The past few months have been anything but “Instagram-worthy.” Social distancing has seen me settle into bike shorts and sweatshirts on a daily basis, working and learning from home (or more specifically, my bed), and sitting confidently on the couch with overgrown eyebrows and permanent bedhead. Although I’ve let go a bit since mid-March, every now and then I feel a sudden urge to play dress up and build my makeup skills. On those few days where I have enough energy to put on lashes and curl a few strands of hair, a simple mirror picture isn’t enough to document the immense effort it took to completely change my image and revert back to the Simi I was when 2020 started. Without the backdrop of New York City and the help of friends to capture my best looks, I’ve resorted to taking my own photographs, something I regretfully haven’t done since high school. Now that my photography (and editing) skills have improved greatly, acting as the creative director of my own personal photoshoots has become a fun and exciting pastime for me, pulling me away from the wonders of Netflix and the brain-melting task of conducting research for my senior thesis. Here are some tips I’ve compiled for taking your best self-portraits from the comfort of your home.

  1. Make self-timer your best friend

Perhaps the most essential aspect of a killer self-portrait is the wonderful self-timer tool. Whether you’re using a cell phone or a DSLR, those ten seconds can make or break an image. For best results, place an object where you plan to stand and look through the viewfinder to see how you should position yourself to create the image you have in mind and adjust accordingly.

2. Invest in a bluetooth remote

For nearly all of my photos, I use a remote to cut down on time between releasing the shutter and positioning myself in front of the camera. DSLR cameras and phones use specific remotes that can be purchased online at any photo store or on Amazon.

3. Find the best lighting

Sunny days usually make for the best lighting, but if the clouds are particularly present one day, no need to worry. Make sure you’re facing the light source and attempt to bring as much light into the image as possible, whether that means moving things out of the way or opening the curtains.

4. Have fun with the editing process

Photoshop and Lightroom are my go-to’s when it comes to editing photos, but for quick mobile editing, unique effects, or when I truly just can’t be bothered I turn to a select few apps on my phone. My mainstays are VSCO, which I’ve been using to edit since before I can even remember, and Prequel, which offers the best collection of whacky light leaks, camera effects, and overlays.

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