Perfecting The Art Of The Selfie Is A Science (Literally)

The lips slightly pucker, the head subtly turns, and the phone goes up — we all know the signs that someone is about to take a selfie. Nowadays, thanks to social media apps such as Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, we see people taking selfies everywhere we turn. Some even go as far as to use tools like the Facetune app or study countless hacks for better selfies in hopes of appearing more striking or earning more likes in the process. 

But it's not only the classic face-flaunting selfies that constantly pop up on our feeds. There's also the mirror selfie, the traditional selfie's mirror-loving, sometimes face-hiding, figure-showing cousin. After all, mirror selfies are excellent for showing off outfits or body transformations, unlike face-focused selfies, which are better for displaying your makeup or facial features. 

Thus, people often take mirror selfies to post on social media, send to friends for outfit advice, or upload to their dating app profiles. Believe it or not, more than 11 million posts popped up when we searched through the #mirrorselfie tag on Instagram, and we saw plenty on Pinterest, too. Luckily, we've got some advice to help your mirror selfie stand out among the rest.

Think about your outfit, background, and lighting

Before you take a mirror selfie, you should ask yourself why you want to take it at that particular moment, especially if you plan on posting it on social media or sending it to someone. For instance, many people take mirror selfies to show off their favorite outfits, so you should always consider what you'll be wearing in your mirror selfie. For instance, if you're wearing a striking night-out ensemble and want to get a picture of the look before you dance the night away, you should take a mirror selfie, and check that your entire outfit is featured in the picture, per PopSugar.

In addition to your outfit, you should consider what will be in the background of your mirror selfie before taking the picture. This step is crucial because even if you're wearing a killer fit, a messy or chaotic backdrop can be distracting and take the emphasis away from you. Therefore, clean, neat backgrounds typically lead to better content (via Facetune). 

Plus, lighting can make all the difference for any photograph. For example, natural light is famously flattering, which we believe is the reason why the outdoor mirror selfie trend dominated social media throughout 2020. While you don't need to go as far as to bring your mirrors outside again, incorporating some natural light into your solo photo session never hurts.

Use social media and celebrities as inspiration

Cosmopolitan noted that countless celebrities post stunning mirror selfies, so why not use your favorite star's mirror pics as inspiration? For instance, Dove Cameron is the queen of mirror selfies on Instagram. The singer and actor has posted plenty of examples and looks perfect every time, whether she's in costume, flaunting bold lipstick, or showing off her fun phone case in a casual outfit with messy-chic hair

Moreover, "Euphoria" breakout Sydney Sweeney posts tons of mirror selfies, too. Some examples include posing on a motorcycle in a sexy outfit, smiling alongside her "Euphoria co-star," Maude Apatow, and wearing a cozy-looking robe during glam. So, next time you want to take a mirror selfie, try looking at celebrities like Cameron and Sweeney for inspiration. Moreover, TikTok is a great place to look for pose ideas. 

For example, a TikTok user named Angie Adisa shared a plethora of mirror selfie poses to try, such as "Balance," which involves balancing on one leg, and "Squat," where you squat down for the picture. Another TikToker, Lizzie Kloehn, offered even more creative ideas, such as using your phone's front camera to take the pic for a picture-within-a-picture, kicking your shoe up against the mirror, and leaning in close to it. 

It's all about your angles

Capturing the perfect mirror selfie is truly an art form for the modern age — and it's one backed up by science, too. Psychologists have actually conducted studies on selfie poses to see what the general public prefers to see in these photos. One flattering trick is to tilt your face to the right, to feature your left side in the picture. 

For instance, in a study where participants had to rate the attractiveness of faces from different angles, and also rate the faces for factors such as intelligence level and helpfulness, the photos showcasing the left-hand side of the face were the clear winners. The same researchers also determined that the faces that looked the most attractive and helpful were from selfies where the cameras were lifted higher than the standard selfie level and rotated somewhat. 

So, the next time you want to set up a mirror selfie, consider leaning your face to the right to feature your best angles. Hold the camera a bit higher than you usually would, too, but always be sure to leave space to show off your outfit of the day, of course.