Celebrity photographer Leslie Hassler dishes on her fave tricks for landing the perfect shot the first time every time.
I prefer late afternoon because the light is softer and more flattering. Any time the sun is too bright, you’re going to get shadows on the face that aren’t as flattering as softer light because it’s more even. Keeping the sun in front of you will create a nice, bright glow on the face. I also like having it behind you when you want an artsy shot. Sometimes I’ll purposely shoot myself with the sun behind me so you can see the sun rays in the background, but my face is almost dark. That can be an artistic choice if you’re not looking for your face to be really lit.
When shooting indoors, positioning yourself near a window is really beautiful. You can also make an artistic choice by putting a candle near you or behind you to create effects from the glow. Sometimes it’s as simple as walking around with your camera positioned in front of your face to see what looks good. Most people take a few shots before they find the one they love anyway. Just do it with your camera at different angles.
Being shot from above is definitely the best angle in order to avoid the double-chin situation. Also, everyone has a better side to their face so if I’m shooting a selfie, I only shoot from that side. If I’m shooting a celebrity, I’ll ask them what their favorite side is. Most people know. If you don’t, just shoot both sides and look at each one. Pick what you think is your best side and always shoot that one from above.
I like selfies to be witty and fun because that’s the point in a way to be whimsical. Looking off to the side is always cute, being playful, smiling and I love kissing shots. If you’re in an amazing location like Hawaii and you love the background of crashing waves, that’s a great moment to do a selfie where you’re kissing because you’ll have that memory forever. It’s more about capturing the moment versus a pose.
If I’m somewhere that I wish others were with me, instead of just taking a selfie, say I’m hiking Runyon Canyon, and I want to send a photo of myself to my son in New York, I won’t just take a selfie. I’ll set my camera on a fence or prop it on a rock and then stand a few feet away and set my timer for 10 seconds. I’ll quickly do a fun pose, like a Tree Pose or something cool where you can see all of LA behind me so by the time the camera fires, I’m in position. Hardly anyone remembers they can set the self-timer on their camera phone but it’s a great way to get a better shot.
In terms of energy, you don’t want to try to look sexy or be too self-aware because a good selfie is romantic or fun or humorous but not self-indulgent. You don’t want to come across as narcissistic. But you do want to show the people you love where you are and what you’re about.