Taking the perfect Instagram selfie is harder than you think, because it’s not just about making yourself look perfect. More than that, the light, the angle, the camera settings and filters play a big role. In this article, we’ve put together a few simple tips and tricks to help you make your next selfie turn out to be a success.
1. Look for good lighting
Light is the quintessence of every professional looking selfie. Natural light is a godsend, especially for beginners. But as the sun doesn’t shine all day long and its rays don’t help much if you are inside buildings, here are a few tips on how to best use different light sources.
Always face the source of light
By always facing your source of light, be it the direct sun, a lamp or professional lighting, you avoid casting shadows on your face. This way, your face will be evenly lit and enhanced on your selfie.
Stay away from reflective backgrounds
Everything behind you should either be interesting enough to be in the focus of the picture or as plain as possible so that you stand alone in the foreground.
Use your flash sparingly
There are moments when there is neither natural light nor good artificial lighting. Whether you are in a club or in a darkened room – the flash function on the smartphone is often used in these situations. It even makes it possible to take photos in the dark with the front camera. The disadvantage: Your face gets a slight blue cast and then only a filter can help.
Use selfie gadgets
With these simple selfie gadgets, which often don’t cost much, you can achieve perfect selfies, even in dark spaces:
A selfie ring is super practical and easy to use. You clip it around the camera on your smartphone and it allows you to take sharp and bright selfies. In addition, most selfie rings allow you to switch between different brightness levels to find the optimal light for your perfect selfie.
Light smartphone case
A similar effect can be achieved with a smartphone case with integrated light. The light can also be dimmed to give you the right brightness. You can even take cool selfies at night with it!
If your arm is not long enough to fit your background or all your friends in your selfie, buy a selfie stick. It serves as an arm extension and a remote trigger. After you have positioned your smartphone at the correct distance and angle, you can conveniently snap your selfie with the trigger on the handle or on the remote control.
A smartphone tripod is great if you want more flexibility to achieve your perfect selfies. They are lightweight, small and provide stability even on uneven ground. It allows you to turn your cell phone in almost any direction and you can trigger your selfie with the remote shutter release.
2. The perfect Instagram selfie angle
Avoid photographing yourself from below. This won’t make you look as good on your selfie. It is best to hold the camera slightly tilted at a 45° angle above you. That way you will look beautiful and highlight your eyes.
3. Pay attention to the ⅔ rule
When composing your picture, the magic rule is: “Two thirds face, one third background”. It does not matter whether you divide the thirds from right to left or from top to bottom.
4. Smile please!
With a nice smile on your lips, almost no selfie can look bad. However, the art of smiling has to be mastered first. Too big of a smile looks unnatural and forced. You should also practice making your eyes “smile”. If small wrinkles form around your eye area, your smile will look sincere. Like a good actor, you should practice in front of a mirror until you get the perfect smile at the push of a button!
5. Find your best side
Experiment with different sides and angles of your face to find out what looks and feels best on you. Focus on your best features. If you especially like something about your face and are proud of it, you should also emphasize it.
If your eyes are your most beautiful feature, you could use some mascara to make them stand out while keeping your complexion and the rest of your face looking natural. On the other hand, if you want to accentuate your lips, apply some nice lipstick.
6. The perfect Instagram selfie background
Watch out for your background in your selfie! If you want to be the center of attention, look for a plain background and avoid showing other strangers or objects on the photo that could distract the viewer from you. Natural backgrounds like meadows or flowers always look beautiful.
At the same time, a cool background can take your selfie to the next level. Backgrounds make your selfie more interesting and can make it stand out from the many selfies that are posted daily on the internet. Let your creativity flow freely and try out different places with different objects, patterns and colors in the background.
One thing is for sure: mirror selfies and especially photos in the bathroom are out and should be avoided.
