Here's a real simple guide...
Ahoy! How were your respective Turkey Daze, folks? I used to say "ahoy" as a general greeting when I was in high school for some reason. Everyone thought it was weird and I kept compulsively doing it out of some sort of neurotic commitment to a weird thing I tried. And then I discovered that "hey" works just fine and that was that.
Anyway. I'm freakin' full — of food, of familial gatherings, of stuff (I simultaneously recommend and do not recommend a vegan-to-non-vegan bang bang). I've added to so many carts that I instantly delete order confirmation emails because I don't want to be immediately reminded of the money I just spent on things I don't really need (and will probably return).
But onto free things — like selfies. I don't bother connecting my photos app to iCloud because it immediately clogs up all the storage, and if I'm honest, most of the images would be of un-posted selfies, which is embarrassing, but hey — we can all relate, right?
Hey, I work for a site called xoVAIN, I'm allowed!
One could argue that selfie-making is my job (and, like, writing but that's beside the point). Selfies have given birth to an industry of silly accessories (Lumee cases, selfie-sticks, etc), and whether you roll your eyes at them or not, it's just a thing we do now.
I don't have strong feelings about them myself, but I find all the selfie-policing a bit weird because, what — celebrating one's own appearance is something frivolous and worthy of unsolicited criticism? Are those who selfie somehow less intelligent or more vapid than, say, people who don't? I mean, those seem to be the prevailing argument against selfies that I've gathered. I'd counter-argue that criticizing women is an industry in and of itself, so the fact that women are more in control of their own image as well as broadcasting that image is something that simply cannot be tolerated by those indoctrinated in some bullshit script that demands that women be demure and modest but also conventionally pretty and whatever. And that's why selfies are a form of rebellion! And I love a pocket-sized rebellion.
Anyway, Marci caught me taking a selfie on the futuristic cafeteria deck (yeah, don't ask) of xoHQ in which I look like I'm saluting but actually I was pointing to a thing.
But there's an art to selfies, some would say. I call it the art of trial and error, but do it enough and you pick up some tricks. I mean, Kim Kardashian "wrote" a whole book about it. But I figured it'd be best to consult our ridiculously good-looking contributor roster, by asking...
What's your selfie style?
Kelly: "My technique is: phone at eye level or higher, head angled slightly down and favoring the right side of my face (yep I'm Ariana grande), slight smirk, and squeezing Doug into it if at all possible."
Tynan: "Only exposing the left side of my face, apparently. My photos speak for themselves."
Kara: "Usually near a window, VERY RARELY smiling, always filtered, sometimes I flip the image. I like to put my hand in it somehow too."
Wendy: "I always do this thing where I lift my chin up a little bit. I don't mean to."
Marci: "I have been mocked far and wide for my go-to mini smirk, but dammit, it's what works for me! I tend to hold the camera a bit above my head to prevent chin-skin pile-up, and take it slightly favoring my right side (which happens to be the fuller side of my face — probably muscular build-up from smirking so much) while facing natural light. That said, I recently took a selfie from slightly below, not smirking, backlit (with my head blocking the sun), not looking at the lens, and it's, like, my favorite selfie ever. MY VERY FOUNDATIONS HAVE BEEN SHOOKEN."
Kim: "This three quarter-turn that everyone always teases me about. I'm super-asymmetrical, so I turn the left side of my face forward because I prefer it. I also do this chicken-neck thing where I cheat my neck and jaw up and out. It feels super-weird in person, but it looks great in photos. I also hold my phone above my head and angle the camera down. ALSO, natural lighting helps if possible. I'm kinda the selfie master because I take 50+ every day. I have an addiction."
Victoria: "Phone held at about hairline level, head tilt between five and 20 degrees, closed mouth smile/smirk, think about something prurient. Works every time!"
Samantha: "I guess I try not to do dead on because that isn't particularly flattering for me. But in general I feel like I try not to do the same thing in every photo. I also hate taking pictures of myself so idk if I have a technique per say. I use a remote shutter so I can just take a bunch at once and hope for the best. Also I should probably add that I can't handle other people taking photos of me. I get so stressed out I end up looking like a total dingus with a clenched jaw and bad posture. Like even with friends who are professional photographers, I still look awkward af. The only photos of me that I don't totally hate have been taken by me of me."
Allison: "I hate to selfie on my phone because the quality isn't great and I want to look good in high def. But when I do I find the best light/background situation possible, hold the phone up a bit and slightly turn my face. So like for this photo I moved the coffee table out of the way so I could get right by the wall where the lighting was perfect. The better the lighting, the better the photo — I didn't need to edit this one at all."
Rachel: "I like lying down, both in my selfies and in general. Also a big fan of the closed-mouth almost-smile face. Usually though, because I'm The Worst, I use my phone's self timer and prop it up somewhere (preferably with a good natural light source) and practice my ~poses~"
Maura: "I always tilt my head to the left and I do something weird with my hand."
Maricar: "My signature selfie technique is taking a photo of my face almost straight on (if not, with the left side of my face facing the camera). I usually tilt my head and camera down so my face looks longer and slimmer."
Hannah L: "I like to squeeze one of my shoulders up like a cutie patootie."
Dan: "Mine is most likely backlit with a slightly RBF if it's a selfie. I love a backlit selfie."
As for me, lighting is SO KEY. Don't selfie in poor lighting because it'll probably just make you go, That's what I look like? Why have none of your told me this is what I look like??
It's probably a 45:1 ratio of photos taken vs. good one posted. I don't know why my hand is sneaking in there all ghoulishly but that's probably why those are duds. I tend to look right below the lens — I think it gives a slightly dreamy or perhaps anesthetized gaze. Most people would disagree but I prefer a slightly upwards angle because the Myspace-y angle from above gives me some serious eye hollows. Also jawlines are underrated.
I don't know. Just take like 50 selfies and pick one. There's gotta be one acceptable pick in the bunch. </vanity>
Anyway, consider this an opportunity talk selfie-shop — and yeah, sure #GPOY that comments section away!
- What's your selfie style?
- How many are too many selfies? To post, I mean.
- Unrelated: Did you do a Black Friday thing?