Some of us are less-than-gifted when it comes to the art(?) of taking selfies. We somehow end up with grainy photos, or pics that just don’t look as quality as they should. But, contrary to popular belief, there are ways to fix this apparent Instagram-cluelessness that some of us are so needlessly afflicted with.
Just because you aren’t a Kardashian doesn’t mean that you aren’t entitled to some ~*flawless*~ selfies of your own.
Here are some tips for achieving the perfect Instagram pic, and making your overall selfie-life that much easier:
1. Send your selfie through a filter twice, or adjust the filter’s levels.
I am embarrassed to admit that it took me a significant amount of time to realize that there were adjustment features on each filter. But once I did, hallelujah! This is the perfect fix if you like the way you look in the Valencia filter, but want something that’s a tad less saturated.
2. Use another person’s flashlight for lighting.
Taking a selfie with a friend in the world’s darkest bar? Never fear! Simply have your friend hold their own smartphone flashlight up while you snap a selfie with your phone. The lighting of the phone flashlight is much softer than that harsh flash of the camera, and will ensure that you get flattering (and in-focus) bar selfies.
3. Manage your filters.
If you already know which filters you look best in, there’s no reason to have to scroll through the rest. Go to the “Manage” options under your filters to resort them and put your favorites first.
4. Approve tagged photos of yourself before they go live.
Do you have a friend who always uploads unflattering snapshots of you to Instagram? You can nip this issue in the bud by adjusting the settings on your Instagram profile. Simply require all tagged photos to be added “manually” rather than “automatically,” and you will be able to approve photos of yourself before they’re posted.
5. You can use the “Layout” feature to create cool special effects.
It’s not just for creating photo collages! Instagram’s “Layout” feature also allows you to toy with perspective and create cool surreal photographs — like the snapshot above, which was created by simply taking photos in front of the same background, flipping one of them, then stitching them together.
6. Find as much natural lighting as possible.
There is really nothing more flattering for cell phone photos than a burst of natural lighting. Most “unflattering” photos are simply a result of poor lighting. Whenever you’re taking a selfie, try to angle yourself so that you’re facing a window or another source of sunlight.
7. Use the grid feature to get perfectly symmetrical shots.
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When editing a photo on the Instagram app, use the grid feature to adjust your photo and ensure that you have everything lined up in the most aesthetically-pleasing way. This is most useful for more scenic shots, but it can still be helpful for upping your selfie game!
8. With the right app, you can correct any graininess caused by low lighting.
The CortexCam app helps to cancel out any graininess or noise caused by low lighting (or even over-exposure). This is perfect for those selfies taken around sunset or dusk (although you might still want to consider the lighting option mentioned above in #2).
9. Try out the “burst” option.
This option (also known has holding down the “take photo” button for a few seconds) gives multiple photos of action-filled shots as they’re happening. Perfect for when you want to flip your hair or show off your diving skills.
10. Try out a lens attachment.
There’s only so much the cameras on our phones can do — and when those stop short, it’s good to bring in some supplementary helpers, such as lens attachments, to give you the most professional-looking photographs possible.
11. Try out Snapseed for photo editing before you upload to Instagram.
Snapseed enables you to adjust photos at individual, chosen pinpoints before you upload them to Instagram. So, if you want to adjust darkness in a particular area of your photograph, you can do so. Say “buh-bye” to any awkward shadows or shiny spots!
12. Play with more filters on VSCOcam.
If Instagram just doesn’t have the filters you’re looking for, try out and app like VSCOcam for editing photos before you post them to your Instagram feed. You’ll get more filter options, and will likely end up finding your perfect selfie filter (if you haven’t already).
Related-ish: 13 Beauty Products To Get Those Next-Level Selfies