as you would if you were in a photo booth.

TIP 2 – BE AWARE OF YOUR BACKGROUND

Take a tip from the world of pantomime and look behind you before you take your selfie. For example, if you’re at home, no one wants to be distracted by your laundry pile, last night’s washing up, suspect reflections in the bathroom mirror or – much as we love a feature wallpaper here at Ideal Home – a ‘busy’ decorating scheme. Equally, if you’re out and about, a backdrop of rolling countryside or a pretty flowerbed will beat a car park or wheelie bins every time.
Beware of objects that could seem to be ‘growing’ out of or through your head, such as trees and lamp posts, and keep an eye out for potential photobombers – mischievous friends, grumpy passersby or even cute animals all have the potential to steal your selfie thunder.

TIP 3 – FIND YOUR LIGHT

Take ten years off your selfie self by using the available light to your advantage. The light created by having the sun or a lamp shining directly onto your face – rather than behind it or to the side – will eliminate any dark shadows under your eyes. It will also help to hold the camera slightly above your eye level – no one really wants to be looking up your nose.
Don’t use a flash, if you can possibly help it. This can give you a pale, unflattering complexion and casts harsh shadows. Your biggest problem, though, is the sun. If this is directly behind you, you could end up with an over-exposed, ‘washed out’ backdrop, while your face will appear dark and you’ll barely be able to make out your features.

TIP 4 – USE FILTERS AND POST-PRODUCTION TRICKS

Adding a preset filter can make your selfie look more natural and professional. You can do this before you take your shot – the aforementioned PEN E-PL7 camera has some excellent art filters including Vintage, which really flatters faces – or if all else fails, do what they say in the movies and ‘fix it in post’. Well, if it’s good enough for stars like Beyonce and Lindsey Lohan, it’s good enough for me. If you’re not proficient in Photoshop, there are plenty of easy-to-use apps you can turn to – my favourites are Photowonder, which can add make-up, disguise blemishes or simply “slimify” and Facetune. Just don’t go too mad – no one’s perfect, after all.

We’d love to see your polished selfie shots after using these tips so get snapping and post them to our Facebook page!