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6 expert photography tips for people who hate taking selfies
Travel Advice

6 expert photography tips for people who hate taking selfies

Sarah-Kate Lynch taking selfie while holding multiple cameras

PHOTO BY ROBERT TRATHEN

How not to take a selfie – Sarah-Kate Lynch gives you the benefit of her doubts. She rounds up a few things to keep in mind when shooting your shot.

After decades as a travel writer, you’d think I’d have mastered the art of selfie-taking but, alas, to this day it eludes me. And I don’t mind.

I’m not saying that selfies are the work of the devil but the day I realised they were
a thing is etched firmly in a part of my mind I don’t really like visiting. Like Las Vegas.

On the occasion in question, we were in Venice aboard a vaporetto on the Grand Canal. The light was divine, the Bellinis were calling and then I saw it – the Bridge of Sighs. This little enclosed limestone bridge connects the Doge’s Palace on the famed San Marco Square with the prison across the Rio di Palazzo – so you don’t really have to think too hard about how it got its name.

But in this case, the sighs were all mine.

Why were so many tourists turned away from the bridge? And why were they holding up their phones? Had I happened upon a strange cult? Did they have eyes in the back of their heads? The truth was worse. The selfie had been born.

Some time later, I asked a passing young gent in a Hawaiian beachside restaurant to take a photo of me and my beloved with my trusty camera.

“Ooh,” he said, looking at it as if I’d just plucked it off Noah’s ark. “I’ve never used one of these before!”

Cameras definitely take better photos, for travel stories at least, but you can’t stop progress, so bearing in mind that I don’t like taking selfies and I’m not very good at them, here are my tips.

1. Don't bother

If you look on Insta, you’ll notice that the best “selfies” aren’t taken by the actual self in the photo. Britney does look amazing in that yoga pose but unless she’s grown invisible arms, someone else took the picture.

2. Shove it

I’m talking about the selfie stick, of course. They should be outlawed. I once nearly had to snap one over a very rude tourist’s head when she inserted said stick between my eyeballs and the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower.

3. Steady it

Scout photographer Jamie Wright has some real proper tips for iPhone selfies. Clean the screen and camera. Look at the camera lens, not yourself. Don’t reach out and press the circle – use the volume button to take the shot (who knew?), instead of the one on the screen.

4. Tidy it

The background’s just as important as your visage, especially when some of us like to zoom in and judge your slovenly housekeeping. Jamie suggests doing a 360-degree spin to work out the most flattering spot that lets your perfect pout do all the talking.

5. Delete it

For years, I kept an amusing gallery of accidental selfies taken of my neck and chin. Alarmingly, they were more focused than a lot of my other photos, but the neck and chin shot from below is rarely a woman’s best look and I now immediately bin anything that would frighten small children.

6. Forget it

Yes, there are ways to organise your digital photos. No, I will never have the time to do it. Anyway, the things you see while you’re looking for the photos you can’t find can really make a person’s day. So, happy snapping!

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