May 24, 2014

Selfies for blogs - share your joys

These days, social networking and photo-sharing sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, Instagram and Whatsapp are flooded with selfies [=one’s photos taken by oneself*]. Availability of cameras on mobile phones, especially the front camera, has made it possible for people to capture themselves on camera anytime and anywhere. In most smart phones, there is facility to immediately post the photo on the web. This has taken away the bother to first download the photo to a computer / laptop and then post it on one’s web-space.
One of the most popular selfies: taken at Oscars 2014

Selfies are excellent means to relate oneself to people and places, the mood of the moment, the surroundings, the event and so on. While these have been extensively used on other platforms, blogs do not carry as many selfies. There could be many reasons for this, e.g. bloggers want to post more permanent content on blogs, there is no seamless posting facility for blogs like that on Facebook, and blogs are not for instant sharing of feelings with friends. Yet, we visualize a range of situations in which selfies fit well into blogging. 


A selfie is not expected to be as good as a photo taken by professional photographer and with high-end camera. Yet, the photo should look well-lit, well-composed and of overall passable quality. So, take care of some basics:
  • Try to have enough natural light falling on the face(s) but not too sharp light [e.g. direct sun]. When indoors, try to position yourself in a way that you get good light. Flash gives too sharp a light and distorts shapes and colors when you take a shot from an ordinary mobile phone. 
  • Hold the camera as far from the face as possible. Holding camera close to the face distorts facial features.
  • Remain still; avoid camera shake. 
  • Try to have a clear, uncluttered background. There should also not be too reflective objects and mirrors in the background.
  • Know your best angle. Some people look better from a slightly higher position or from one particular side. In general, don’t hold camera too high or low, and not too much sideways. But yes, you can and should experiment with unusual angles for dramatic shots.
  • Click and click. Digital cameras give you the option to keep clicking, so click more than one shot even if you think one is enough. You always have the option to use the best shot and delete all others. When taking a selfie on the move or when an extra-ordinary happening prompts you to have a quick selfie, click in quick succession so that you do not miss the desired action. 
  • You can touch up the selfie if it is required, especially to crop unnecessary details and to improve lighting and colours. For this, you can use an ordinary software or web-service or the software available in the camera / phone. But avoid touching up beyond that. Sometimes, in-built filters such as sepia or flare effects add drama to the selfie but generally avoid them.
*: Oxford Dictionary definition of selfie: a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website
In the second post of this 2-part series on selfies for blogs, we discuss do's and don'ts for creating the best selfies and putting them on blogs. The post will come out at 9:00 am tomorrow, i.e. on 25th May, 2014.