June 2, 2016

How to Take a Good Selfie


**I want to preface this post by mentioning that I am not a photographer, nor do I claim to be. My apologies in advance if my photography lingo is off. As a make-up artist I spend a lot of time with talented photographers and I try to pick up little tips here and there!**

On a regular basis I get asked, “How do you take such good selfies?” I thought it might be helpful if I shared my tips in the form of a Q&A.

How do you take such clear photos?

Tip #1 Good Lighting. I know a lot of people prefer to use ring lights or bathroom lights to give their face a warm glow. Personally, I prefer the look of natural light because it shows the make-up most accurately. When using natural light, whether you’re standing by a window or you’re outside, make sure the light is facing your face; as opposed to behind your face. The light should be bright enough to see everything in detail, but not so direct that the sunlight washes you out. Luckily in Seattle the overcast gives a sharp bright glow in photos, meaning the lighting is almost always good. When it’s clear blue skies and sunny, I will usually wait until the Photographers Golden Hour Rule to take a photo, 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after sunset.

Tip #2 Neutral, clean background. White, black, or grey walls are great. I think any non-distracting solid background color works, but it might affect the overall focal point of the photo if the background is say…neon green or bright red. Also, be aware of what’s in the background that your camera might pick up. Clutter, your spouse going to the bathroom, plants that make it look like a jungle is growing out of your head are not conducive to good photos.

Tip #3 When using your phone, use the regular front facing camera. It captures details and takes much higher quality photos than the “selfie” camera. I have an iPhone 6S and am pretty impressed with the camera, especially compared to my iPhone 5 days!

What Apps do you use to edit your photos?

The App I most use to edit my photos is VSCO. I prefer it to Instagram filters. First let me say, a filter is only as good as the original photo you take. So, try to start with a good original photo following my 3 tips above. Then, I select the filter that I want to use and dial the level down a bit. For example, if the filter gives you a scale of 1-10 to choose from, I’ll usually use level 5-8 range. It’s just my personal preference, but I think photos look best when they don’t look so overly filtered.

Another really popular photo editing app is FaceTune. Do I like it…yes and no, and I’ll tell you why. For me, FaceTune is great for minor edits such as- if there is piece of lint on your shirt that you might want to edit out. Easy, and done! It’s great for editing out little distractions that would otherwise be a great photo. What I don’t like about FaceTune is when people use it to blur the shit out of their face removing all signs of human life, extremely whitening the whites of their eyeballs, and essentially altering everything about how they look to the point that they look like aliens. To me it’s very obvious and unflattering. But you know, if that’s your thing, and you love it, Go You, that’s great. That kind of editing is just not in my taste. It’s only a photo, to each their own.

What is the point of a selfie?

Honestly the answer is different for everyone. People can make fun of them all they want, call them cheesy, what have you. My parents make fun of me all the time for always taking photos. But you know what, it’s something that I love doing. And, no one ever looked at a photo and said, “Oh gosh- I WISH I didn’t have this memory captured.”

Another reason I take and post a fair amount of selfies is because make-up is my art and my outlet. It’s my topic of choice to geek out over. I do try to be conscious and spread out selfie posts so that your feed isn’t bombarded with my face, cause no one needs that! But at the same time, it’s my way of showing that you don’t have to stick to just one make-up routine; that there’s so many different ways of using make-up to compliment your features.

Any last tips?

There are enough reasons in life to be stressed; a selfie shouldn’t be one of them. They should be fun! It takes practice. I might only post 1 photo, but I can honestly tell you (as vain as this sounds) it probably took me 20-30 tries to get the ONE good one. Lastly, BALANCE. Capture the moment then try to put your phone or camera away. Enjoy where you are and who you’re with. Soak in all the goodness.

I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any questions! If you have a particularly good selfie that you’d like to share, please tag me @Gaylinyet on Instagram:)

FILED IN: Beauty Tips

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