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Fully Focused: Step up your selfie game for everyone's sake, please

Columnist Lauren Bacho discusses the proper procedures you should take before you post a picture of yourself on social media. 

Growing up in the era of technology, I’ve had my fair share of experience with taking selfies. I’ve watched the selfie game develop from taking pictures in the mirror, turning around the phone or camera, to now using the front camera on cell phones. Since December 2012 when I got my first iPhone with a front camera, I have taken 1,716 selfies — the new iOS 9 separates all of your selfies into a convenient folder. However, this does not include the 32,000 more selfies I have taken on Snapchat.

I’ve taken a lot more bad selfies than good, and unfortunately some of those still exist on social media. But since I’ve started studying photography in college, I have been able to apply what I have learned to increase my selfie game.

The trick to a good selfie is lighting. You’re never going to look good if you’re standing outside at noon with the sun coming directly from above. All of my best selfies have been taken with window light. Slightly overcast days are the best because the light isn’t as harsh. With the light evenly filtering through a window it takes away all of the unflattering shadows you get when you’re outside. So next time you’re sending a Snapchat or taking a selfie to post on Instagram, make sure you face toward the window.

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The next key portion of a selfie is the angle at which you hold your phone. This one isn’t as easy to define because everyone has a different kind of face shape. I find that holding my phone slightly above and looking up at it flatters my face best. You’ll have to test out different angles to see what works for you. With window light, of course.

When it comes to editing my selfies for social media, especially for Instagram, I have a pretty standard set of things I add. I always start with “lux” because it darkens the background and emphasizes my eyes, but be careful not to add too much because then you get crazy eyes. I like to add “contrast” to smooth out the frame a little bit and to darken the background, as well. I tend to add a little bit of the filter “clarendon,” about 25 percent because I like the colors it adds to the photo. Usually if I want to change the tone of the photo I will use “warmth” because “saturation” makes people look orange.

I strongly advise against using apps to smooth out your skin or to fix blemishes because none of them work very well and it’s always very obvious. If you’re having a bad face day then don’t take a selfie. Wait until the next day when you’re feeling yourself like Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj. Then take a bomb selfie and post it on Instagram with beautiful window light. Your social media will blow up and that photo will get so many likes because it will be the best selfie you have ever taken.

Lauren Bacho is a sophomore studying photojournalism and a photo editor for The Post. What selfie tricks do you think work? Tweet her @Visual_Bacho or email her at

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