It’s fun to make fun of selfies, and even more fun to make fun of the people taking them (). But, let’s face it, front-facing photos are here to stay, so you might as well make them look as good as possible.
That can be a challenge. For one thing, your arm is only so long (hence the popularity of the sticks). Then there’s the awkwardness of trying to press or tap buttons while holding your arm steady and not blocking the lens. Oh, and lighting? Unless you’re standing outside during daytime, selfies often turn out dark or muddy.
Granted, newer phones are, thanks to features like wider-angle lenses and front-facing LEDs or even screens that pull flash duty. But there are several ways to improve the quality of your front-facing photos regardless of which phone you have. I’ll share my five favorites; you hit the comments and add your recommendations for selfie salvation.
1. Angle up
Your arm, that is. When you hold your camera at eye-level or below, you increase the risk of chins. And chins are selfie enemy no. 1. So when you stretch out your arm, make sure it’s above your head, angled down toward your face(s). That way you’ll have to tilt your head(s) up slightly, which easily and effectively solves this “chin-justice.”
2. Use the self-timer
It’s hard enough to hold your arm steady when it’s outstretched. When you add the pressing of a button or tapping of the screen to fire the shutter, a little camera-shake is all but inevitable. Result: blurred selfies.
Thankfully, most camera apps include a self-timer option, and while that may kill a little of the spontaneity, it’ll help reduce the shake. That’s because you can focus on holding the phone steady without the acrobatics of pressing the shutter-release. Added bonus: The extra few seconds gives everyone time to remember to look at the actual camera lens instead of staring at the screen or (you know who you are) Home button.
3. Add a flash
If you don’t have an iPhone 6S or one of the handful of phones that has front-facing LEDs, you need a way to illuminate your face. Especially for those indoor/nighttime/clubbing/haunted-house shots. More light equals better pictures, period. (I know there are exceptions, but you catch my drift.)
Android users can try an app-based solution like Selfie Light, which simply blasts light from the screen. And all users can spring for a rechargeable, self-powered LED fill light that plugs into your phone’s headphone jack.
4. Mini tripod
Mini tripod, like GekkoPod, help you capture the ideal shot in all different circumstances. A tripod only takes seconds to erect and adjust, yet it can support your smartphone in the perfect position for however long you wish, helping you to take great images. Use of a tripod eliminates blur in images caused by smartphone shake that can occur when taking photos while hand-holding a smartphone.
5. Hang your phone on a wall or window instead
Forget the selfie stick; How about a self-sticking phone instead? That’s the idea behind Hangover SmartSkin. You get a specially designed sticky-pad that adheres to the back of your phone or flat case. Then you can just magically adhere it to just about any flat, nonporous surface (such as a window or whiteboard). Presto! Now you can use the aforementioned self-timer (or an app like CamMe) for hands-free, zero-shake selfies.