How to take great solo selfies

SELFIES. There, I said it. I hate that word, but I hated “spam” and “blog” too and also get off my lawn. So, let’s embrace the neologism and take SELFIES!

There are a few reasons for this post. One is that I have many past, current, and hopefully future clients who could legitimately use these tips. Two is that Mashable recently launched #MashAdvice, and they perhaps jokingly listed the topic ‘What are some tips on taking selfies for my online dating profile?’ Well, Mashable, ask and ye shall receive! I actually recorded a cute (IMO) video tutorial to go with my post, but iMovie hates me and I can’t get the audio to sync up with the video. You can watch the totally mismatched file here if you like, but I can’t bring myself to actually embed it until I figure out a solution. (Please, PLEASE get in touch if you’re a wizard with this stuff, and I’ll send you a Dropbox link so you can have your way with it.)

In truth, the selfie is not the best online dating picture choice. It sort of subconsciously communicates alone-ness, which can sometimes read as desperation, you know? But if your selfies are just plain old good, flattering shots of you, then you’ll look less lame and desperate, and more just like a person who casually snapped a pic, no big deal, I’m too awesomely busy to really think about this but here you go here’s your image I guess whatever *upload*. Ya know? That kinda blasé look is better than the “I LITERALLY COULD NOT CONVINCE ANYONE ELSE TO HELP ME WITH THIS PICTURE THING BECAUSE I DO NOT INTERACT WITH HUMANS” vibe. Remember, your online dating presence only presents a tiny, momentary snapshot (so to speak) without a lot of context or humanity, so people are going to form these quick subconscious opinions of you based on every little aspect you put out there. You best make sure they all represent you well.

Note that I’m not including any of the MANY other more general photo optimization tips that went out in my August newsletter, which you can still get access to if you sign up now. This is all new advice that’s specific to shooting solo selfies that are super flattering. Here we go!

Shoot from a *little* above (but don’t go crazy).

As Shelby Fero helpfully shows us, shooting from above is more flattering than below, mostly because necks are evil and also boobs are nice. But you know what? Most people know this, and many have taken it to a crazy extreme of shooting from WAY ABOVE which is super obvious and makes you look kinda like the archetypal selfie, a narcissistic teenage girl. Shoot from ever so slightly above your head when you’re taking pics solo. If you’re one of those lucky motherpluckers who has no neck fat, consider shooting from side or even slightly bottom angles just to show off that you can. (Of course, check your shot and make sure you still look adequately hot, you skinny bastards you.) But don’t shoot as if the camera were placed atop a building or something. My defunct video demonstrates the ideal range, which is like 30-45° above your face level.

Wear the right clothes!

Don’t get too sexy-glammed up with your selfies. Yes, look cute and nice, but don’t be super cleavage-tastic or shirtless or anything. It’s fine to have a shot in your online dating photo roster that shows you all dolled up, but when the sexpot shot is clearly one you took on your own, it subconsciously sends kind of a weird message. Part desperate for attention, part lonely, and generally just off. So dress flattering and cute, but not DTF.

Consider your background

A lot of what gives selfies a bad rap is the fact that they get shot in totally awkward contexts, like in front of a bathroom mirror or a really messy gross room. So think before you selfie-snap! See if you can find either a clean, calm backdrop to shoot in front of (in which case you can wear something with a nifty pattern if you like), or an interesting  backdrop like a blooming garden (in which case you’d want to wear a solid color that plays well with your surroundings, so you stand out from all the business of the plants). Don’t shoot yourself without considering the background, though; that’s when selfies look awkward and sad instead of effortlessly cute.

Control thy face

Repeat after me: I will not duckface, for it is not sexy, and it makes no goddamn sense. You are not to make weirdly attempted smutty lip faces at the camera. Your selfies should either be smiling as naturally as you can muster, OR goofing off. Yes, goofing off! That’s the very best option, in my opinion. The selfie is inherently awkward, since photographs until very recently were always a social activity. So I think this is a great time to embrace the awkwardness. Goof off, look askance, roll your eyes, crack up. Mug. I think hamming it up for your selfie is a funny way to embrace/diffuse the awkwardness, and it makes your shot look more playful and fun in comparsison to all the bad smoldering, forced smiles, and duckfacing out there.

Make sure your camera can hack it

If you’re rocking a smartphone that was bought in the last few years, or any device that claims to have an HD camera, you’re probably fine. But if you’ve got a crappy old webcam or phone that produces grainy or pixelated shots, you should nix the selfies and just get your friends to take flattering pics of you while you’re out and about. (Again, see my newsletter plus this post for tips.) A bad selfie does not deserve a place in your tightly edited collection of online dating photos. Impressions have to be made quickly, after all!

Every haircut deserves a selfie

Any time you get your hair cut or otherwise done, snap a selfie. Most of us never look quite as awesome as when we step out of a salon, so you might as well memorialize it! If you normally have wild and crazy guys hair like I do, you can always mix in this well-coiffed shot with others that show your more typical state. But you can visually brag a little to prove you clean up well! That’s it, folks! I hope you found all this helpful. Happy dating! [icon-heart]

Oh, and in case you need some selfie levity, here are cats taking selfies. You’re welcome.

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