Tips for better selfies.
So you want to up your selfie game? If you wonder how to take full body selfies that look amazing, I’m here to help with these tips for better selfies!
Every day, more people use their cell phones to snap selfies for social media shares. With all the competition, how can you make your selfies stand out?
The key to a good full body selfie is the same as any quality photo.
You can have the best camera, but if you don’t have an artistic eye it doesn’t matter. It isn’t the quality of the camera, but the talent of the photographer and how they use the equipment*.
* Shameless plug for hiring a professional intimate portrait boudoir photographer!
I’m breaking this article into a couple of sections to help organize your selfie shoot.
I’ll share techniques to avoid ripping your arm out of its socket. It isn’t easy trying to hold the camera away from your body.
You’ll learn how to take full body selfies with and without mirrors.
We’ll talk about selfie lighting
And finally, we’ll discuss posing strategies to help you look your best.
First, let’s talk about
Why your selfies never seem to live up to the image you see in the mirror.
The human psyche plays games with our body image.
Some people can look in a mirror and think, “Damn, I’m fine!”
Others see small details they consider flaws. These “imperfections” draw the eyes every time. They can become major roadblocks to successful selfie images.
When self portraits don’t meet expectations, self perception may be part of the problem.
That is one reason a professional photographer’s images create such an impact. The photographer can capture the beauty of a subject using an unbiased perspective. It allows the subject to see themselves through the eyes of someone else.
Just know when you are taking selfies, there are tips and tricks to enhance things you like about yourself. The opposite is also true. There are tips models and photographers use to disguise or downplay things you don’t.
How to take a full body selfie without breaking your arm …
One of the easiest ways to take a full body selfie is to switch your phone to its front facing camera. Hold the phone upside down with your thumb at the top hovering over the shutter button.
Now you can hold your phone up at an angle so you can see the screen, compose the shot and capture the image.
The benefit of this downward angle is you can avoid issues with double chins.
The angle will also make your body look thinner. Things closes to the lens look large. The further things are from the lens, the smaller they become.
Downside to this angle is that your camera has a limited frame size. It can be difficult to get your entire body in the shot. Some people take full body selfies from the neck down. I’m sorry, but that is not a real full body selfie is it?
If you hold the camera higher, you can get in your head, but your feet may be out of the frame. This higher angle isn’t always flattering. Remember that things closer to the lens look larger? You don’t want your head looking like a balloon from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
Also, at that angle, people will be looking down your armpit. While your armpit may be attractive, it doesn’t always make the best image composition.
How to take full body selfies using mirrors …
Often you see self portraits taken in the mirror. If you use this technique, stand back from the mirror to get the best composition.
Make sure you don’t hold the camera in front of your face. (Unless you want a headless body. If you do, then go for it, after all, you are the artist/photographer!)
Be sure to tap the screen on your face in the mirror. This will help the camera focus on your eyes. Eyes are one of the most important parts of any self portrait. Keep them in focus!
Don’t want to use a mirror?
There are plenty of other ways to take a full body selfie.
Take the photo remotely by using the the time function on your camera/phone. Don’t have a timer function? You can get a simple shutter remote on Amazon.
Lean your phone against something and use the timer function to take your shot.
Use the front facing camera so you can see the screen to compose your picture. Once you know where to stand and how you want to pose, start the timer and assume your position.
You can also use selfie sticks and tripods to hold your camera away from yourself to take a full body selfie. I recommended these last because most people take selfies at random. It can be a pain to carry these extra items along unless you are using a photography backpack.
How to light your full body selfie …
Photography is all about light. Great light creates a great image. Bad lighting can ruin even the best composition, pose and setting.
If you are taking the selfie indoors, try to use natural light from a window.
One mistake many people make is standing with their back to the window. That creates shadows on the subject, which is great for a silhouette, but not for a selfie.
Instead, face the window, with your camera between you and the source of light. This helps add an even cascade of light across you and can create beautiful pictures.
If the sun is streaming directly in the window it can create a harsh look on you. Try to take window lit photos when the sun is allowing light in the room, but is high enough in the sky so it doesn’t stream in.
Another tip for window lighting is to use white sheer curtains. These can be purchased for about $10 on Amazon and act to defuse the light, making it softer. It is the smart person’s soft lamp!
If natural light isn’t available, I highly recommend this LED ring light. It offers adjustable, even light and also acts as a tripod stand for your phone or camera.
Taking outdoor selfies?
Early morning and early evening lighting are known as the golden hour. The sun is low enough that it casts a warm glow over everything it touches.
If you hate getting up early (like I do,) or can’t wait for golden hour, here are some other tips for outdoor daylight selfies.
Noon, when the sun is directly overhead, creates some of the harshest light of the day. If you are looking for a grunge or high contrast photo look, it may be perfect for you.
