How to take next level selfies

19th September 2019 - Photography
How to take next level selfies

We’ve all taken a selfie.  It seems traveling today requires we somehow “prove” we were there with at least one selfie in a famous place, with a dish of food, surrounded by fellow tourists, or for some reason posing in a bathroom.

I started traveling in the age before smartphones (yes, I’m that old).  Back then we had to get pretty creative in the way we took “selfies”, usually involving propping a film camera on a shelf or ledge, setting a timer and running into place – all the while praying that the camera focused on me and not the random person who wandered into the shot.

While the technology we use for selfies has improved greatly, we haven’t necessarily gotten any better at taking them at the same time.  To solve that, here are a few tips to take your next selfie to the next level.

Avoid the Dog Nose

There is a famous example in photography of what can happen when you take an up-close image with a wide-angle lens.  Its called the dog nose syndrome, and it isn’t pretty.  It just means that everything close to the camera gets exaggerated in the process


Photo © Damedeeso – Dreamstime

Unfortunately, the camera on your cell phone is a wide-angle lens, and holding it at arms length will produce exactly that result.  The trick is to position the camera further away from your face.  Use the remote feature on your cellphone, or timer on your camera, to provide that separation.  But please, please, please, ditch the selfie stick for the sake of all your fellow travelers trying to navigate the same crowded space.


Photo © Zastavkin – Dreamstime

Get a Sense of Place

Another good reason to move the phone/camera away from yourself is to be able to include more of the background to give you a better sense of place.  In this instance having a wide-angle lens is a plus as you can truly capture where you are, not just get another great headshot.


Photo 149809718 © Karen Foley –

Go 360°

Another unique way to include yourself in the picture is to try a 360° camera.   As the name implies, the image captured is a 360° panorama of all your surroundings ensuring you will always be in the shot.


Photo 93035280 © Ipek Morel Diplikaya –

Reflect on the Subject

Give a unique look to your images by shooting your reflection in a puddle instead of a mirror.  Hold the camera upside down so that the lens is on the bottom and frame the puddle with the reflection along with the background in the same frame.  You may need the help of a flexible tripod and timer – or a friend – but the results are truly spectacular.

Filter Effects

Here’s the good news and the bad news.  The good news is that filter effects for selfies on smartphones are as ubiquitous as the selfie itself.  They are available to change every aspect imaginable about your favorite image.  The bad news is that filter effects for selfies on smartphones are as ubiquitous as the selfie itself.  Every bad decision you can make about altering a photo on your phone is available somewhere.  A quick Google search will turn up all types.


Photo © Vadymvdrobot – Dreamstime

The point is, there are some great apps for touching up an image to improve things like skin tone, removing red eye, or maybe brightening up your smile a touch.  But avoid the ones that turn you into a cat, or the “glamour” one that turns you into someone completely unrecognizable.  A selfie is a picture of you after all.

Now go out and take a selfie to share with all your faithful followers – or maybe just for yourself and a few close friends.

Stock photos provided

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