So you've spent hours on your hair and makeup and now that you're done, naturally you want to capture your masterpiece. But wait, there seems to be some discrepancy between your mirror and front facing camera because these pictures are not it. Is there anything more annoying than that?

 

No, you're not ugly. You just gotta up your selfie game. Despite what all the Insta models want you to believe, it's not as simple as point and snap. To get some truly Insta-worthy selfies, you need to put in work.

 

First and foremost, how's your lighting? You've probably heard it time and time again but good lighting is essential to a good picture, especially a selfie. It can pretty much erase any imperfections and blemishes better than any makeup could. The best lighting you can get is indirect natural light. If you're outside, stand in a shaded area. You don't want the sun right in your face unless you want to come out squinty in all your pictures. Alternatively, you can stand with the sun directly behind you and adjust the camera settings to focus on you and not your surroundings so that you don't just turn into a silhouette.

 

If you're inside, stand near a window. Pro tip: if the light is too harsh, get some sheer white curtains to place over the window so that you get the perfect amount of light. Pro tip 2: place a white sheet of paper below your chin to bounce more light onto your face and reduce any double-chin effects.

 

When it's dark outside or you just can't access a good window, turn to flash. Even the front facing camera on phones now have a flash feature which can definitely go a long way to adding light. If you have some friends with you, have them shine their phone's flashlight on you for added lighting. Is this extra? Yes. But you can always return the favor after you got your shot and then all of you will have some perfect selfies. If you don't have friends around to help, get a ring light attachment for your phone.

 

After you find the perfect lighting, you need to master those angles. Usually, the best angles that will work on everyone will be at eye level or a bit higher but you never know what could work for you. They say that taking a picture looking down at your phone doesn't look good but just look at Zendaya, pulling it off like a pro.

  

You'll only be able to find the angles that work best for you by trying out a lot of different things. Take pictures from above, in front, below, from the side, from a 45 degree angle…from all the angles you can think of. If you're not sure where to start, try turning your head slightly to one side or the other as this tends to be more flattering than looking at the camera straight-on. You'll never find the angles that work best for you if you don't try them so just go for it. Pro tip: taking pictures when you're laying down can be unflattering because all your features tend to fall upwards making you look weirdly squished. A pillow, jacket, or something underneath your head to elevate it a bit will do wonders while still looking like you're just laying down.

And after you're mastered lighting and angles, don't forget your background! When in doubt, go with a plain background like a bare wall. If you're trying to capture a busy background, doublecheck that there's not some weird pole or other feature right behind you that'll look like it's protruding from your head.

 

A little photo editing can go a long way. There are plenty of apps like Facetune, Perfect 365, or VSCO you can use to tweak colors, fix strays, or erase a blemish here and there. Even Instagram has filters and other photo editing tools that you can use to take your selfie to the next level. Don't be afraid to play with the brightness, contrast, tint, etc. Just be careful not go to overboard. How can you know when to stop the editing? Well if the picture could blend seamlessly into your 2008 social media feed, you've gone too far. It might be tempting to edit every detail of your picture but less is definitely more in this situation.

 

Lastly, don't be ashamed that you're feeling yourself. We all deserve to feel moments like that. Take that picture and show it off. With confidence, you'll be able to pull off any selfie.