Your selfie has 600 likes on Instagram. Too bad that 580 of them are because of that piece of spinach in your teeth.
Don’t let this happen to you. Taking a great selfie is a snap, so without further ado let’s focus on some simple tips to make yours awesome.
• Let there be good lighting. A selfie is supposed to capture a moment, not be a big production. But if you want people to react, you can’t just fire your iPhone flash in a dark bar and hit the tweet button. Look for any available light. Even a candle can be your best friend. This doesn’t mean you can’t take a selfie in a dimly lit area, but if you have the opportunity to brighten things up you should.
• Do a background check. I’m dumbfounded every time I see a selfie in the bathroom. I haven’t seen anything that makes me want to gouge out my eyes – yet – but I like to think you can do better than saying hello from in front of a stall door. Maybe this is where you ended up on your quest for good lighting, and while I applaud you for the idea, I would argue that no selfie is better than a bathroom selfie.
• Smoke and mirrors. Selfies in smoky bars never look good, and neither do ones where mirrors figure prominently. There’s another reason right there not to take a selfie in the bathroom. Rule of thumb: You don’t want to be able to see the back of your head in a selfie.
• Goof off, because it’s fun. A selfie should not be a reminder of that horrible high school yearbook photo. Look alive, have a little fun and enjoy. Remember to smile (remove all spinach first) and don’t take yourself too seriously. Show off your duck lips or ironman pose and try to remember that someone somewhere is going to favorite your photo or possibly share it.
• Bring your friends. Ellen DeGeneres’ viral selfie from the Oscars wouldn’t have been nearly as successful if she was the only person in the photo. Granted, it’s called a selfie and not a groupie, but in social media it’s usually the more the merrier. Bonus points if you can get Angelina Jolie or Bradley Cooper into your selfie, and even more points if you get them to follow me on Instagram.
• Filters are fine. Don’t apply all of them at once, but there’s nothing wrong with applying a fun filter or two before posting a selfie. And if you end up with something scary or unidentifiable in the background, don’t be afraid to crop. While it shouldn’t take a week to go from photo to post, it’s OK to slow down and get it right the first time. Remember: If you plan to share your selfie on Instagram, you’ll need to crop it to a 1:1 ratio, also known as a square.