Go ahead, admit it, you’ve shot a photo or two (or a hundred) of yourself. The self portrait has morphed into the “selfie,” most often tagged in social media with the hashtag (#) “me.” Right now, Instagram has over 90 million photos posted with #me, and  Webstagram rates it the third most used tag behind #love and #instagood.  Some say selfies are the evolution of how people communicate their state of mind, while others say they can be harmful to relationships, and others have even taken measures to ban them. But it appears selfies are here to stay, at least until the next iteration of “emoticons” rises to the top of the social media mindset. So, if you’re like most people and have to shoot several self portraits before you get the selfie you’re willing to share with the world (I took seven before I got the one I was willing to post,) here are a few tips on how to look your best with your camera only an arm’s length away.

    1. Check the background – This is first and foremost advice from Stone Ward’s Associate Creative Director/Director of Design Kyle Floyd. And, as a PR person, I’ll just add that for legal, personal and reasons of just good taste, check that your background and surroundings are clear of objectionable images. A quick search of “#selfie #fail” will reveal why.
    2. Get the best look and the right light – Tommy Walker, director of Broadcast Production who heads up Stone Ward’s 360 Filmworks, recommends choosing the option on phones that can turn the screen toward you to check your look before shooting a self-image.  If not, you might want to take a test shot for any needed adjustments. And, he says lighting is important.  Be sure you’re not standing directly in front of a window, which will darken any image in the foreground.  Instead, you might use the suggestion from teen-site GirlsGuideTo.com, “Create artificial light if you must, and turn off your flash.” After all, they do take the most selfies (according to my teenage son). And, if all else fails, “filter” your photo. I chose Instagram’s “Willow” for this photo. Webstagram ranks most people using the “Normal” setting for pics right now, with the “Earlybird” and “X-Pro II” filters coming in second and third most selected.  Several other mobile messaging services, such as Just.me, are also offering filtering options.
    3. It’s all about the jaw – Photographer Peter Hurley has a 15 minute on-line tutorial on how to get the best look on camera.  For him, it’s all about the jaw.  To bring out the jawline, Hurley suggests you position your “forehead out and down” and “shebang,” “boom,” look at the difference!  If you’re shooting a profile, tighten the skin over the jawline by bringing your ear forward. According to him, it, “feels weird, looks good!”

So here’s to the #selfie, may it never #fail!