A Photographer Evaluated My Selfies—Here Are My Mistakes



It wasn't all that long ago that the word selfie entered our lexicon. But in the Instagram era, it's hard to scroll through your feed without a close-up shot of someone's face or outfit.

These shots may seem especially spur-of-the-moment, but nailing the details (lighting, background, and pose) are all crucial parts of creating the perfect selfie. And while there's no wrong way to snap yourself, technically speaking, there are always those technical elements to keep in mind.

So what are the mistakes we often make? I tapped the ever-inspiring and cool photographer Tory Rust to offer up some tips. While Rust admittedly doesn't "personally take many selfies," she has an eye for what makes a photo pop.

Below, Rust took a look at a few of my personal selfies (no shame in playing guinea pig here) and offered up a few tips that we can all apply to our next selfie endeavoring.

Read on for Tory's three tips for upping your selfie game, and then shop items begging for a feature on your Instagram!

#1: Get Outdoors, But Know Your Angles

Location: A+ Love the contrast between the sunny day and the gritty wall!

Lighting: B- Here's a pro tip: Tilt your head up more toward the sun to decrease or eliminate the shadows from your sunglasses.

These are bound to make your selfie shine. 

You could wear these with literally everything. 

We love the subtle pinstripes. 

Available in sizes M to L. 

Your everyday denim. 

Available in sizes 24 to 32. 

The ruffle sleeves are oh so pretty. 

Available in sizes X to 4X. 

#2: Find Sneaky Ways to Clean Up the Background

Location: A- You get a great sense of where you are and what you're up to! Great storytelling!

Lighting/Composition: B+ That glow in the upper left hand is not ideal. Try taking the picture at a diagonal from the mirror and see if you can crop out that light! Also, that lady's head is kind of distracting. See if you can find a moment when she's not there!

The sophisticated way to wear a denim skirt. 

Available in sizes 24 to 31. 

You've got to wear this on your next summer date night. 

Available in sizes 14 to 22. 

Wear this over vintage denim for a casual-cool look. 

Available in sizes M.

Pair these with crisp, wide-leg trousers for a day at the office. 

Available in sizes 38 to 41.

A straw bag would look so cute with this.

Available in sizes XS to L. 

#3: Find Ways to Add Intrigue

Lighting: A- Sometimes it can be hard to find even, soft lighting indoors. Yay, you did it!

Composition: B- I love that you chopped part of your head off—it definitely draws more attention to the track pants! But that chair doesn't really give us any new information. Here's a pro tip: You have two options: 1. Eliminate the chair by centering yourself or 2. Use that chair. Throw your bag, your dog, your pizza on it. Extra points if it is red, tying into those track pants!

A linen tee would look so pretty with this. 

Available in sizes DK34 to DK42. 

White wide-leg denim would go perfectly with this one-shoulder top. 

Available in sizes 14 to 28. 

Perfect when paired with your favorite high-waisted denim. 

Available in sizes 0 to 3. 

Strappy sandals at their finest.

Available in sizes 36 to 41.

Pair with sneakers for a mellow Saturday or strappy heels for a summer wedding. 

Available in sizes IT36 to IT44. 

Want more? Here's what fashion bloggers had to say about my Instagram!

This post has been updated by Aemilia Madden