The Art of Selfie-Taking: How to Take a Good Selfie

A few simple tips on how to snap a great photo of yourself

BROOK PIFER / Getty Images

You've probably noticed that we're right in the midst of the selfie movement. The selfie movement is a strange cultural phenomenon that involves holding your camera-equipped mobile device out in front of your face and snapping a photo of yourself so that it can be shared on social media.

People take selfies very seriously these days. But how do you take a good selfie the first time without wasting time trying to get one you're finally happy with to post on Facebook or Instagram?

The answer to that doesn't necessarily mean more makeup, bigger hair, or an entirely new face. Anyone can look great in a selfie, regardless of how they look in real life.

It might take some practice, but if you spend enough time looking at yourself on your camera screen and snapping photo after photo, you should learn how to take good selfies in no time. After all, selfie-taking isn't rocket science.

Here are a few good tips to keep in mind when trying to capture that perfect selfie.

Tip #1: Get a Smartphone With a Good Quality Camera

When it comes to smartphones, not all cameras are made equal.

Some older models don't even have front-facing cameras. And even if they do, you can do all the editing that you want on your selfie after you've taken it, but it's probably not going to hide the fact that your camera isn't so great.

Do your research on camera features and quality next time you pick out your next smartphone. The camera on the latest model of the iPhone is excellent, and while some Androids have cameras that are just as good and even better, others definitely do not.

Take a look at the top 10 smartphones with the best cameras if you're thinking about getting a new phone.

Tip #2: Make Sure You Have the Appropriate Lighting

Lighting can make all the difference in a photo.

How many selfies have you seen where there's such low light that everything looks dark and orange and grainy? A lot? Probably. Don't be one of them!

Plan to take your selfie in a well-lit room or under natural light. You might need to adjust your phone's camera settings to get it looking just right.

Tip #3: Don't Force Your Facial Expression

This can be tricky, but overdoing it with your smile or your eyes or even the way you hold your hand out from your phone can send the message that you might be trying too hard. It might take some practice to look natural while trying so hard, but it's probably worth it.

Try focusing on a happy memory or a funny joke or something else that brings a natural smile to your face. This can help take your focus off of the camera and increase your chances of capturing a genuine smile.

Tip #4: Experiment With Different Angles

Finding an angle that's just right can really transform your selfie.

Not all faces look their best from one side or one angle, so try experimenting with what you like best. Most people also look better when the camera is held slightly higher than their head, so go ahead and give this a try too.

Tip #5: Download an App That Allows You to Edit Your Selfie

There are tons of great apps out there that handle all the fine tuning for you—from contrast and brightness to smoothing skin and sharpening blurriness. Check out some of the top photo apps for iPhone and for Android.

You'll want to practice using these editing apps first—especially if they have a lot of advanced effects. Don't expect to make your selfie look perfect the first time!

Play around, experiment, and get other people's opinion of your editing effects if you can.

Tip #6: Go Easy on the Editing and Filter Effects

It can be really tempting to pick one of those funky app filters that turn your selfie into an almost unrecognizable photo of yourself. Sometimes they can work, but other times, they really don't—and people online are getting good at picking out what looks real and what looks fake these days.

Same goes for editing. Those editing apps are there to help, but too much is never a good thing. You don't want people to be able to tell that you've gone crazy with editing on your selfie.

Tip #7: Have Fun and Don't Take Your Selfies Too Seriously

Selfie-taking is an art form of the mobile era. Remember that it's just a selfie, so don't stress too much over it!

You may not be able to please everyone, no matter how good your selfie turns out to be. A selfie that's considered good by one person might not be considered so great by someone else's standards.

If you're looking to up your selfie game, try paying attention to how other people take their own selfies. You may be able to get some ideas and try some different techniques as you draw inspiration from others.

Have a good time with your selfie adventures and remember that the most natural looking photos are usually considered to be among the best.