perfect iPhone selfie

How to take the perfect iPhone selfie (get ready to smize)

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  • From the flattering lighting to choosing the right editing app, here's how to nail that perfect iPhone selfie and upgrade your Insta feed

    Words by Imani Cottrell

    We are currently in the midst of Peak Selfie, but open anyone’s camera roll and you’ll find plenty of photos that didn’t make the cut… you know the ones, where the lighting was off, or, horror of horrors, you had your eyes closed. To avoid #selfiemeltdown, we’ve come up with these easy tips so you can say bye-bye red eye and nail your perfect iPhone selfie the first time, every time. And yes, we tried out every tip on the new iPhone X thanks to our friends at Vodafone, so we know what we’re talking about…

    iPhone XS: Find out all you need to know about Apple’s newest iPhone here.

    perfect iPhone selfie

    The master at work…

    How to start your perfect iPhone selfie

    Basic setup

    One of the most important steps with any photo is getting your basic setup right, but luckily the iPhone makes this quick and easy. If you want to highlight anything in the foreground all you have to do is double tap the object and a yellow box will appear, focusing this part of the photo. To adjust the brightness simply drag the yellow sun that appears next to the box up or down.


    Getting the flash wrong has ruined many a photo. So to prevent that deer in headlights look, take your flash off automatic and control it manually. To change the settings the lightening bolt in the upper left corner and just select you preferred setting.

    Live photos

    A cross between a photo and video, live photos literally make a photo come alive. If you press down on your still photo it shows you several seconds of movement before and after the photo was taken. To turn this on or off click the multi-rimmed circle in the upper centre of your camera frame. When highlighted yellow it’s on.

    What is portrait mode?

    One of the newer iPhone features (hai iPhone X!) is portrait mode. This feature was made for taking the perfect iPhone selfie and we’re massive fans. It takes high quality clear photos of the person you’re photographing while blurring the background.

    To start open the camera app and swipe to portrait mode. Now look for the yellow portrait box. The great thing about this is that the camera app gives you tips in real time, so it will let you know if you’re too close, far away or too dark.

    For iPhone 8 plus and X users, you have the added bonus of extra lighting settings. By using the dial at the bottom of the frame you can choose between four different settings, studio light, contour light, stage light, and stage mono.

    Find out more: Apple’s new affordable iPhone XR.

    Let’s talk about lighting

    This can easily make or break a photo, so let us help you get it right.

    Taking photos outdoors is great because natural lightning is always best. But watch out for bright mid-day sun that causes harsh unflattering shadows. The best time of day and our favourite time for selfies is known as the ‘golden hour’ the hour right before sunset where the lighting is soft. No filter needed this light will make look g.

    Finishing touches

    Now you’ve taken your selfie it’s time for the finishing touches. When editing your photos these iPhone apps are some of the ones we love best. Apiary, Snapseed and VSCO are great choices and all free from the Apple store. The Facetune app is the common culprit in those ‘Celebrity Instagram fails’ that are constantly circulating.

    A firm favourite amongst celebrities, it may not be free but is super user friendly and makes it easy to manipulate photos. Just be careful to not go overboard and give yourself a third leg!

    Now you’ve got your perfect selfie, watch those likes rack and up and thanks us later.

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