Become a Selfie Pro in Five Simple Steps

You're definitely not unattractive. But you're no longer a sixteen-year-old. You don't look picture perfect in every possible light and from every possible angle. 

In fact, in some pictures - especially those taken by other people - you look 10 years older and 10 pounds heavier than you actually are. Not nice.

Yet there is no way of getting around it. You'll have to selfie yourself. 

If you're famous and/or spend time on the stage you'll even have to deal with other people wanting to take selfies with you. And no way of knowing what you'll look like - or where the photo will be shared. 

What's a girl (or guy) to do?

You'll have to become a selfie-pro. 

How? Read on, follow these steps and the next time you need to take a selfie it will be a breeze. Promise. 

5 steps to becoming a selfie-PrO

1. Take charge

Take charge!

Take charge!

If someone else takes a selfie with you, you must take charge of the process. If there are able bodies around your best bet is to actually get a third person to take the picture of you and your fan. 

If this is not an option, then kindly offer to take the selfie with your fan's camera. 

Should they decline, then use the pro tips below to make the best of it. 

2. Quick check

Check face, hair, upper body

Check face, hair, upper body

Check your face, hair and upper body for irregularities using your front facing camera (who needs a mirror nowadays?).

Everything in order? No loose hairs, spinach stuck between your teeth, a necklace which has gone astray and now looks as if it's strangling you? 

Great - that means you're ready for step 3. 

3. Find the best light

Find the best light

Find the best light

Look for a spot with flattering light. 

The worst possible light is light from above. It makes you resemble an exhausted panda bear. 

The best light you can get is natural light from a north-facing window.

If this isn't available then go for any soft lighting, preferable from the side or front. 

Avoid using smartphone camera flash as this tends to create shiny white patches on your face.

4. Do a background check

Check what's in the background

Check what's in the background

So many people forget this - to their own detriment. They end up with things growing out of their ears, weird lines bisecting their heads or - even worse - stuff happening in the background which no-one really wants to see. Remember that bathroom selfie? Right. 

The best backgrounds are walls with a neutral colour (stay away from red or green, these will totally mess up your complexion). Make sure to stand away from the wall rather than against it - depending on your camera this may create a nice background blur. 

5. Assume The Position

Yes. There is such a thing as the perfect 'selfie' position. Hollywood stars use it on the red carpet, and you don't need a famous personal trainer or designer to achieve the same results.

You don't even need to be self-conscious about it. Rembrandt and many other famous artists used The Position. So rather than being vain you're simply using your knowledge of art history.

What is 'The Position'? 

Turn both head and shoulders

Turn both head and shoulders

It's quite simple. Rather than be portrayed from the front ('mugshot style') you turn both head and body slightly away from the camera to create a so-called three-quarter view. 

This will give you well-defined features, make you look slimmer and - even better - give you the air of a total professional. 

Just make sure you 

  1. keep looking into the lens
  2. don't turn away too far - you don't want ugly crinkles in your neck

When you have assumed The Position make sure the camera is in the best position too. 

The perfect perspective from which to take a selfie is not from below, but from slightly above eye level.

Taking selfies from slightly above eye-level usually works best

Taking selfies from slightly above eye-level usually works best

The higher up, the younger (and less authoritative) you will look. So use this secret knowledge with care - you don't want to end up looking like Bambi if you're running a Fortune 500 company. 

Last bit of advice: practice makes perfect. 

Simply practice when nobody's watching. Figure out which is your better half (we're all asymmetrical), experiment with different camera perspectives, practice 'The Position' and try to have a laugh in the process. Because you'll look so much better when you're having fun. 

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Do you use visuals to promote yourself or your brand online? Then check out our Perfect Picture Questionnaire! Share your visual frustrations and receive a PDF with tips for instant images as a thank-you! You'll find the Survey here:

https://www.surveylegend.com/s/ba7

 

You need visual content. Of course you do. But how the heck do you CREATE it?

If you've read articles on visual content marketing you may have noticed that they're all structured like this:

  1. you DESPERATELY need visual content;
  2. we have STATISTICS to prove it and make you scared;
  3. use these TOOLS to create it; and/or
  4. check out what these BRANDS do; and/or
  5. use these DASHBOARDS to automate and analyse it.

Sadly, this is information is quite useless for the average marketeer or business owner. 

You probably already know you need visual content. You knew it last year. And the year before. 

You know you need to start sharing more visuals on Facebook, Instagram or wherever it is you and your business hang out. 

You know visual rules. Images get 150% more retweets. Conversion skyrockets with video. Etcetera.

You know.

And you'd love to do it. Share more visuals. Rule Facebook. Become an Instagram god(dess). 