Want a softer look that compliments your skin tone and helps hide flaw? Use shadows.
Like our window example, stand in a shadow facing the brightest area around you. This allows the sunlight to bounce in and create an even lighting on you. Your camera goes between you and the sunny area.
Another cool selfie look is to use variated shadows.
The shade from a tree, the edge of a building or fence, or even a fire escape may let light stream down to create interesting visuals. Figure out where to stand so your body is a canvas to the lighting effect.
The best backgrounds for full body selfies.
Another trick that professional photographers use to create amazing images is texture.
If the background of your selfie is interesting, it adds an extra layer to help grab a viewer’s attention. In my boudoir photography, I often use faux fur to add a visual contrast.
When I shot a model for Dreamy magazine, we used a graffiti covered wall for added interest. The wall stops the viewer, then using focused light, the viewer’s eye is drawn to her.
You could use an off center tree, a building, or even the lines of a bridge, street or fence to lead the eye to your subject.
Play with variations in your background. Lean against the wall, tree or fence. Stand away from them to create background depth to your selfie.
Visual Techniques For Better Selfies
Another visual technique to create interest in your selfie is using the “Rule Of Thirds.”
This rule has us dividing the image frame into three sections side to side and three sections top to bottom. Placing things on these grid lines creates a visual appeal. Check the image below to see what I mean.
You’ll notice in the image, the subject’s eye is on an intersection. This creates an appealing visual composition.
Rules are made to be broken though. So if you feel your composition is better centered, then go for it! Again, you are the artist of your image and no one else gets a say in what you were going for!
More Tips For Better Selfies: Selfie Posing Techniques
If you are taking full body selfies, here are some tips for looking your best.
Remember that things closer to the camera appear larger.
To look slimmer in a full body selfie, put one foot back slightly and put your weight on that leg.
Want your bottom to look bigger? Angle and swing your hips so your bottom is closer to the lens.
How about showing off your cleavage? You guessed it, lean your top in toward the lens.
Angle your body to show off your curves.
Nothing is more bland than a photo taken straight on. It is two dimensional and can be dull.
Angle your body. Position yourself at a 45, 90 or 135 degree angle to your camera lens. This adds curve and depth. It also allows the lighting we discussed above, to create light shadows that add interest.
Posing your arms for a selfie …
Another my most important tips for better selfies is to hold your arms slightly away from your body.
Our natural resting position puts our arms against us. This causes the underside of your arm to flatten, which makes your arm look bigger. (And not in a good way.)
By holding your arm out a bit, they look more natural and toned in a selfie.
Point your toes.
Even if your feet aren’t in the photo, pointing or standing on your toes will tone your leg muscles. There is a reason women wear heels! Use this technique to your advantage. (Plus it can make you look taller.)
If it bends, bend it!
Your head, your neck, your arms, your waist, your hands and your legs all bend. Relaxing your hand and slightly curling your fingers makes a huge difference in a photo. Try it and see!
The same with bending the knee on your front leg. It instantly creates extra curves and visual interest for your selfie!
Avoiding the double chin in your selfies…
Upward angles empower the subject, but they can also create a double chin on even the thinnest person.
Here is how to avoid the dreaded double chin on your selfies.
Lower your shoulders.Extend your neck forward.Lower your chin.
It looks weird from the side, but for a two dimensional photo, it does wonders if you are concerned about the double chin dilemma!
Shaping your body for a selfie.
Geometric shapes like the S curve, the triangle and the rectangle or square can add appeal to your selfies too!
Swinging your hips to one side and creating an S curve with your torso can really show off your figure.
Bend your elbows to angle your arms creating a triangle or two for visuals.
Bring your arms up and bend them over your head in a square, or let your hands play with your hair for a rectangle shape.
Using props in selfies …
Why not use something to add extra interest? A flower, bottle or glass, a pen and pad, the list is endless. And don’t forget your pets! People love selfies and they love pets. Combine the two for even more likes on your social media.
Remember that you can angle your camera too.
Angle it up, down or to the side. Use a low angle shooting up, or a high angle shooting down.
Once upon a time, every photo you took required film and processing. It wasn’t cheap. Now, you can snap as many digital images as you want and delete what you don’t like.
The best way to take a better selfie is to take a lot of them.
Experiment. You’ll discover what you like and what your don’t. That will allow you to fine tune your technique to create the best selfies moving forward.
Now that you know how to take a full body selfie and have tips for better selfies all around, it is time to start practicing.
Remember: Selfies are fun for sharing, but the skills of a professional photographer can bring out your best. Having an outside eye help you pose, while understanding lighting and composition is worth the investment.
My happiest moment is showing a client their unedited image on the back of my camera and seeing their confidence soar.
If you’d like to experience the empowerment, confidence, pampering and amazing imagery of a boudoir photoshoot, let’s talk!