Go to your camera roll right now. Scroll the short distance to the last time you were taking selfies. Now pause to observe. Chances are, you banked somewhere between five and 450,000 shots until you got the right one. We all do it. That's because nailing the perfect selfie isn't easy—it's about the right combination of light, angle, setting, and photo filters.
It sounds obvious, but the first rule of selfie-ing is to pay attention to your lighting. You need good lighting. "Light is undoubtedly the best beauty product you don't have to pay for." Instead of facing your computer screen or television, turn toward a window with natural light. Or better yet, go outside and bask in the sun's glow (with sunscreen on). Good lighting can actually make under-eye circles and shadows totally disappear.
"There is nothing worse than having a huge shadow cast over your face," says photographer and style blogger Candice Lake. "When in doubt, face directly into or away from the sun. If it's the middle of the day and the sun is high, the shadows can look like bags under your eyes. The golden hour to shoot a photo is during sunrise or sunset, when the light is low and the most beautiful."
"I have a soft spot for the Valencia [Instagram] filter. It's the dreamiest of all filters and it makes everyone look gorgeous," says Lake, who also recommends the Afterlight app for editing camera-phone photos. If you're really serious about selfies, Phan recommends the Samsung Galaxy S5 phone, which has a selfie mode. "It makes everything easy. I take a picture and it automatically airbrushes my face and it brightens it," she says. There's no shame in editing a photo of yourself before posting it to the 'Gram. We also love Facetune, which lets you subtly blur, shape, morph, and define certain areas of your face. Blogger Amanda Steele likes the filters on VSCO, but other great apps are Perfect365 and Adobe Photoshop Fix. Don't like your under-eye bags? Blur them away! Want to whiten your teeth? Go for it. A subtle trick on Facetune is to "detail" your eyes, which makes them look bright and sparkly. What's on the Internet lives forever, after all.