Happy Monday to all of my Love, Me Photography media mommas! If you’ve been following this blog for a while, then you’ll remember our discussion about setting up an Instagram account. Now that you’ve passed our Intro to Instagram course, it’s time to move on to Intermediate Instagram: Selfies, Filters, and Hashtags. Enjoy today’s “lesson,” and leave a comment if you have any additional questions—I’ll be sure to answer them in future posts for those looking to pursue a Media Momma Masters Degree!
LEARNING THE LINGO
- Selfie (sell-fee): A picture you take of yourself, either out of necessity (no one else is around to capture that amazing view behind you), for fun (you’re rocking a red lip at The Eagles reunion concert), or fashion advice (“Can I wear this head-to-toe leopard print ensemble to brunch? Too much?”).
- Filter (fill-tur): A nearly miraculous virtual overlay that can be added to photos to give the appearance of flawless skin, a youthful glow, spotless kitchen, and other difficult-to-obtain, aesthetically-driven objectives.
- Hashtag (hash-tag): A method of labeling photos, akin to a virtual scrapbook and/or filing cabinet (again, see this post for details).
All finished with your crash-course vocab lesson? Great! Now let’s move on to real-world applications for this new terminology.
SNAPPING YOUR SELFIE
This is Monica. She pretty much makes this whole selfie thing look like a piece of cake. BTW, she’s totally a momma of four adult children and one of those women that makes getting older look amazing. She’s also a wonderful client, turned employee, turned best friend and she’s the one that makes sure you’re communicated with, that I get paid and that your portraits get delivered on time and looking perfect. Anyway, I’ll let her tell you exactly where she took this amazing selfie. Let’s just say, good light shows up in the most peculiar places.
There are three primary questions that are frequently raised concerning Le Selfie: 1. What is it? 2. How do I take it? 3. Who do I send it to? Since we’ve already covered the basics of Question 1, let’s jump right in to a step-by-step tutorial.
Step 1: Apply makeup and style hair. Stick with your standard look to avoid looking overly-intentional about the whole thing.
Step 2: Practice your poses. Or in this case, your facial expressions. Glance off to the side and laugh for a carefree, toothpaste commercial -type vibe. Feeling serious? A closed mouth smile-smirk will work. Trying to get a laugh out of your teenager? Two words: “duck face.” (This is difficult to define, but if you’ve spent any amount of time on social media prior to this lesson, I think you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Basically a standard kissy face gone Kardashian.)
Step 3: Snap a picture (or five). Place your phone in your hand and extend your arm in front of you at an upward angle. Trust me on this…when a camera is held at the chin or below, not even a supermodel is going to be happy with the resulting photos. Steady your “shooting hand” by propping it under a stack of books or using the wall as a support. Tap the center of your phone screen once to bring the camera into focus, then click away!
Step 4: Filter your favorite. Okay, so maybe your first three selfie attempts were total busts. But that fourth shot? Vogue: The Mom Edition worthy. If you feel ready to share your selfie with the world, upload your picture directly to Instagram and experiment with the different filters available on the app—you’ll find them by pressing the icon that looks like a sparkling magic wand. Fitting, right? A few suggestions: Valencia provides a soft, warm glow, while Inkwell provides a beautiful black and white finish. If you’re going for a natural look, keep in mind that you can adjust the strength of each filter. Simply double click on your selection, and a slider will pop up. Drag the slider up and down until you achieve the coloration and style that makes your photo really pop. If you’re ready to edit your selfie but not quite ready to post, you can adjust your photo using apps such as VSCOcam or Camera+, or my personal favorite, Afterlight, all of which are available for download in the App Store.
Step 5: Add a hashtag. A hashtag is a filing system of sorts that can be used on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Think of the pound sign (#) as your folder, and the name that follows (momselfie) as that folder’s label. Put it all together—i.e., #momselfie—and you’ve got a virtual “storage unit” for each and every one of your beautiful, perfectly filtered selfies of the past, present, and future!
So, now that you can speak social media as a second language and understand the basics of taking a selfie, only one question remains: Who do I send my selfie to? That’s a personal decision, of course, but I’ve put together a few (not-so-serious) suggestions for you, anyway.
- Your husband. He is SO lucky. Remind him by sending him a text with your selfie attached.
- Your kids. Because whether or not they’ll admit it, they’re totally going to miss seeing your face when they’re in college.
- Your hairdresser. “Is it time for a trim? Is this a gray hair?” You get the picture, and so will they when you send them your selfie.
The graduating class of 1980-something. You’ve still got it, girl. Post your selfie to your high school’s Facebook page and show them what forty-and-fabulous really means.
And for good measure, here are some recent selfie attempts by yours truly. I always feel a little odd about the whole thing, so I usually sport a not-so-serious face and accompany it with a humbling story to divert the attention away from the fact that I really want to show off that I got dressed and brushed my hair for the day.