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The Magic of Selfies & Why We Love Them | Professional Senior Portrait Photographer | Phoenix, AZ

Let’s face it…being a teenager isn’t easy. Take a sec to count up all the times you’ve gotten stuck in the middle of a picture without getting the chance to fix your hair or touch up your make-up. No one wants to be the one with their eyes closed or with a wonky chunk of hair sticking straight up in the air when the shutter clicks. But we’ve all been there...

“Selfie” Expression: We Love Capturing the Moment

Let’s face it…being a teenager isn’t easy. Take a sec to count up all the times you’ve gotten stuck in the middle of a picture without getting the chance to fix your hair or touch up your make-up. No one wants to be the one with their eyes closed or with a wonky chunk of hair sticking straight up in the air when the shutter clicks. But we’ve all been there.

Luckily, selfies came along to save the day. Those handy little self-portraits make it possible to look your natural best in just about any setting. Restaurant bathroom? Check. Roller coaster right before take-off? Check. Impromptu photo shoot with your bestie? Check. Selfies capture all those in-the-moment memories you want to hold onto and share.

And if you don’t look great in a selfie? You simply delete it and take it again. (Try talking Grandma into getting rid of those one-of-a-kind prints from 1995 that show off your gap-toothed grin and the spaghetti-sauce smile you acquired at lunchtime. She’ll never give them up.)

The Allure of the Selfie

There are a few reasons we’re ALL in love with selfies (yep, even the professional photographers among us.) Here’s why they appeal to us so much:

  1. They’re deletable & retakable. (Note: don’t use ‘deletable’ or ‘retakable’ on college entrance essays; totally made those up!) You can take hundreds of selfies from every angle. You can add filters and maneuver lighting until you arrive at the ultimate pièce de résistance to share on social media. We love the flexibility of selfies because we can keep taking them until everyone in the pic is satisfied with the outcome!
  2. They are unique & show off our personalities. Whether you’re goofy, serious, fun, or flirty, selfies capture every side of what makes you…YOU. They are quick little glances into life in motion, as opposed to the stopped-in-time feeling some pictures deliver. And we all love being able to capture life in the moment.
  3. They’re fun & funky. From filters to frames to stickers, there are a billion different ways to jazz up selfies and give them your own unique twist. No two people are alike—and nobody wants their pics to look like anyone else’s. That’s pretty easy to do when taking selfies, and that’s why we love them!

Selfies Are OLD News

Did you know the concept of selfies has actually been around a LOT longer than our cell phones? Many people credit the idea to a man named Robert Cornelius, who took the first example of self-photography in history in 1839. A much different type of photo, this was a daguerreotype which required him to uncover the camera lens, run into photo position, and then hold his position for at least a minute.

Thank goodness we don’t have to do that now!

Then & Now: All About Self-Expression

Whatever kind of selfie, the idea is the same: self-expression. We all love to capture moments in time, and what better way than a quick snap of a pic to share emotion, feelings, and experiences? After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

Selfie VS Senior Portrait

Check out these side-by-side pics of Mavery. She’s undoubtedly beautiful in both of them, but each image does a different job! The image on the left is an adorable selfie that captures an in-the-moment expression. With just a quick snap of the cell phone camera, voilà, you’ve got a fun and casual keepsake to remind you of whatever you were doing that day. The image on the right was professionally taken (and the one she’ll want to send to Grandma and the rest of the family). Notice the attention to lighting and shadow in the professional photo. There is no glare on her face, and there are no random flecks of light playing across her face and hair. Even individual strands of hair have been corrected just enough so that her face is framed perfectly and there are no fly-aways. Selfies are fantastically fun, but when it’s time to get that frameable keepsake image, be sure to go with a pro!

Wanna be a selfie-snapping guru? Here’s what you can do to get the most sharable, likable selfies out there:

  • Kick self-doubt to the curb. Be sure to summon a super dose of confidence because however you’re feeling when you click your pic, that will shine through in your photo.
  • Shake things up. Remember when everyone was doing the “duck face” in their selfies? Yeah, don’t do that. Try to change your expressions, poses, and backgrounds so your selfies don’t end up looking all the same.
  • Become a geometry buff. Ok, not really, but it IS important to know what angles are good for your selfies. For example, when you angle your chin slightly upward, it’s usually better than a downward angle. (Nobody needs to add extra chins in their pics!) Know what angles make you look great and use them to your advantage.
  • Leverage natural lighting. Be aware of your location before you start snapping away. Natural lighting is best, but avoid things like the glare of direct sun, direct fluorescent light, or other harsh lighting settings.
  • Filters can be fun. If you’re feeling blah or just want to add a little spice to your look, play around with some of the many fun filters that are available. You can go for silly, sassy, wacky, or wild—whatever suits your mood that day.
  • Loosen up. Most of all, have fun and roll with it. Selfies are supposed to be low-key and enjoyable, so don’t stress too much over how they end up turning out. You’re going to end up taking gazillions of them anyway.

Selfies Are for Fun. Photographs Are for Keepsakes.

No matter how great your selfies are, there’s no reason to get too worried about them. After all, when it comes to capturing  ginormous moments like high school graduation, you’ll want a professional portrait photographer working with you to get the very best images!

senior portraits vs selfie

When you’re relaxed and feeling your best, you can snap share-worthy pics all day long. In the above set of pics, Erica does a fabulous job of taking a winning selfie that’s casual and reflects her laid-back personality. In a buffalo plaid shirt, she rocks a refreshing natural look and doesn’t even look like she has to try! On the right, she glams things up for her professional photography session with a nod to perfection in the hair and make-up department, and details like texture and lighting pop when a professional photographer takes over behind the camera.

The Bottom Line

Enjoy every picture-taking opportunity…fabulous selfies and frameable mementos, too! Just know that the ones on your wall and the keepsake moments you send to family and friends will be cherished for a long, long time, so be sure they are the professional pics you want on display for everyone to see.

For now, kick back, have fun & selfie the day away! It’ll be great hair, make-up, and confidence practice for mega days…like the day of your senior picture photo shoot.

Mesa Homecoming Photographer

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