6 ways to nail your next #nofilter snapshot
By Casey Gueren, Women's Health
Ah, Instagram: it can turn a sushi roll into a masterpiece and a silly, arm-length shot into a Facebook-worthy photo. But instead of making photo-sharing easier, the app might be turning us all into perfectionists. According to a new study from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, the pictures we upload through the app are often carefully planned and edited.
It takes more than the perfect filter to make a great selfie, so we culled the best tips for nailing this snapshot-and cutting your editing time way down! Use these tricks to take your selfies from simple to #stunning.
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Perfect the #nofilter beauty look
There's a reason that the X-Pro II filter never fails to make you look like a goddess. It gives your photo a candelit effect that glosses over imperfections while amplifying other features-like your bone structure, lips, and eyes, says San Francisco makeup artist Hillary Clark.
But the right beauty tricks can help you look flawless even without the filter. First, dust a matte bronzer over your foundation on the perimeter of your face, bridge of your nose, and hollows of your cheeks to create awesome definition. Then, intensify your eyes by rimming the upper and lower lash lines with a brown or black eye pencil and applying volumizing mascara. Finally, make your lips look even sultrier by tracing them with a nude pencil then topping them with a tinted balm or gloss in rose or mauve.
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Let's be real: arm-length selfies can only be so flattering. It's tough to master different angles, and you usually end up getting photobombed by your own forearm or shoulder. Not cute. Your best bet is buying a mini tripod for your smartphone (like the GripTight GorillaPod, $29.95), says Toronto-based photographer Mindy Stricke, founder of SingleShots.com, a service specializing in portraits for online dating sites. Another option: download a free self-timer app for your phone (like the TimerCam for iPhone), then prop it up on a level surface to take the pic.
Find the right angle
Without going all MySpace on us, it really is best to angle your camera slightly above yourself when taking a picture since it tends to be the most flattering, says Stricke. You can also take a cue from red carpet shots and angle your body or face slightly to one side (more on that next), since straight-on photos can flatten you out. But subtlety here is key-you don't want any extreme head tilts or turns that look unnatural, says Stricke. Finally, avoid being dead center in the photo. This will help you achieve the rule of thirds, which is a photo composition trick that makes a photo more interesting by keeping the subject along imaginary lines that divide the picture into thirds, both vertically and horizontally.
Show your best side
You're not crazy-you actually do have a good side, and chances are it's the left. A 2012 study in the journal Experimental Brain Research found that photos showing the left side of your face were rated as more pleasant than photos of the right side of your face. These results held true even when they took mirror image photos of the left side of a face that was flipped to seem like the opposite side. So even if you're using the front-facing camera of your iPhone, tilt your face a little to the right so that your left side is showing.
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Go towards the light
Natural sunlight is ideal, but it's not always doable. You almost can't go wrong during the magic hour (the hour just after sunrise or just before sunset), which is when the sunlight is perfect for pictures, says Stricke. But if you can't shoot outdoors then, aim for what's called open shade. "You want even lighting, but you don't want bright sunlight because it creates harsh shadows," says Stricke. To find this sweet spot, try standing in the shade of a tree or building.
If you're inside, try to find any light source you can to avoid the dreaded flash, which is never flattering, says Stricke. Look for light coming through a window, soft light bulbs-even neon bar signs. "You can create an interesting, cool picture in very low light," says Stricke.
According to research from dating site OKCupid, photos of you doing something interesting or posing with an animal trump all other pictures. We don't expect you to snap a selfie while you're simultaneously walking your dog and playing guitar (though if you can do that, you should definitely get a picture), but take this into consideration for your next photo-op. Snap a picture of yourself snuggling with your dog or sitting on a jet ski. If you do it right, your selfie can double as a conversation starter.
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