Selfies, schmelfies. This time, it’s the two of you; let’s call these welfies, shall we? Sometimes, a cell phone camera is the way to go (No schlepping around the digital SLR means more hands for holding piña coladas.) You know those people who always look like a commercial for good health and happiness with photos that are sofreakingperfect? (I know, I want to flick them, too.) That can be you! No matter if your goal is to spam the ‘gram, grab that perfect image for a holiday card or get shots to frame later(*), here are 7 straightforward tips you’ll want to read before you travel in twos again.
(*) Does anyone still print and frame photos??
- 1. Whose side are you on, anyway? Find your best side and stick to it, always. Make it a reflex. Left? Right? Straight on facing the camera? You may already know which one it is. Try it in the mirror, and you’ll see that you definitely prefer one over the other. Knowing this ahead of time makes it automatic when you run to capture that shot of the two of you in front of that million-dollar rainbow cracking down over Machu Picchu. Click. Got it.
- 2. Calm the f*@% down. Seriously, just relax. Don’t be too pose-y. No duckface, kay? That isn’t a good look on anyone and the Myspace era has left the building. Breathe and Smile- you’re with your favorite person! Be happy…or fake it. Maybe you look better with a closed mouth smile, oooh so mysterious like Mary-Kate and Ashley. Those big wide grins, though, that’s more my style, a bit of Julia Roberts and Rachel McAdams. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Knowing what works for you means you shine like a diamond.
- 3. Posture. Just like your mama told you. You know what looks bad? Hunched over rounded backs and shoulders do. You are not Quasimodo, so buck up butterbean and claim your space. Think of a string which pulls your spine up through the top of your head and then soften it slightly….ever so slightly. Keep your chin raised and put the tip of your tongue behind your top teeth: Trust me, it works some kind of magic on your double chin (or am I the only one with an extra helping there?)
- 4. Have an iPhone? Enable Live Photo, stat. Oh, live photo. It’s changed the game with cell phone snaps. A friend showed me a year or so ago how to edit the key photo and it has honestly been quasi life changing (don’t judge me.) There is so much opportunity with this one and it’s EASY, y’all. By creating a 3-second ‘recording’, (1.5 sec. before and 1.5 sec. after the live photo is captured) you’re able to choose which of those recorded frames you like the best and make that the photo. The one where your eyes are closed or when your microexpression says cuss words? Those can be dumped in two seconds flat. Learn more about this magic right here.
- 5. A tripod, small and packable. Asking strangers or thrusting out your one arm for photos is eventually going to get old. And inconvenient. And BORING. With a tripod, you’ll be able to get sharper, nonblurred, better framed photos that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to get with the hand-held-facing-backward-welfie procedure that we all know and love. Tripods range anywhere from $10 to well over $100, and you’ll get what you pay for. Think lightweight, compact, sturdy. If it’s too bulky, you won’t want to lug it around, and what’s the use in that? I like the ones that have a bluetooth shutter release, and grippy, bendy spider legs so I can attach it to a guard post, branch, or whatever else is there. Some are made specifically for particular phones; find one that works for you.
- 6. Lighting and filters. Natural light is best, and actually, a slightly overcast sky is absolute tops for great photos. Cloudy is kinder. Avoid standing with your back to the bright light i.e. sunsets and open windows, unless you want to be silhouetted- and sometimes you do! Otherwise, face the light. Avoid overhead fluorescents like the plague. Play around with your filters- there are so many. You can change the mood and add individuality. Oodles and oodles of filter apps are there for the using, so don’t just stick to the ones preloaded on your phone or on Instagram. I like VSCO (free), Snapseed (free), A Color Story (free) and Afterlight 2 (US $2.99) Are there any you’d recommend? We’d love to know your favorites.
- 7. Spying, stalking, peeping, surveilling. It’s just a little research. Look at what others have done photo-wise in the location you’re headed. Copycat those if you must (truly, some are too good to resist), but even better, use their photos to inspire you to create your own best welfies. Going to a resort? Follow them AND their hashtag on insta for inspiration not only for photos, but for under the radar things to do and see. When we were in the Maldives, we knew exactly which direction to head when we snorkled, because we’d been hashtag-stalking what other people did, and didn’t, do.
Tell me, Traveler. Do you take welfies? Do you have any tricks or tips to share with us? Has duckface had its’ day?