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Know thy selfie: How to take the perfect travel selfie

The Oxford Dictionary defines a selfie as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media,” and it elaborates with the following example: “Occasional selfies are acceptable, but posting a new picture of yourself everyday isn’t necessary.”

Let’s face it (no pun intended), few things are really necessary in life, and we think that there are exceptions to every rule – great hair days, eyebrows on fleek, or one of these days where everything goes according to plan – they’re all great opportunities to take a selfie or three. (So is brunch, especially when there is an avocado involved.) However, let’s not forget our favorite time to take the selfie game to the next level: traveling. It’s like sending happy postcards to friends, and who doesn’t like happy postcards? That’s right, everyone does. So before you fill your phone’s memory with your face, check out our six favorite tips for a strong selfie game.

1. The arms

Selfie rule number one: Try not to get your arms in the shot, even if that means that they are awkwardly placed. Work with angles or use the cropping feature.

2. The face

Next up: the face. While sunglasses are cool, don’t take every selfie with shades. I’m sure you have pretty eyes, so own it. As former supermodel Tyra Banks taught us on the popular American TV Show America’s Next Top Model, you have to learn how to “smize” – smile with your eyes. Also, be natural: Forget the pout, duckface, or fish gap – just smile like no camera is watching! People are just better looking when they smile, and you’re traveling, so what’s there not to smile about?

3. The backdrop

While you may have found the perfect lighting with a nearby street lamp, having a garbage dumpster behind you isn’t so great. Show off that stunning Californian sunset or the brilliant South African beach. Choosing the ideal backdrop is also the key to getting more likes. (And let’s face it, posting an image is kind of always about likes, no matter how much you try to to detach your self-worth from it.) People might get tired of your face, but if you have a kangaroo or the Sydney Opera House to go with it, everyone will be like, “OMG! So cool!” as they proceed to like away.

4. Snap first, edit later

Few people will admit it, but behind every good selfie are usually quite a few bad pictures that didn’t make the cut: Even the most experienced selfie-taker sometimes has the eyes closed or a dumpster visible in the background. Therefore: Try different angles and snap like it’s your job – then edit, filter, and hashtag later. Just don’t leak your camera roll to anyone and all is good.

5. The equipment

Personally, I always go for smartphone-only, but gadgets, like a GoPro with a fisheye lens for a more panoramic view, or accessories, such as catlight clips that will brighten up your photo, can be helpful or just plain fun. A DSLR camera offers great quality and can make you look like you have street cred, but the lens might also hinder you from catching that amazing backdrop or your actual face in all its selfie glory. Plus, they’re overall more cumbersome to travel with.

Now, I know it feels like I have left out the selfie sticks: They can be convenient, but unless you and/or all of your friends have extremely short arms (I’m talking T-Rex status), don’t use them. Selfie sticks are banned in a lot of places, and they just look ridiculous.

6. Group selfies

If you’re not traveling alone, I recommend taking group selfies for a variety of reasons: A) It’s nice to show whom you’re traveling with. B) It shows the other people that you’re not ashamed of their existence. C) You can always use the caption #squadgoals” while wondering why nobody has come up with a cooler word than group selfie. If you are in a group, make sure the most experienced selfie-taker is in charge. Hopefully, that’s also the person with the longest arm. (Basically, we all need a friend who can be our selfie stick.)

Check out our 50 destinations that are made for travel selfiesLearn More

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