If you are someone in love with yourself and cannot help clicking pictures of yourself with your smartphone, tablet device or anything that will take a photo – you know the pure pleasure that comes with such a not-so-selfless pursuit.
Yes, the SELFIE or self-portrait photograph is the ultimate tool of self-indulgence. Why beg others to take a photo of you when you can be self reliant, not to mention self-sufficient? Think of it as the epitome of Do-it –yourself [DIY] activity that is for you, of yourself and by yourself.
If you are a self-confessed narcissist who is trying to perfect your technique at taking selfies, here are some pointers to clicking perfect images of yourself.
Take it from me, a self-taught selfie addict.
Tip # 1: Stop being self-conscious: It’s one thing being self-aware and another thing being uncomfortable with what you are doing. To take a realistic photo, stop bothering about what others think. Concentrate on yourself and only yourself. Blur out others from your mind as well as ensuring they are nowhere in the frame. This is about you and this is your moment. Stop thinking what others think when you click that selfie with the drink the waiter has just placed on the table. Stop thinking of what your dinner companion thinks of you when you click a little memento of your food with yourself. If anything they will be amazed at your total self-absorption and dedication to your art.
Tip#2: Angles are important. Oh yes! Now we are getting to the technical part.
How you hold your camera, where you hold it and how you slant it are determinants of how good your selfie turns out. The angle of elevation has to be just right. Hold the camera too high up and risk capturing a not so flattering image of your receding hairline or a birds eye view of your eyebrows and blocked pores on your nose, not to mention a nose that appears enlarged.
Hold the camera too low and end up with a view of your nasal hair and a newly diagnosed deviated nasal septum. The best way to learn is by trial and error. Practice makes perfect. Click away and find out what works best for you. Remember, the path to self-discovery can be rewarding.
Tip #3 Lighting is very important. Tube lights are spoilsports and to be avoided. Try sitting next to a table lamp or a candle whose dim lighting will make interesting shadows and therefore make your face look more exciting. You can spend hours amusing yourself with the way light falls on your face and how it looks in the photograph. You can also amuse others with this display of self-obsession and unabashed self-admiration. Natural sunlight is great too.
Tip#4 Use an extension: A nice long arm is the best accessory to take a great selfie. But there is only so much you can extend your arm. Besides, when your stubby fingers with bitten/chewed-down nails decide to interpose and make a guest appearance in the frame, it can be annoying. To avoid these artifacts on your otherwise perfect selfie, try using an extension stick of some sort, ideally a selfie-stick. While these contraptions do not cost an arm and a leg, they can be bulky to carry around. However, they seem to be the latest travel fashion ‘must have’ so it may be advisable to invest in one. However for those with an inventive bent of mind, why not make your own selfie stick at home? Go green; use recyclable materials if you can.
Tip#5: Do not stare directly at the camera. Doing so makes the selfie appear more like a passport photo with fat arms on the side. For a more realistic look try looking slightly to the side and use only one arm if possible. Whatever you do hold on to your camera as tight as possible. It goes with out saying that you have to pout and look the part. Facial expressions are all important. Practice in the mirror [or just use your phone camera as a mirror] to train your muscles into contracting, just so.
Tip# 6 Experiment with different backgrounds. A dark plain background like say, a dark brown door is a wonderful backdrop against which to strike a pose again and again. The trick is to take multiple photos, in quick succession provided your camera can do so. You can be guaranteed that at least 1 out of 25 photos will be that perfect picture that you are after. If not there is always Photoshop or similar tools that will blur, crop, tweak, provide special effects and glamourize the real you.
Tip#7 Believe in the maxim that ‘Nothing is impossible’. Yes, that applies to a selfie too. If you thought that you could manage only a facial photograph or a bit more, think again. With the right techniques you can get a view from the tip of your stilettos to the top of your coiffured hairdo with one masterstroke. Simple: use a reflecting surface like a mirror. Make full use of any light reflecting surface; it does not have to be a mirror but could be polished doors of a lift, a waxed surface of a car with plenty of sunshine thrown in or just look around and use your imagination. With a bit of practice, every reflecting surface that you spot will hold unlimited possibilities and opportunities. Using this technique you can capture not only a full length view of yourself but also profiles and of course the ultimate- a view of the rear; that is if you are brave enough know the ‘real’ you. Just stand with your back to the mirror and the camera in front of you at a suitable angle and click away. Discover aspects of yourself that were hidden all these years. Delete if unsavoury or plain depressing!
Tip#8 Now for some trick selfies. Using the above technique of using a mirror, this time stand in front of the mirror with the camera facing the mirror. Yes, you heard right. Hold camera upright and click away. What you get is brilliantly infinite selfies one inside another. This works so well with an I-Pad, you’d think they were made for this purpose. This technique using a camera phone is great for taking selfies discreetly if there is such a thing! Yes, so for instance in a posh place where taking selfies appears a bit uncouth, try facing a mirror using a handbag or glass or anything as a camouflage . Place the phone camera in front of the item, look into the mirror and click away. Make sure the item is something you want in your photo. You do have to be a supremely dextrous to manage this feat effortlessly. But remember ‘nothing is impossible’!
Tips#9 For a bit of novelty try taking a ‘group selfie’ or is it called something else?
That way you won’t have to feel self-conscious and have a perfectly legitimate excuse to indulge in your favourite pastime. In fact a group selfie is such a wonderful bonding exercise for friends, family and colleagues. But if you are a self-proclaimed narcissist and insist on seeing only yourself in the frame, why not crop out the others later and get a little ‘selfie’ just for, of and by yourself?
Sounds selfish isn’t it? Well, why not? Just keep the original group photo too and it won’t seem that harsh.
Now that we have all the self-help guidelines, it’s time to put into practice what is such a big craze these days…. not only with us mere mortals but also with the movers and shakers of this world. Of course, some of us are simply addicted to this self-glorification and are closet narcissists slowly poking our heads out to get a mug shot of ourselves, as no one else will indulge us.
But as long as it is a harmless hobby, done in one’s own time and with self earned money, why not?