Ever wanted to take a picture of yourself without it looking like you took a selfie? Well, you’re not alone. Some people dislike the selfie culture so much that they don’t want to look like they belong to the “selfie club” when they take pictures of themselves.
Or maybe you have no problem with taking selfies but have been asked to send a picture of yourself that isn’t a selfie, for example, a passport photo taken with your smartphone.
The question is: if you’re alone, is it possible to take a picture of yourself without it looking like a selfie? Yes, it is! In this article, we will look at a few ways in which you can do so. However, not all of them are ideal for something with strict guidelines such as a passport photo.
Method 1: Using a tripod
By far, the best way to take a selfie without it looking like a selfie is to use a tripod. This three-legged piece of equipment is a great investment for mobile photography because of the many opportunities it opens up for you to take awesome and creative smartphone photos. It is also the only recommended way to take a passport photo of yourself using a smartphone.
One of the great things about using a tripod to take a selfie is that you are not necessarily restricted in terms of how far from the camera you are. This is perfect because a typical selfie always looks like it was taken from up close.
Using a tripod to take a selfie makes it possible for you to free your hands and even take full-body pictures of yourself with your phone. In a typical selfie, you usually don’t get to see more than a person’s face and torso, let alone both their arms and hands.
A good tripod to use is one with a Bluetooth remote trigger such as the BlitzWolf BW-BS10, which is actually a selfie stick that can easily be converted into a mini tripod. Its Bluetooth remote allows you to trigger the camera shutter from as far as 10m. It’s quite a handy little accessory that folds down to fit in your pocket.
If investing in a tripod is currently not an option for you, don’t worry. If you can find some items to stack up and support your phone, then that should do the trick. You’ll just have to set a timer so that you can get into position before the camera snaps a shot.
The problem with this is that your phone won’t be as secure as it would be if it was supported by a tripod with a sturdy smartphone mount. So, you run the risk of dropping your phone and damaging it.
Alternatively, you can balance and support your phone at ground level. This can give you an interesting shot angle. For this to work, you’ll need to set a timer and position yourself far enough from the camera to fit in the frame.
The nice thing about using a tripod (or any other hands-free approach) to take a selfie with your smartphone is that it allows you to use the primary rear camera of your phone. This means you can take advantage of the usually more powerful camera at the back of the phone.
Method 2: Cropping
If using a tripod or supporting your phone in any way is not possible, there is another option-- cropping. This is where you take the photo you have taken and trim off the edges or cut out the parts that you don’t want.
One of the most obvious signs that a picture is a selfie is the sight of a stretched out arm and sometimes the shoulders. To get rid of these tell-tale signs, you need to get rid of parts of the frame where they appear by editing them out.
The biggest problem with this is that after cropping the photo, you end up with a smaller sized picture that only shows the face and perhaps just a bit of the shoulders. If this is what you’re looking for, then it’s perfectly fine.
To crop a photo is really simple. All you have to do is open the image in your preferred mobile photo editing app that has a crop feature and use it to get rid of the areas where your stretched out arms can be seen. Alternatively, you can use a photo-editing computer program to do the same.
Method 3: Posing and positioning
Another way in which you can take a selfie without making it look like you took the photo yourself is to position yourself in such a way that doesn’t make it obvious that it’s a selfie.
One way to do this is to position yourself so that the stretched-out arm holding the phone is not in shot. In other words, you need to crop part of your body out of the shot. This may be a bit challenging, especially when it comes to getting the composition right.
What you may also have to do is keep turn and adjusting your phone until you feel happy with the composition and that it’s not too obvious that it’s a selfie.
Added to your positioning, the way you pose can also make a difference. In a typical selfie, the subject often looks directly at the camera. If you look away from the camera or close your eyes, it creates the illusion that someone else took the picture, provided the tell-tale sign of a stretched out arm is not in the frame.
This method is not the easiest of them. You may have to get a bit creative with how you pose and how you hold the phone to be able to get away with it. If done well, it means you won’t have to crop your photo later and thus reduce its size.
Also, look out for mirrors in the background. I’ve seen far too many “not-a-selfie” selfies where the illusion was ruined by a reflection of the person holding the phone in the mirror behind them.
Tips for taking great selfies
Get the lighting right
Lighting is very important in photography, especially mobile photography. Smartphones need a lot of light to take good pictures, otherwise, they might turn out blurry with a lot of digital noise. Make sure there is enough light illuminating your face. You can attach a selfie light to your smartphone or use any other source of available light.
Be mindful of the background
Although what’s in the background is not the point of focus in a photo, it can be distracting if it’s unsightly or has other stuff going on in it. Pay attention to what’s behind you. A potentially good photo can be ruined by unwanted activity in the background.
Take lots of pictures
It’s very uncommon to get the best photo on the first attempt. And even if you do, there’s no harm in taking more shots at different angles. The point is to take several photos so that you can choose the best one from a wide variety of shots. Sometimes the more photos you take, the better they turn out.
Don’t overdo the edit
There is beauty in simplicity. A lot of times, you find people adding a lot of filters and all sorts of effects and in the end, the photo looks odd and unrealistic. If that’s what you’re going for, then go ahead.
But If you’re going for realism, then keep things simple. Don’t let the edit draw attention to itself. Rather, it should enhance your photos, not take away from them.
For more tips, check out How To Take Amazing Selfies With Your Smartphone Camera.