If you’re an everyday kind of person who is constantly coming across influencers and celebrities’ fire Instagram selfies — perfectly posed, filtered and styled — and wonder how you can up your Instagram game, we got you. 

Obviously, Instagram posts don’t depict real life, real struggles and real imperfections, as a lot of individuals choose to post their close-to-perfect photos versus detailing their actual life struggles — because social media can be very jaded and fake. 

However, that doesn’t mean one cannot have fun playing around with a little photoshoot action to both liven up one’s IG feed and boost their confidence while doing so. Anyone can be their own model and photographer with a little help and a few tips, which we are here to spill. 

A trendy, influencer-like Instagram selfie requires an eye for aesthetic, meaning location, angles, poses, lighting and, of course, the right outfit — which can be a variety of styles, depending on whatever vibe you are going for.

First, it is key to base one’s outfit around where you plan on taking photos, which truly can be anywhere ranging from a grocery store, a plain wall, a library, restaurant, a coffee shop, a parking garage, a street corner, a beach, a park ... you get the point. 

Picking a location is crucial because some call for a sundress and others a grunge-like tee and high top Nike Blazer Mid ‘77 Vintages. So, hypothetically, if you were to be going out to a restaurant and plan on taking a trendy, casual photo at the table with a drink in hand — because yes, a prop is always appreciated — then, it could be smart to look up some photos of the restaurant beforehand to coordinate an appropriate, complimentary fit (OK, it may seem extreme, but in the end, you’ll be grateful you did). 

Once you’ve decided whether your location calls for a crop top and baggy jeans paired with a claw clip and sunglasses or a cinched dress and floppy hat with some bubble braids, it’s time to consider which poses and angles best work to your advantage.  

Preeminently, if you are outside or inside a building with windows surrounding you, make sure the sun is facing you, not behind you, to optimize the most golden-like lighting and to eliminate shadows. 

As for angles, ask your friend who is taking your picture to snap it (or set up your self-timer or Lens Buddy) at a below angle so that the camera is slightly at an upward angle. Don’t lower it too much, though, as that is when the body becomes disproportionate to the photo and can do you zero justice. A slight above and straight-on angle can work in your favor as well. To spice things up, if you’re using your phone since there’s no need for a professional camera to take a professional photo, try using the 0.5x lens on the newer iPhones to optimize a zoomed out angle. 

The awkward part of taking a photo can be posing for the camera. Yes, it is easy to stand there and smile, but you may be wondering exactly how to not look too much like an amateur and truthfully, the secret to doing so is by being yourself. If you’re shooting at an isolated area, experiment with queuing up some music to get you feeling silly, groovy and comfortable. As long as you remain comfortable in the setting and aren’t trying too hard to be something you’re not, your authentic, beautiful essence and self will radiate.

When posing, though, it is always best to balance your body accordingly, which could range anywhere from turning your head slightly, tilting your chin up, looking to the side to leaning forward, popping one leg in front of the other and placing your hands in your pockets. Also, try playing with your hair, holding one arm with the other, placing a hand on the chin and face and giving the camera a soft smile. Additionally, practice with both sitting down in some photos and standing in others, as you’ll be surprised how much you prefer the outcome of one, significantly more. 

Once you have about a billion new portraits of yourself in your camera roll, have fun by sitting down and favoriting the ones you love most, laughing at your caught-off-guard ones and deleting the ones you never want to see again. The process should be fun. When scrolling, fill your head with only positive thoughts and try not to criticize and degrade yourself by searching for flaws. Instead, note what you love most about yourself. 

Lastly, it’s time to filter your photo if you choose to do so. Following the selection proceeding, open an app such as Tezza, Colourtone, VSCO or Lightroom to quickly and easily add a preset. Whichever one you like best, try and only filter the rest of your postable pics with the same one to create a comprehensive, cohesive, pleasing feed. 

It’s time to post. Confidently share with your followers your new bomb selfie by adding a quirky and clever caption to go along with it. You’ll be looking straight like an Instagram baddie. 

Remember to try and not focus too much on being perfect and more on being happy. Taking pictures can be a creative and emotional outlet if you let loose and release all restraint that could hold you back from portraying the best version of you. When you feel good, you look good, and everyone else will see that. 

If you are feeling bold and ready for a cheeky shoot but are in need of a visual aid to try and mimic still, look below for some additional insight regarding location, outfit and pose suggestions.