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What is a selfie and how can I take one?

What is a selfie

By now, you’ve probably heard the word “Selfie” floating around the internet. But what is a selfie? And how does it work? We’ll tell you all that and more in today’s blog.

Definition

If you’ve recently spent time with your child or grandkid and instead of the usual lunchtime conversation, they sat there taking photos of themselves, you’ve seen a Selfie attempt in real life.

A Selfie is defined by Oxford Dictionary as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media.” Oxford Dictionary even named the word ‘Selfie’ Word of the Year in 2013. They have become quite popular within the last few years, especially among the younger generation.

Some Selfie History

However, this modern phenomenon is not as ‘modern’ as people think. The first Selfie was actually taken way before 2013, dating back all the way to 1839, by a man named Robert Cornelius.

What is a selfie

Source: Wikipedia

This chemist and photographer snapped the first ever self-portrait. Too bad he didn’t upload the photo to Instagram with the hashtag #selfie to receive the credit he deserves.

You are probably thinking, I’ve been taking photos like this for years, why now are they naming it? It’s probably because it wasn’t until a few years ago that smartphones began to have front cameras, and more and more computers have webcams installed resulting in making it much easier for people to take Selfies. Also, with the rise of social media, requiring pictures on people’s profiles, Selfies make it easy to take a quick photo of yourself and show who you really are.   If someone else takes a photo of you, let’s say while you were on vacation, that is not considered a Selfie because you are not the one taking the photo. Here are a few examples of a Selfie vs. non-Selfie:

What is a selfie

Self-Portrait (Not Selfie)

What is a selfie

Real Selfie

How to Take a Selfie

It’s important for any social media profile (such as Stitch or Facebook) to have a recent photo of yourself. Getting a self-portrait taken by a professional photographer is expensive, timely, and no longer the social norm, so you can feel good about saving your time and money!

To take a Selfie on a smartphone (Iphone, Samsung Galaxy, LG 4G Nexus, Android, etc.):

  1. Open your camera application.
  2. Make sure the front camera is on and facing you. In the top right hand corner there is a switch sign that, when tapped, will flip between the front and back camera.
  3. Practice your smile and make sure you can see your entire face.
  4. Take a Selfie!

Tips for the Perfect Selfie

Angles are important

Look in a mirror to find your favorite angle of your face. Experts say that most people look the best when their face is tilted at a slight angle to the camera, as opposed to straight on. But don’t turn too much to where the photo turns into a side profile shot. However, everyone has different features they want to highlight. Practice by just taking photos of your face from different positions whether it’s posing your head to the side or just moving your chin a slight angle up. Everyone will have different ‘good angles’, the secret is finding yours by practicing. After you’ve found your angle, hold the camera with just one hand at a 45-degree angle above you and then use your thumb to snap the photo.

Use one hand only (or a Selfie Stitck!)

What is a selfie

Selfie Stitck

Hold the camera with just one hand, as using two hands can cause your neck to tense up and the Selfie will look less relaxed. However, you can go hands free and use a “Selfie stick”. A Selfie stick is a long stick with an adjustable clamp on one end that holds your phone in position. The handle has a button where you simply click it and it takes the photo from your camera. They usually sell anywhere between $10 to $20 dollars and can be bought at any Walmart, Best Buy, Target.

Selfie sticks are also a great tool for group shots. Finally you don’t have to single out that one friend to take the photo, all your Stitch friends can be included!

Use good lighting

Lighting is important for any photos, especially Selfies. Do not try taking a Selfie in a dimly-lit room or harsh fluorescent lighting. Natural lighting is ideal because it is the most flattering.  Try taking a Selfie outside or pose near a window.

Slow and Steady, now! 

Continually pushing the capture button only results in blurry photos. Make sure the autofocus is on you and then snap the perfect shot.  If you want multiple pictures (because options are always the best) then wait two seconds and hit the button again. 

Selfie DON’Ts

Always wear clothes!

You don’t want to give people the wrong impression of you. For women, strapless shirts and tanks can make you appear topless.

Watch your neck

Don’t hold the phone under your neck and risk the chance of having a double chin sneak in there, or even worse, letting people look up your nose!

Avoid the mirror

What is a selfie

Mirror Selfie

Unless you for some reason need your whole body in the photo, don’t take Selfies in the mirror. Even mirror Selfies that are taken just of your shoulders up are not a good option! There could be a glare in the mirror from the flash that won’t give you lighting you want.

Remember that Selfies should always be the most accurate description of you so just smile, relax, and have fun!  With these tips your Stitch profile photo will be five stars and you’ll be looking just like a pro. People might even mistake you for a celebrity!

3 Comments

  1. Jenny

    Hi, appreciate the time you are all putting into this, but seriously I find this particular blog to be quite patronising to the members of this group. Am kinda blown away by it.

    1. Marcie Rogo

      Hi Jenny, thanks for your comment and I must apologize if you feel this was patronizing. We write blogs mostly based on member feedback and questions and a lot of Stitchers were asking about “selfies” as something they’ve heard about, have tried, but don’t really have any background knowledge on and would like to know more. This blog was meant to be fun and light-hearted, informative for people that need it. Nothing patronizing. Hope that helps to speak to your concerns.

  2. Kathryn K.

    You have to turn Flash off on the camera if doing mirror selfie…that’s why the bright light is there in the photo above.

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