8 Celebs School Us on the Perfect Outdoor Selfie

Shannon Farrell

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No matter how experienced you are with the art of the perfect selfie, there’s no denying that direct sunlight poses a new problem. Should you pose in the shade or embrace the great outdoors and direct your lens into the sun? Then there’s the problem of makeup. Will the sun wash out your complexion? Never fear, summer babes, the outdoor selfie isn’t impossible—and we’ve got the proof on Instagram. Look to your favorite celeb and guaranteed, she’s mastered it. And now you can too. Follow these expert-approved tips for your next outdoor shoot—whether you’re at a music festival or spending the afternoon at the park with the pup.

1. Watch Your Light.


Before you pose, make sure the sun is behind you. “Sun shining directly at your face adds shadows and gives your selfie a washed out look,” says Casey Klein, a photographer and retoucher for Klein Captured Photography, “and it can even cause you to squint and wrinkle your face.” Not a good look. Proof that it works: Taylor Swift. See how she creates almost a halo around her face with the light.

2. Throwing Shade.

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A post shared by Anna Kendrick (@annakendrick47) on

Shade sets a different mood for your selfie, says Klein, so feel free to play with your positioning. You can always brighten the image with a filter after. Anna Kendrick does this beautifully, keeping her face in the shade and the light focused on the landscape behind her.

3. Know Your Angles.


Hold the camera just slightly above your head. “Shooting down makes you raise your chin slightly, which is thinning and more flattering,” says photographer Dan Cumberland. It can also create a beautiful sun flare from behind, adds Klein. Nikki Reed and her friends show us how it’s done.

4. Try, Try Again.

Almost nobody is perfectly photogenic on the first try; it takes a lot of practice to find which poses and angles are the best for your face. “Don’t be afraid to try new angles and expressions to mix up your images,” says Klein. “You can take a ton of photos using your phone’s burst feature and record subtle movements to help you determine your best angles.” Who would have thought that a photo taken from above, neck tilted back, would look so cute? Lindsay Ellingson tried until she discovered it!

5. Be Smart With Makeup.

When choosing makeup, the only thing makeup artist Sandra Downie, and the founder of Sandra Downie Beauty, warns against is makeup with SPF. “If it’s already in your moisturizer or foundation, you can cause a double glare from the zinc that’s prevalent in many sunscreens.” Instead, she recommends applying a SPF powder, such as Brush On Block ($30) to give you sun protection without the fear of flashback. You can also do what Nina Dobrev does and protect yourself from the sun with a chic giant hat!

6. Keep it Natural.

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When it comes to natural lighting, natural, barely-there, makeup is your best bet. “Darker makeup, especially around the eyes, can look harsh as the sun moves throughout the day and can cause shadows in places you may not desire them to be,” says Downie. Let us all look to Jourdan Dunn to see how the natural look is really done.

7. Highlight!

Ensure a dewy complexion over a greasy one with a touch of highlighter along the cheekbones, forehead, chin and bridge of the nose. “This especially looks good when you face the sun and tilt your head at an angle,” says Downie. “This results in a dewy, soft and romantic-looking photo.” Lucy Hale shows us the power of a gorgeously highlighted face; she literally looks lit from within.

8. #iwokeuplikethis


And when in doubt, don’t be afraid to go makeup-free like Demi Lovato. #nomakeupselfie #nofilter

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