Selfies. We all take them, but there are some practical tips you can use to step up your game and make sure you put your best face forward. Our selfie model today will be the best photographer and selfie artist I know: my sister.

1. Location, location, location

First of all, make sure your background is selfie-worthy. There's nothing weirder than seeing a good selfie and then realizing it was taken in a nasty public restroom. Choose your location wisely. That doesn't mean you have to be on top of a skyscraper in every picture, but make sure the background doesn't distract from the main subject of the photo. If a picture is worth a thousand words you can bet that a couple hundred can be attributed to your surroundings.

2. The rule of thirds

Now that you've chosen your location let's talk about framing your selfie. Imagine a grid overlaying your photo, cutting it into thirds both vertically and horizontally. The rule of thirds states that the focus of your photo is most effective when centered on an intersecting point on that grid. If necessary, crop or retake your photo to adhere to this rule and to make your selfie look a little less aesthetically awkward.

Research shows that viewers eyes are more drawn to those intersecting points, which means that in this photo the main focus will be on the eyes and smile (that's what we want).

The rule of thirds is not a do-or-die type of rule. If you don't always follow it it doesn't mean your photo won't be a hit, but use it when you can. Avoid positioning yourself in the exact center of your frame unless you've got a good reason for it (like if you're shooting for symmetry). Just moving your face to one side of the frame does wonders for balance and holding interest in your selfie.

3. Lighting

The subject of your selfie (your self) should be the brightest part of the photo. Natural lighting is less harsh than artificial lighting (unless you're an expert with professional lighting). Whichever way you go, the most light should rest on whichever side of your face shows the most.

4. Angle

Take your selfies with the camera angled slightly downwards towards your face. In other words, raise the camera above your eyeline so you have to look upwards a bit for the picture.

This technique is more flattering for your skin. You avoid creating double chins and accidentally taking a picture of the inside of your nose.

5. Filters

Finally, feel free to peruse available filters. Instagram is known for their filters but you can find them on almost any photo editing app. Play around with them and see which one gives your selfie the desired effect.

Take the time to mess around with these rules and who knows? One day you might be as good at them as my sister.

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