How to Use Makeup and Lighting for Your Best Selfie Ever
Brooke Mason, in-demand celebrity photographer, media agency owner and former teen model shares her own tried and true selfie improvement tips.
Who hasn’t looked at their selfies and experienced a little sinking feeling inside? From angles to attitude to makeup and making faces, celebrity photographer Brooke Mason has given selfie-hood some serious thought and has plenty to say.
“Somehow,” she notes, “people feel that they’re cheating if they purposely develop their selfie skills, rehearse posing and test things out. That is so not true! Does practicing dance steps at home make you any less fun or inhibit your spontaneity once you hit the dance floor in a club? No, it does not! As a photographer, I strongly feel that anything worth shooting is worth shooting right.”
So here we go, ready, aim and shoot . . .
Practice, practice, practice
Try all of the below by yourself or with your BFF. Do them a lot, at different times a day and in different locations. Soon enough, all of these tricks will become second nature and your selfies will be effortless and look infinitely better.
Know your angles
Unless you have super long arms, your best shots are going to be those where you prop up your phone about four feet away and set it on a 3-second timer. That said, you can still hold the phone and get a good shot if you’re careful. Either way, position it to where the top of the phone is about eyebrow level and is slightly tilted downward towards you. Any higher and your forehead will look too big.
See the light
You always want to have the light or light source shining into your face (but not so you’re squinting, of course). Why? Your face will appear to glow, your skin will look better, the whites of your eyes will look whiter as will your teeth. At night, it might be a bit more of a challenge but the same principle holds.
Learn the limit of three
Selfies are meant to capture the moment spontaneously, not to torture your friends for hours. So, when you’re out and about, only allow yourself to shoot THREE snaps and then put the phone down. For at least 45 minutes. Mason is unflinching about this, “Your social life is meant be social, remember? A recorded moment is worthless unless you actually experienced it at the time.”
Stop pulling faces
Says Mason, “Enough with the stereotypical duck faces, lamb lips and ‘glam’ poses already! They’re not original (anymore), they’re not fun (anymore) or and they’re certainly not flattering (ever). Oftentimes people automatically pull faces because they’re self-conscious about being photographed. But if you make this a habit, someday your grandkids will say, ‘But what did you actually look like back in the day, Nana?’ Instead, practice a relaxed expression with a slight smile and your lips slightly parted. It may feel strange at first but with enough practice, it’ll be a snap.
Guide you smile with lipstick
Mason’s rule of thumb is the lighter the lipstick shade the more toothy your smile can be. Thus, a nude lip works to frame your full-on pearly whites just fine while an intense red pigment warrants keeping your mouth closed with corners turned up slightly. Says Mason, “On a selfie, a super-red lip on a super-wide smile can look a little scary and vampire-ish. If it’s Halloween, fine, but the rest of the year I say leave it alone. Besides, crimson lips work best on serious or seductive selfie poses and that means keeping your teeth out of the picture anyway.”
Pay attention to your backgrounds
We all know by now (and we do, don’t we?) the dangers of trying to get that perfect selfie in a no-go zone like in front an unfenced pit of Burmese pythons or at the very edge of a very teetering precipice. But selfies pose another peril too and that is dying of embarrassment after having pushed SEND without checking your background first. Mason is still mortified about the time she had sent what she thought was sweet and sexy to her almost-boyfriend only to discover that included in the shot was her dog sniffing at a pile of her dirty gym clothes and filthy sneakers behind her.
See what a selfie sees
Says Mason, “Essentially, a selfie is a very unforgiving close-up where every flaw has the potential to be magnified. So if you’re sloppy with your makeup, it’s going to look even sloppier onscreen. The last thing you want is for your makeup application to make your flaws worse.” Because it covers flaws so precisely, seamlessly easily, Mineral Air can turn a selfie’s scrutiny into a win for your skin.
Blend, blend, blend your makeup and then blend some more
The camera phone lens will pick up even the slightest bit of contrast. So when you’re misting on your Mineral Air, move it down over your jawline, onto your neck and décolletage so there are no hard edges.
Go for a relaxed, natural makeup look
A selfie is not the place to get fancy with contouring. Contouring’s big color contrasts can come out looking like stripes or like you just tripped over your dog while carrying a pile of dirty laundry and fell down the stairs. Selfies want to see the beautiful skin with which you were born (and Mineral Air helps to make a little better).
“AS a photographer, I strongly feel that anything worth shooting is worth shooting right.”
Owner, Brooke Mason Creative