Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… digital self-portraits have become as commonplace as Kardashians in a world where we use images not words to describe how we’re feeling and what we’re doing. The difference between a good and bad shot lies in preparation and practice. Here are the top five tricks to making you selfie sensational.

The Background: What’s that behind you? Trees? A washing basket? Unpaid bills on the coffee table? Preparing the background of a your picture is just as important as preparing yourself. Look for a white wall in your house or garden that has nice even light or utilise the frame of a couch or chair. The simpler, cleaner and more neutral the backdrop the better the end result will be. The same principal applies to your clothes. This isn’t your moment for harlequin print or a Jackson Pollack-inspired dress. "Basic black, pale denim and crisp white look great in a photograph," says Penny McCarthy, fashion director of Sydney Magazine. "Try and show just a touch of skin with a scooped neckline or a singlet top as it will help add softness to a photo."

The Lighting: Use common sense when it comes to lighting. If the sun is high in the sky and you're squinting then that’s what you’ll see in the photo - a person squinting. “The best light is in the first and last two hours of the day,” says fashion photographer, Carlotta Moye. “Turning your back to the sun creates a halo style effect around your head which can be very flattering." Another trick is to use the fill-in flash function on your camera when you are outside during the day. It will fill in the shadows creating a clean, glowing light. "At night time shoot with a flash but make sure your make-up is a touch heavier. Try shooting with no flash sometimes - you'll be surprised how the shadows can work to your advantage," says Moye.

Photo finish: Kate Moss before and after filters.

Photo finish: Kate Moss before and after filters.

The Practice: This may feel awkward but the best way to become comfortable in front of the camera is to practice. Face the mirror and look at yourself from one side to the other, left to right. It will soon become obvious which profile is your best - your good side. Next test that side on film. Take multiple self-shots and watch how you look from frame to frame. “A three-quarter profile is universally flattering,” says Moye. “It tends to highlight the cheekbones and jaw line which will elongate the neck. Think about celebrities on the red carpet looking slightly over their shoulders - that's the angle you want. You can learn a lot about posing from celebrity's Instagram feeds. Check out the masters: Jennifer Hawkins, Kim Kardashian and Lara Bingle.

The Technique: "Holding the camera too low will enhance your chin and holding the camera too high will make you look like a lollipop and top heavy," says fashion photographer, Nicholas Samartis who has collaborated with beauty brand Clearasil on taking the perfect selfie. "Try holding the camera 90 to 100 degrees away from your face - this is the optimum angle!" The mirror can be a a useful tool when you want to take a shot of your outfit. Simply take a photo of your reflection. Another no-brainer: never be shot from below. It adds chins, kilos and unicorns.

The Confidence: Some of the best photographs are when the subject is caught off guard. The best selfies have that same kind of genuine feeling. "Wear a warm smile," says Samartis. "It may sound counter-intuitive, but smile through your eyes more than your mouth. Try recalling a favourite memory - it works." The other secret to confidence is make-up. Even supermodels look better with a touch of foundation, mascara and some lip gloss.

Kim Kardashian. Click for more photos

Selfies stars

Kim Kardashian.

The Wonderful World Of Filters

The smart phone is a selfies best friend. There’s not much you can’t do with the download of a good photo App. We took a rather pedestrian snap of Kate Moss and used the magic of filters to remove her husband and the lady in the background, minimise shine on her face and add warmth and glow to the light. Repeat after me: everything looks better with a filter. If that fails? Convert the shot to black and white.

Best Apps: PhotoToaster, Instagram, Facebook (new features on photo upload are great), CrossProcess, Pixlr O'Matic and Photoshop

Eva Longoria

Eva Longoria

Best Filters: Lo-Fi, X-Pro, Amaro, Mayfair, Valenica and Inkwell.

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