Selfies – tips for newbies

Ellen DeGeneres selfie at Oscars

Ellen’s selfie courtesy of Huffington Post

I was there watching TV when Ellen DeGeneres took that selfie at the Academy Awards. Sure they had their best makeup done by professionals and had the right clothes on but how did they get such a great picture in one shot?

I rarely have my picture taken. Normally I am the photographer or I’m in the kitchen cleaning up (code word for hiding as very little is cleaned up).

That means when I need a picture I have my choice of my high school graduation or my confirmation portrait pictures. I don’t really look like either although the confirmation pictures (taken when I was around 12) are pretty interesting. I’m dressed like a fairy princess. It’s a look I like.

Or I can crop myself out of a group photo which makes me the size of a postage stamp or maybe a pea. Someone else’s hand (or shoulder or hair) is usually in my face obscuring my “good” side.

After I saw how simple it was to do a selfie, I tried it…and tried it….and tried it.

First off, my nose was so out of proportion that I looked ridiculous. Ok, “they” say use a higher angle. Hold it out and up looking down on you.

Easy peasy! Not!

Now I have a perfect picture of my ear lobe. I never focused on my ear lobe before. It’s quite lovely. So much better than my ears.

One of my many bad shots

One of my many bad shots

Do you know ears continue to grow until you die? Did you ever notice that old men (and ladies too) have humongous ears? Some even sprout hair or warts!

After many different shots and many different angles, I got one that had my whole face. I wasn’t doing anything too goofy. Eyes are open (sort of!). Smile looks sort of normal.

After a small crop, I have something I can use that was taken in this decade. This was done with my camera. I still can’t do a selfie with a Smartphone. I must have an enlarge nose button on it that doesn’t turn off.

Here are my tips:

  • Hold your camera up in the air so it’s facing down at you at an angle. You will have to practice your angle or you will get chins or eyebrows. Don’t worry if it looks awkward.
  • Stick out your chin (straight out) to minimize your triple folds.
  • Talk to yourself so you have a more natural looking expression. Yes, you will look crazy but so what? This is show biz.
  • Snap many so you have a choice. Don’t worry, there’s no film to waste!
  • I look better when taken outdoors maybe you do too.

It also helps if you have Photoshop to crop or fix any stupid angles but that’s not important. It’s a selfie! It’s not expected to be perfect.

Take that Ellen!

And here is my selfie!

My best one although I wasn't looking up like the pro's do.

My best one although I wasn’t looking up like the pro’s do.



47 thoughts on “Selfies – tips for newbies

  1. I also have that nose problem. Another problem is looking cross-eyed as I am looking at the controls on the camera rather than directly at the lens. Plus, I don’t understand why, whenever my picture is taken (either by me or by anyone else), I always look about 15 years older than I do in the mirror!


  2. You are a raving beauty! I mean compared to me in any selfie I have ever tried. Actually, your selfie is adorable. I will try again to smile and take the shot from above whilst holding my double chins in. If it doesn’t come out right, you may never see me since i too am the one snapping photos or cleaning up in the kitchen. 🙂


  3. Good job! You look lovely. But I’m confused. I see people all the time taking selfies with their phones. How does one do it with a camera? I don’t see your arm. And you took a side pose.

    The only time I’ve tried a selfie was for a post. I stood in front of the mirror and tried to look like I was brushing my teeth as I snapped a picture of my reflection.


    • Although it doesn’t look like it, one hand is holding the camera up and out with my hand next to the button. On my very small traveling camera, I can easily click the button with one hand while holding it. I just can’t see in the viewfinder. In comparison, my smartphone has a dot you press and I find that harder to do while keeping it still. I never thought of taking a picture of a reflection.


    • My first one terrorized me. I was ready for a major redo. I needed a photo so I kept at it. It took a lot of shots. I’m neither photogenic nor am I particularly skilled in shooting down with a camera.


  4. You are gorgeous and i offer as affirmed re: your observations on ears and unexpected growth spurts in several areas involving the lobe. I truly believe you’ve upgraded from your confirmation days! Well done oh so photogenic one. Dan


  5. Show off…. (just a second while I clean up guffawed coffee on my desk)
    I’m furiously scribbling notes here….
    (chin out, arms up, ears covered, run outside, snap, delete, snap, delete, snap delete, go back to kitchen, get more coffee) Such a fun read from a fun person.

    My sister in law and I have an agreement. We never share photos if the other looks atrocious even if we look fabulous. Therefore few pictures of us exist. Not sure I’ve ever looked fabulous. However, now you give me HOPE.

    It’s time to practice, practice, practice…


  6. You look great! I’ve been trying to get video of when my cat Chrissy “nurses” on my neck every day, and I keep getting just some jumbled pieces of her face and my many chins and it’s just not attractive at all. I’m going to keep at it-now you’ve inspired me!


  7. People often forget to SMILE in a selfie, but I see that you’re obviously a professional, because your smile in the photo is fabulous. Not too shabby, Kate! Nice job!


  8. Every once in awhile, I take pictures of myself wearing clothes combinations that I want to remember. I always am so disappointed with the results (do I really look like that to others?). Next time, I’ll try a few of your suggestions to see if they work for me. An alternative is just to crop my head off completely.


  9. I’ve not fallen victim to the cultural obsession with selfies… yet. I suppose eventually I’ll try to take one and when I do I’ll remember your advice because, obviously, you know what you’re doing. Nice photo.


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