Ah, the selfie. In the world of Instagram and double-heart taps, knowing how to take the perfect selfie is as valuable as a high SAT score on a college application. Your selfie-taking knowledge is your currency, and the more savvy you are, the richer you’ll be in Insta likes. But don’t fret if you haven’t mastered the front-facing self-portrait yet. Even selfie experts like Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, and Emily Ratajkowski had to start somewhere.
To speed up the process, we rounded up 15 foolproof selfie tips from Instagram-favorite stars like Rihanna, Miranda Kerr, and Bella Thorne, who clearly know what they’re doing. There’s a science to every selfie and these celebs are here to spill that formula. From the genius way to thin out your neck to how to make your lips look more plump, peep at these celebrity-approved selfie tips, ahead.
Light Up Your Face If You're Using a Low Angle
Standing tall at 5'11, Laverne Cox is all about showing off her legs. To do so, she recommends holding your phone down and pointing the camera up. Though, she warns of looking like you have a double chin, which can easily be avoided by making sure that the light (natural is best) is shining on your face. Crisis averted!
"For full body, if you have long legs, a low angle will make them look great! Make sure your face is in the light, though, so you don’t get bunch of chins," Cox told Us Weekly.
Zero In on a Statement Detail
To ensure the perfect selfie, Olivia Culpo recommends zeroing in on a statement detail—whether that be a lip color (as seen here), a handbag, scenery—so that viewers have something for their eyes to immediately go toward.
“Zero in on exactly what you want your audience to see.” Culpo told Us Weekly. “Whether it’s the shoe, the color, the trend, the handbag or the scenery, you have to make sure the picture captures that,” adding,
Crop Out Parts You Don't Want People to See
Given that she has a book consisting of just her selfies, Selfish, Kim Kardashian knows a thing or two about taking a picture. In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, the reality star spilled on an easy tip to get rid of unwanted and unflattering body parts: crop them out. You don't always need to think of the full picture—if there's only one part you like, crop it to just that.
"A lot has to do with how your crop it," Kardashian said. "If you don't like something on your body, you just crop it."
Pout to Make Your Lips Look Bigger
Kylie Has been open about how her lips are a result of fillers and brilliant lip liners, but in pictures, she also has a secret method to make them look more plump than usual. On a post on her website titled, "My Secrets to Taking the Perfect Selfie," the reality star revealed that she pouts before every picture to make her lips look fuller and more luscious. Her signature pout is kind of hard to explain, so you'll need to click the link to see it in action.
Tilt Your Head to Make Your Neck Look Less Thick
Because nobody wants an abnormally thick-looking neck, Alessandra Ambrosio came up with this clever hack to avoid the selfie faux pas. Instead of looking straight-on, she recommends tilting your phone and neck at the same angle to ensure that your neck looks slim and flattering.
"I like to tilt my head kind of with my phone because if you do it straight, it looks like your neck is too thick with the face," she told W magazine. "So a little bit to the side so you can see a little bit of the chin."
Don't Forget the Non-Front-Facing Camera
Though Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is a huge fan of the front-facing features of phone cameras, she advises not to forget about the other camera, especially if you have long arms. In an interview with W, Huntington-Whiteley recommended taking a few selfies with the non-selfie camera (even if you can't see yourself), which makes sense considering it's been known to be higher quality.
"If you've got extra long arms, you can shoot it this way and press the volume button so it shoots the picture, just so you know," she said.
If You Have a Big Head, Go Low
Bella Thorne warns against the high-angle-above-your-head selfie pose, which calls the "MySpace angle." For her, the pose gives her a "big head" and enlarges features wants to minimize, such as her nose. To avoid this, she recommends going low.
"You can see that all of my selfies end up being from below, like a lower angle. I don’t believe in the high angle above your head. We call it the MySpace angle, just because it makes your head look so big compared to your body," Thorne told PopSugar. "My angle is definitely just the tip of the nose, it shows the lip shape just perfectly."
Spin Around in a Circle Until You Find Your Best Lighting
Jennifer Lopez has a clever hack for picking the best lighting at all times. Before setting up to take a selfie, the actress spins around in a circle to make sure she knows all her lighting options and can choose the most flattering one. "Turn around in a circle until you find the best lighting before taking your photo," she told Who What Wear.
Look Up at the Camera to Soften Your Features
If you want to soften your features, Miranda Kerr recommends looking up at the camera. Though some celebrities on this list might disagree (ahem, Bella Thorne), the model swears that aiming your phone sky-high will allow your features to look more delicate than if your camera was low or straight-on.
"I always take photos looking up at the camera," Kerr told Yahoo. "It softens your features and is the best angle for the light."
Turn 3/4 Away from the Camera to Look Smaller
Jamie Chung has tons of selfie tips, but one she swears by for full-body pictures is to turn your body three-quarters away from the camera to make your waist look smaller. She told Us Weekly that Emily Ratajkowski has the tip down pat.
Make Sure the Light Hits What You Want People to See
According to Rihanna, you want to highlight the best parts of your picture with, well, light. And good lighting isn't just for your face. For sexier selfies, the singer recommends shining light on your cleavage to make your boobs really stand out.
"Get a good light. Get a good angle on what's working for you that day," she told Complex. "If it's boobs, make sure you hit that. If it's face, make sure it's fierce."
There's No Shame in Taking 5,000 Photos
Don't be embarrassed to take 5,000 photos (yes—5,000 photos) until you find the right one, says Shay Mitchell. The "Pretty Little Liars" star believes it's perfectly normal to take a crap ton of pictures before you find an Instagrammable selfie. Plus, it's good practice.
“I’m not even joking. My friends who have taken photos of me know that it takes an entire camera roll full of photos, and hopefully, fingers crossed, there will be one that I like,” she told Gotham.
Take Selfies When You Feel Confident
If you feel good, you look good. That's Emily Ratajkowski's mantra. In an interview with ELLE, the model recommended taking selfies when you're feeling your most confident. Of course, all of us have bad days when you're feeling (and maybe looking) like utter crap. For those days, Ratajkowski recommends putting the phone down and waiting until your mood brightens up because how you're feeling really does translate to the camera.
"I know everyone hates when I say this, they think it's a cliché, but if you don't feel good in the bathing suit you're not going to look good," Ratajkowski said. "Confidence is really important. For example, my mom in that Instagram: She just turned 64 that day that I posted that. You know, it takes a lot of a 64-year-old to wear a two piece, but she felt comfortable and really good so the picture wasn't this overly self-conscious thing."
Pose in an S Shape to Flatter Your Body
For Ashley Graham, the best possible pose you can move your body into is an S shape, which she touts if you want to highlight your curves and flatter your body. Being comfortable is also a top tip of hers.
"Make sure you’re in a comfortable position," Graham told SELF. "I like to sometimes stretch out on a bed, and hold the camera literally right above me to enhance all of my curves. l also like to do a pose where I lay on my side and just turn my shoulders towards the camera to create an ‘s’ with my waist."
Use Different Lightings for Different Moods
Good lighting is something that likely every star recommends, but the tone of the lighting can totally shape the mood of your picture. In an interview with Bustle, model and "Life of Kylie" star Jordyn Woods recommended a broader light for a more natural glow, and a more narrow light (like on overcast days) if you're going for a more moody or dramatic picture. "The selfie is all about the lighting," Woods said.