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Creaticity: The ultimate guide to better selfies

Lesa Snider | Nov. 13, 2014
Yes, the selfie can be art. But not if it's a duckface mirror shot.

Try shooting your shadow or your reflection in something other than a big mirror (say, a puddle of water or a rainy window). The problem with mirror selfies, besides making you look like you're trying too hard, is that the camera is visible in the shot and, if the flash fires, you get a nasty glare.

Strike a (pleasing) pose

The dreaded duckface pose--big eyes and puckered lips--should be avoided; it's the opposite of sexy and makes you look like you're trying too hard. Instead, smile! Alternate between closed and open-mouthed smiles for selfie variety. Or try funny expressions, or even a signature hand gesture, like hang ten, heavy metal, or peace.

For an extra slimming effect, shoot slightly downward, turn to the side, place your hands on your hips, and shift your weight to your back leg. Tilt your chin slightly downward--nobody wants to see up your nose--and keep your tongue in your mouth where it belongs (please).

Stabilize your camera
To avoid blurry selfies, stabilize your camera by setting it atop a surface before firing or by holding it with two hands. If there's more than one person in the shot, employ the person on either end to hold one side of the camera or iOS device. Remember also that most picture-taking devices have a self-timer, which allows you to set the device on a surface and pose yourself in front of or above it. (You'll find more stabilization tips in my last column.)

Shoot at different angles and positions
For extra creativity, try shooting a selfie panorama or hanging off a surface for an upside-down effect. If there's more than one person in your shot, try getting behind them or lying on the ground next to them, sitting in their lap, soliciting a kiss, or peering into each other's eyes. If you're going for an "into the lens" look, be sure to tell everyone where the lens actually is on your device.

Add people, props, and pets
Selfies are generally more interesting, and less obnoxious, when there's more than just you in them. When possible, include other people, pets, or well-paced props. For example, if you've got a colorful hat, umbrella, yoga mat, beverage, or funky sunglasses, put them in the shot.

You can also add a theme to your selfies, say, by always taking them in front of a same-colored background in different locations (say, white or red).

Edit your images
Of course, once you've captured the perfect selfie, you can improve it further by using image editing software. For example, your iOS device's Photos app, the free photo-sharing app Instagram, and iPhoto on your Mac, all include correction tools and fun filters that can turn the ordinary into artistic.

Armed with these tips, you'll be practicing safe selfies in no time flat. May the creative force be with you all!


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