How to Take the Most Flattering Selfie

If you thought selfies were on their way out, think again. Myspace may have launched the initial selfie phase, but it looks like Instagram and Snapchat will not let the trend fade out. From celebrities like Yara Shahidi to Emmy Rossum selfies are still the go to for posting a photo on social media. And it may be hard to believe, but with the changing times and technology, acing the selfie game is not as simple as it once was. It now requires more than a splotchy mirror and wonky lighting to get a worthy pic.

And if you are anything like me, it has taken a lot of trial and error to figure out how to get the most flattering selfie (without taking 200 nearly identical photos). So what is it that makes the perfect selfie? Is it makeup? Is it the lighting or the angle? Is it the filter? Well, it is a little of everything. It may seem high maintenance to go through so much for a photo, but whether you want to show off your new lipstick or snap the ideal profile photo for a dating site, selfie taking is a subtle art.

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Photo via @SarahAndersonBeauty

When it comes to makeup there are no rules. As usual with beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder. And that is not your followers, it is you. So go full on glam and show off your blending skills or post a #IWokeUpLikeThis — either way, it is your picture, so it is your choice. With or without makeup, when it comes to the details of a flattering selfie you are perfect just as you are. It is the photography that will help you show that beauty to the world.

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Photo via LoveJackro  

This may be obvious, but angling the camera downwards is the most flattering for most people. This lifts the face and reduces the look of weird shadows. If you don’t like how that looks or are just lacking the arm muscles to hold your camera that high, straight on selfies are just as flattering. A straight on photo has a crispness and honesty to it. It is taken at eye level, and shows how you see yourself in a mirror. From at there, you can tilt your head to find your best angles, which are different for everyone.

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Photo via

What about lighting? You may think you have to be a pro to know good lighting, but that is not true. Taking a selfie or any photo during the golden hour (shortly after sunrise or before sunset) offers a soft and almost diffused light to all pictures. It is flattering to everyone and is the ideal time to snap a few selfies. If it happens to be midday when you catch yourself looking amazing, that is fine too. As long as you use natural sunlight, it will almost always beat artificial lighting. Plus, the sun is free. So take advantage. You have at least 12 solid hours to use its benefits for your selfie photography.

If you want a more professional looking photo reduce any shadows by finding the right angle that doesn’t block any light from your face. But if you want something a touch more artsy like the photo above, play with your blinds, shadows, and angles to see what looks stand out to you.

Now, if you tend to take selfies at indoor events or late at night, a ring light or Lumee phone case may be a worthwhile investment. This will offer the most flattering artificial light you can use in any and all selfie taking situations.

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Photo via @LyzaNguyen

When it comes to what face to make, there are plenty of options. Naturally, the go to is a smile and always a plus. In fact, selfies that feature a full smile receive the most likes and positive feedback on dating apps. So you can't go wrong showing those pearly whites. Just try to go for your natural happy look rather than a school photoshoot smile. Then, the look gaining a lot of traction at the moment is the smize. This is when you smile with your eyes, but not your mouth. It offers a sense of mystery and is a classic for models. Thankfully, we have said goodbye to the duck face days, but a kiss face is still totally cute and flirty. But the biggest trend is the fish gap (seen above). This is proven to be a flattering look for nearly everyone and pretty easy to achieve. So try them all and see which is the most you, or mix it up each time you upload.

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Photo via @MiliRath

This was a question when you had your first kiss and it is a question now. What do you do with your hands? Obviously one is holding the camera, but what about the other. Do you leave it out? Make a peace sign? Well, this is really up to you and your preference. Playing with an accessory like a necklace or glasses is nice and adds some interest. Messing with your hair can add volume or subtly keep your hair out of your face. Or leaning your chin on your hand can show a nonchalance. So it depends which vibe you’re going for.

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Photo via @An_Rosette

Should you edit your photo? My first instinct here tells me no, but that is a personal preference. I am all for filters and brightening or saturating colors, but when it comes to Facetune and blurring the skin, it is so easy to get out of hand, and completely unnatural (remember to embrace yourself!). Now if you want to hide a blemish, gently whiten your teeth, or blur a stray hair, it is harmless, and makes you feel a bit more confident. But when it comes to airbrushing all of your skin… it isn’t really a selfie anymore. You want to look your best, but you still want to look like you. Blurring away your pores in a selfie won’t shrink them in real life neither will it make anyone believe you are poreless. So stick with a few natural edits and filters to match your theme.

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Photo via @GayleAlexis

When in doubt, throw on sunglasses. Whether you’re having a rough makeup day or not, sunglasses make every selfie better. They add a touch of flare, hide dark circles, and give your selfie some style. You can also go for a funny face if you’re over the “serious selfie” (if that is even a thing). Stick out your tongue, wink, or what have you. I wouldn’t recommend using this selfie for your work portfolio, but it will surely bring in the Instagram likes.

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Photo via Pinterest

You also cannot beat going au naturale. Keep it simple and shoot. Some soft sunset lighting, natural hair, and a smize, you are golden with the perfect selfie. All the tips and tricks in the world won’t alter who you are, so show that off. We all have horrible double chin angles and blinking ogre looking shots, but the best selfies are the ones that simply look like you. Your beauty is what your followers want to see, and what you want to look back on years from now. So use whatever tips and tricks suit your style, just always remember a selfie is a photo of you and your beauty.



Cover photo via Cosmopolitan