What is a Selfie: Lighting, lenses & more

Jitendra Soni
A group of women trying to capture a selfie on a smartphone

Have you ever wondered why a self-portrait is called a Selfie? We delve deeper into this modern social media habit of capturing and posting selfies.

What is a Selfie? If you ask this question to almost anyone, they would tell you that it is an image of yourself, that also happens to be captured by you too. Generally, selfies are taken using a smartphone or a point-and-shoot camera. You can also shoot them with the help of a trusty selfie stick, too. 

With social media popularizing it. We’ve listed absolutely everything you need to know about selfies, and how to take the best ones below.

What is a selfie?

Any self-portrait is a selfie regardless of the device it’s been clicked with. However, it’s primarily associated with an image clicked via a smartphone’s front camera, but courageous people use their point-and-shoot or DSLR cameras as well.

Selfies are not only used to capture memories but are often used to tell a story. For example, if you witnessed an event or something worth remembering, snapping a selfie is a quick and unobtrusive way of capturing the moment.

To make selfies enjoyable, smartphone makers have added ultra-wide-angle lenses up front to capture a wider background for a better story. You also have portrait selfies and various filters to spice things up.

What are the different types of selfies?

A selfie shot with a group of people is called “Groufie,” and a “Bothie” is an image/video that is shot using both – the front and rear – cameras of a phone to capture the events on both sides of the phone. While groufies are pretty standard, bothies were introduced by smartphone maker Nokia and are used mainly by Vloggers or content creators to share an experience.

How to shoot a perfect selfie

Man using an iPhone mounted on a selfie stick

Shooting a photo is an art, even though it’s a regular photo or a selfie. While taking selfies is pretty simple, if you follow some essential tips, anyone can take a perfect selfie and become a master storyteller.

We’ve listed some tips below that will make your selfies look stellar.

Face the light

Like any image, a selfie also needs the object to be properly lit. Remember to face the source of light to brighten up your face. Also, ensure you’re not too close to the light source, or it will result in an overexposed image.

Avoid using flash

Avoid using your smartphone’s screen flash or LED flashlight. As the source of these lights will be at an arm’s distance at best, you might get a red-eye effect in the image or a washed-out image that lacks details. If possible, use an external light like a ring or flashlight from a secondary phone to highlight the object.

Try different angles

It’s always good to experiment with light and camera angles when taking pictures. The same applies to selfies as well. Remember the rule of thirds, find or create a frame, and look for symmetry or guiding lines to make the image visually pleasing. You can also try different poses and choose the one that comes out the best.

Switch to a wide-angle lens

Using a wide-angle lens is ideal. Suppose you’re capturing a landscape or capturing a group of people. A wide angle lets you snap shots that look spectacular when you’re in spectacular surroundings. It also helps you fit more people into group photos, too. 

Clean the lens

It doesn’t matter if it’s a selfie or a regular photo; always clean your smartphone’s lenses with a clean and soft cloth. This removes any dust or smudges that could ruin a once-in-a-lifetime moment.

Things to remember while taking a selfie

Someone trying to capture a selfie on an iPhone

While capturing a selfie is an innocuous act, there are some basic things that you must remember to ensure that it remains a memorable moment for everyone.

Seek permission

If you want to take a selfie with a celebrity or a person whom you do not know, it’s always best to take permission before attempting to take a selfie with them. Approach them politely and they are likely to accept, just make sure to honor people’s privacy. 

Watch your surroundings

Always keep an eye on your surroundings. Never shoot selfies or record videos near moving trains, while crossing a busy street or highway, or while driving. Be extra cautious when you’re snapping a selfie near a body of water, a swimming pool, or a railing.

Be sure to check out our other guides

How to force quit on Mac | How to make mac dark mode | How to show hidden files on Mac | How to check airpods battery level | Silence notifications on iPhone |  How to turn iPhone off | How to share location on iPhone | How to delete contacts on iPhone |  How to make folders on iPhone

About The Author

Jitendra loves writing about tech, especially smartphones. He has almost 10 years of experience. He spearheaded the TechRadar India editorial operations and has written for TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Free Press Journal, Mobile Scout, IB Times Singapore, Indulge Express, and more. He can be reached at jitendra.soni@dexerto.com