As a concept, selfies don’t suck, but yours very well might.
Not everyone can be a selfie artist on the level of Kim Kardashian, who just recently released an entire book of her famous (infamous?) selfies – 300 of them to be exact – entitled Selfish.
Sure, there is definitely such a thing as too many selfies (ahem…Kim…), but there’s nothing wrong with taking the occasional picture of yourself when you’re feeling confident about how you look or when you find yourself with great friends in a spectacular location.
In moderation, the selfie is a good thing. But when you do drop the occasional selfie bomb, you want to make sure it lands. The last thing you want to do is double down by posting a picture you took of yourself that looks like shit.
Whose fault is that?
So, take a minute to review a few things you may be doing that are causing your selfies to suck.
1. You’re too close!
The selfie is, by definition, a personal thing. When you take and post a self-taken portrait, you’re sharing a bit of yourself with the world. But does it have to be so personal that we can see every pore and stray eyebrow hair on your face? No matter how young or beautiful you are, nobody wants that.
Do yourself (and all of your friends) a favor and back that camera up a little bit. Depending on how long your limbs are, though, even a full extended arm’s length might not be sufficient. Say what you will, but a selfie stick can surely come in handy if you want to get a good selfie that’s taken from a reasonable distance away from your face. You don’t even have to use it in public if you’re paranoid about what people will say; just keep it at home for when your look is on point and you need a new profile pic.
2. You’re too retouched!
If I see one more selfie that looks like a cross between a newborn baby angel and a cartoon character, I swear to god.
The best selfies show the real you at your very best, so use photographers’ tricks of the trade, like lighting, angles and distance to get the best shot instead of turning your latest touch-ups into a joke you’re not in on.
3. You’re too alone!
Yes, it’s called a “selfie,” so that means it’s often about yourself. But when all you take and post are solo selfies, it starts to look a bit sad. And when you’re taking a bunch of selfies on your own, it all starts to feel a little forced and artificial, so it can be hard to get a pic of yourself in which you actually look somewhat natural.
But when you’ve got a friend in the frame (even if that friend is your dog), it’s a whole lot easier to flash a natural smile. I don’t quite know why, but when you’re genuinely happy, you just look better than when you fake it.
We all loved Ellen’s epic selfie at the Oscars, but the fact is that it’s crowded and we don’t even really see everyone in the shot. We can barely see the beautiful Lupita Nyong’o; Jared Leto is just an eye and a nose; Channing Tatum is just peeking out of the corner… and apparently poor, height-challenged Eliza Minnelli didn’t even get an eyebrow in.
So while that was a rad picture, to be sure, it would have been a lot cooler if we could have actually seen everyone who was a part of that moment. If you don’t want to miss key members of the party, you should either include fewer people or use a selfie stick to get the reach you need.
5. You’re too played out!
Your friends know what you look like already, so when it comes to taking selfies you plan to post, you may want to spice it up. Even the Kardashians look a bit ridiculous posting bathroom selfie after bathroom selfie in various skintight outfits.
The carbon copy selfie is just plain boring – make a goofy face, use an unusual angle or take it in an unexpected place. Just, by all means, avoid the duck face, the gym selfie and the bathroom mirror, which are all painfully played out at this point.
When it comes right down to it, friends don’t let friends selfie badly.
Of course, there will always be haters of the form, but the proof is in the pudding – truly good selfies always get a massively positive response and end up making you feel like a bajilion bucks.