But nobody is telling you how to take the damn pictures! 

If someone told you 'YOU NEED TEXT TO BE SUCCESSFUL ON SOCIAL MEDIA' you'd think they were mad. That is completely unspecific, useless advice. Yet it's exactly what most articles on visuals do. Just replace 'visual content' with 'text' and there you go.

Thing is, we're so unfamiliar with visuals we haven't even got the proper vocabulary to talk about how to use them (visual equivalent of copywriting? anyone?). Nor have most of us been taught how they work. 

Maybe you've been to marketing school. Maybe you've been to copywriting school. 

But you've probably never been to 'how visuals actually work' school.

Nor to 'how to create photographs or video that converts' school. 

Well let's go about fixing that. Today. With some basic concepts. 

Let's say you have a product you would like to sell. 

You could take a picture of it. Something like this photograph right here. 

A product on a white, neutral background (yes, I realise this is LEGO - but use your imagination and replace it with a product of your own).

If you took a picture like this you'd be doing better than at least 70% of the internet. 

Why?

  • Your product is clearly visible.
  • It's neatly placed in the frame.
  • It's on a neutral background which doesn't distract

There's even some depth to the image thanks to the diagonal lines.

If you have a webshop and you want to show people what your product looks like: not too shabby. No too shabby at all.

However, if you want to do some social media marketing, and your product isn't something utterly sexy like a Ferrari or a big giant diamond, then you'll need a bit more. 

You don't need an expensive camera or lighting setup (although that could help). 

You don't need a set dresser or gorgeous models (although...).

What you need is CONTEXT.

You need to tell people something about your product - just like you would do if you were writing about it. 

You wouldn't just say 'hey - here's my product. get it!'. 

You'd explain what it's for. Why it works so well. What amazing other people use it. Why no household should be without it.

You need to do the same with visuals. 

So let's provide some context to our LEGO - with, of course, more LEGO.

Look! It's Christmas! And your product...would be the perfect GIFT!

Or how about this - your product is so cute...even BABIES love it!

Maybe you have a product geared towards a specific demographic. In that case, consider including someone from said demographic in the picture:

You get it, right?

For your visuals to be effective, you need to give your viewer something to work with. 

So...for your first assignment in 'visual content school' think about this. 

  • What is the story of your product?
  • What is its point?
  • How is it used?
  • By whom?
  • And where?
  • In what part of the world/year/day?

And then start thinking about how that could translate to visuals. 

Brainstorm relevant context - and how that could translate to visuals.

Until next time - when we talk about...grabbing attention! Or eyeballs, if you prefer.

 

 

Are you stock-resistant? Your audience very well could be...

You know you need images in your slideshows for greater impact. But how do you use them? Where do you source them? What works and what doesn't? And how creative can you get?

In this slideshow you'll get some pointers and hopefully lots of inspiration to get started on using better visuals in your communication.

How to make your photos look more professional

After viewing my slideshow or presentation you're convinced: you're going to start taking your own pictures. Yay! Good for you! 

But how do you make your smartphone photos look professional? 

Keep the following tips in mind: 

Make sure your background is neutral. White always works, but other colours can be great too, depending on your subject. 

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Try to focus on one thing at a time. If you try to show too much in one image you'll only confuse the viewer. If you're just starting out taking your own pictures try and keep it as simple as possible (unless of course you're trying to illustrate chaos).

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Adjust the shape and orientation of your framing to your subject. A circle works really well inside a square; a factory building really needs at least a 2:3 landscape rectangle. 

IMG_8337.JPG

Keep an eye on the direction and movement in your image. If it's static: no worries. If it's dynamic, make sure its direction isn't oriented away from whatever it is you're trying to accentuate in your text or web page. For example, if you're using a portrait make sure the person is looking at whatever it is you're trying to accentuate. Not away from it. 

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Stick to subjects which suit you and your business. If you're an accountant with a very formal website you probably want to give pictures of your home baking a miss. And if you train doulas I'd steer clear of shiny metal objects. 

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Don't be afraid to use everyday objects - whether from your home of your business. If they align with who you are and what you have to offer they're a great way to illustrate concepts and translate metaphors. Take this image of a fork - it could work really well for someone who helps people lose weight.

If you keep these five tips in mind when taking pictures they'll look much more professional. And of course, as with anything you're trying to learn, practice makes perfect. So take loads of pictures, experiment and figure out what works for you.

One last thing. Perfectionism does not help you take better pictures - especially if you're just starting out. The only thing it does is make sure you don't even start taking pictures. So do ignore any voices in your head saying 'not good enough'. You're practicing, not taking a photography final. Just experiment and, above all, enjoy the process. Because taking pictures can be a lot of fun.