7. Take many selfies
And when we write many, we mean MANY. Your goal should be to keep only selfies of yourself that you REALLY like and have nothing to complain about. Until you find such a photo, you may have to shoot hundreds of selfies. Experiment with different poses, facial expressions, face angles, camera angles and light sources. Especially in the beginning it is difficult to like yourself in photos. So, leave your photos on your smartphone for a few days before you sort them out.
8. Learn how to edit your selfies
If you want to take your perfect Instagram selfies to the next level, you should use photo editing apps. Even small blemishes can be easily concealed with a little practice. So, here is a list of the best apps and programs for your smartphone and laptop:
|Snapseed||4,6 / 5||Android / iOS|
|VSCO||4,4 / 5||Android / iOS|
|Adobe Lightroom||4,3 / 5||Android / iOS|
|Afterlight||4,2 / 5||Android / iOS|
|Facetune2||4 / 5||Android / iOS|
Note: The apps shown here can be used free of charge. However, some functions must first be activated via in-app purchases.
|Adobe Photoshop||around 140 €|
|Adobe Lightroom||around 140 €|
Note: Both programs are professional software. We have not graded them, as they are best suited for different purposes. If you want to edit and manage many photos in a row, Lightroom is the best choice for you. If you want to optimize a single photo down to the last pixel, Photoshop is your choice “to-go”.
9. Be careful not to exaggerate
As tempting as it may be to transform yourself into a model through photo editing, your pictures will look unnatural if you are not careful. Just retouch small areas of the photo and don’t try to remove every wrinkle, no matter how small. Especially the small wrinkles around the eyes make you look beautiful. If you remove them, you risk looking as artificial as a doll.
10. Learn how to pose
Behind every perfect Instagram selfie, a lot of work was put in. You can’t just point the camera at yourself and hope that your selfie will turn out perfect. Get to know your good side and try out different postures and facial expressions. Once you know what looks good on you, you can use your own selfie pose over and over again. But remember to vary it slightly each time so you don’t bore your Instagram fans.
11. Avoid clichés
There are facial expressions and poses that are as old as the selfie itself. As “trendy” as the duck face, peace signs and co. were a few years ago, they are just as embarrassing nowadays. Of course, it’s not that bad if you get carried away now and then and make a clichéd facial expression – but most of the time you should be more creative and develop your own style. Stay true to yourself and don’t try to be someone you are not.
12. Use Instagram captions for your selfies
Once you have taken the perfect selfie, you should add a caption to it. Instagram captions highlight your image and give it a deeper meaning. Here are a few examples of cool, funny or inspiring sayings you can use for your Instagram selfies:
“Be happy! It makes people crazy.”
“Life is too short for bad mood”
“Today, even my coffee needs coffee”
“Smile often, laugh loud”
“If I were funny, this would be a funny caption.”
“Happiness is part of the journey, not the destination”
“Be yourself, everyone else already exists”
This list goes on infinitely. Captions can consist of lyrics, quotations or sayings. Keep your eyes open and let yourself be inspired. Just make sure that the Instagram caption reflects the feeling you want to convey with your selfie.
13. Use hashtags for more likes on your selfie
You have your perfect selfie? Good! Now you have to make sure that as many people as possible see it. On Instagram you can do this by using hashtags correctly. Some of the most popular hashtags on Instagram are:
These hashtags have a wide range, but also a lot of competition, so your selfie will probably go down quickly. Nevertheless, we recommended you use one or two matching hashtags from this list.
The selection of your hashtags determines by whom your selfies are seen.
More importantly, you should use hashtags that match your content. For example, if you are a travel blogger, your description should contain some of the following hashtags:
Do not be afraid to use tools that help you find the perfect hashtags for your selfie. For example, you can use a hashtag generator that allows you to find hashtags matching your own topics. Try it out yourself!
Conclusion: The Perfect Instagram Selfie
We hope you enjoyed our Perfect Instagram Selfie Guide. As you can see, it’s not that easy taking good selfies. If you are looking for cool and unusual backgrounds for your selfies, check out our WOW! Gallery Selfie Museum! Here you can find great photo backdrops, interactive installations and professional lighting.