In order to get the perfect selfie there are a few variable elements that you need to take into account that you need to make work for you to get the best you.
Types of Light
First and very much foremost, light is the key to a good selfie. Depending where you live will very much dictate the kind of light you will face, if you live in the UK, it will mostly be cloud. However if you are one of the more fortunate ones, sunshine will be the kind of light you deal with on a daily basis.
Now who doesn’t love a bit of sunshine, but actually this is one of the hardest kinds of light to take a photo in. Its bright, it’s hard on your face, casting dark shadows, plus it makes you squint at the camera. Cloudy can also be difficult to take a photo into, if you want the best light, which way do you turn?
Midday sunshine, where the sun is directly over your head tends to be when it is at its brightest. I have inserted a Kardashian photo as an example. You can see there are dark shadows cast across the face and the skin looks rather washed out.
So how do you overcome this? Find shade! A tree, a building or a door way all protect you from the brightest of the sun. Sounds simple doesn’t it, the key is to be close to reflected light but still within the shade. So the edge of the tree’s shade, or opposite to a building reflecting a lot of light.
Let There Be Overhead Indoor Light
Overhead lighting, particularly spotlights, also create harsh bright light. The deepest shadows tend to be in the eye sockets, add flash and the already lit areas of your face get washed out. You can see in this picture of Kourtney Kardashian, the overhead spotlights are incredibly unflattering, it catches her brow and her nose and casts deep shadows in her eyes and under her chin.
The answer is to move to a window. Just like finding shade in sunlight, the light from the window comes in from the front of you, lighting your whole face equally.
Clouds, clouds go away, come again another day!
Those soft fluffy things in the sky act like a big soft box, reducing the sun’s rays and scattering them. However, you can still end up in the dark with shadows across your face. So you need to work out where the sun is, no fancy gadgets needed, use your hands. Hold your palm vertically up and turn looking for the direction of the shadows on your hand. Then once you have discovered where it is turn in that direction.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out!
Go inside, why are you taking selfies in the rain?!?
Sunrise & Sunset
There is a nickname for the first and last hour of the day, golden hour. For good reason too, the light is at the perfect angle, directly shining onto your face. Not only this but light is soft and almost always creates beautiful soft flattering images. As you can see in this picture her face is softly lit up with no harsh shadows.
There are situations where you have light behind you, you can only do two things, get the camera to balance the light for behind or for your face. Either this or you can balance the light for behind you and add fill flash in an attempt to balance the light.
Next time you take a selfie then think light, Light, LIGHT! It honestly makes all the difference.
Portrait & Wedding Photographer