There’s a definite art to photographing one’s self, but most people don’t have a clue how to take selfies. Not that this stops them.
Scratch the surface of Instagram and, you’ll inevitably see endless streams of sad, artless, “please, please like me”, photos. Teenagers post these for sure, but it’s also (gasp) grown men and women. It’s the digital equivalent of junk pottery shards that future archaeologists will be forced to sort through and decide whether to keep or discard.
There’s got to be another name for those photos. Narcisselfies?
I’m fascinated, and baffled. I cannot decide if there is a worldwide narcissism epidemic, or if people are just emulating each other and creating a super boring hall of mirrors effect.
Yawn-worthy in solo, narcisselfies become disturbing in bulk. For me, that’s more than 4 in any block of 9 photos in an instagram feed. I don’t know why 4 is my number, but it is.
What qualifies as a narcisselfie?
Behold the Narcisselfie:
- The photography is either bad to mediocre (self shot) or way too good (professional or talented friend shot some “good pics” for them and then retouched the crap out of those photos).
- Backgrounds/locations are generic or suck – a bathroom mirror, a bedroom, the front seat of the car…. nothing too interesting to distract from the subject.
- The subject’s expression is usually blank/bored or posed in a duckface or other well practiced “selfie smile.”
- Sometimes, there’s a peek of cleavage or some washboard abs for sizzle. This is tragic in younger teens. In adolescents and adults, it might indicate a recent breakup, or that their last photo did not get enough likes.
Likes are addictive and selfie junkies need fixes. Hell, we all want likes. No judgement there.
But there’s a better way, kids. Stop what you are doing. Stop it right now. And by stop it, I actually don’t mean stop taking photos of yourself. I mean start taking BETTER photos of yourself.
Not only will you cease annoying your parents, friends and the rest of the sane world, you will actually get more likes and praise. And the additional good news is you can fill your entire feed with nothing but selfies if you so choose. Without fear of being called a narcissist.
Just remember that social media is a two way street. When you are looking for something in return (likes) it’s best to offer something of value.
Selfie tip #1: Be your own work of art:
“Wouldn’t I love, love to explore the shore up above? Out of the sea, wish I could be part of your world.” 🌊🐚🚢⚓ Ariel the mermaid. Requested by @cmzay #ariel #thelittlemermaid #princessariel #disneyprincess #disneygram #disneyside #fantasymakeup #mermaid #mermaidmakeup #halloweenmakeup #hijabi #hijabista #muamalaysia #malaysianmakeupartist
Say you are into Disney princesses. Or princes. Why not dedicate your photo feed to taking photos of yourself decked out as different Disney characters? Put a little effort and industry into it and aim for decent shots with good lighting. Write something about your inspiration in the caption.
It doesn’t have to be Disney. It could be characters from novels or yourself as you in different historical eras. It could be anything you are into. The point is that now you have a theme, and a reason for taking selfies and you are not just fishing for compliments, you are making art, and entertaining.
Inspiration: Queen of Luna on Instagram
Selfie tip #2: Get a theme/meme:
A photo posted by Murad Osmann (@muradosmann) on
If you are not so into the idea of transforming yourself and costume-ry, grab yourself a signature pose and switch up your locations. Find as many cool places and spaces as possible to strike that signature pose. The more outrageous the location the better. Just be sure to pick something unique and distinctive to you, and stick with it.
People will look forward to your next post. These sorts of personal memes are very entertaining!
Inspiration: Murad Osmann on Instagram
Selfie tip #3: Teach Something, and/or Accessorize Yourself
Are you into make-up? Hairstyles? Hats? Sunglasses? Jewelry, scarves or barrettes? Because if you are, and especially if you have a knack for styling, you could be providing a valuable service PLUS an interesting feed that is comprised of… photos of you.
Think “daily scarf tutorial” or 1001 ways to wear braids. Do a daily study of your mustache. Switch up your shades. The important thing is to pick one thing, and then make that thing your own.
People will thank you for sharing your expertise. There are also services that allow you to profit from items found and purchased via your instagram feed so the kicker here is that you could end up make money off taking selfies!
Inspiration: Cute Girls Hairstyles on Instagram
Selfie tip #4: Be the emoji
Everyone loves emojis, right? They say so much with so little.
This selfie taking tip involves taking photos that are the antithesis of the narcisselfie in the emotional department. The goal here is to take candid (or candid looking) photos of your face displaying a wide range of emotions. Tie the emotions to what’s going on in your life.
Were you recently surprised by a surprise birthday party? Re-enact your expression, and then write about it. Lose your puppy? Show us how that felt. Score a really great deal on ebay? You know what to shoot.
The important note is that your expressions have a context, and tell a quick story that we can all relate to. Humans are drawn to drama and stories and emotional images pack a more powerful punch than soul-less ones.
Do share your daily ups and downs but don’t just post an endless stream of random expressions and facial filters. Or if you must, keep that stuff on Snapchat.
Inspiration: Search #funnyfaces on Instagram
Selfie Tip #5 Make your words count
A photo posted by ✨🍭ISABEL HENDRIX🍭✨ (@isabel_hendrix) on
Perhaps you are too lazy to attempt to pull off tips #1-4. You’re used to taking predictable narcisselfies and you’re unwilling to give it up. There’s still one thing you can do to pull your image out of the toilet (but please, if you are still taking photos in the bathroom, stop!)
Use your words. Tell a story. Make it about more than just you. Or make it REALLY about you, not some tense and airbrushed, flexed and posed version. What makes you tick? What do you love and hate about yourself? What would you change? What are you struggling with? Who inspires you? Be brave.
Don’t make us guess. Show us and tell us. Don’t leave us to invent your story for you. If there’s no there there, we’re all going to assume you are just another victim of the narcisselfie epidemic.
Inspiration: We could all learn a lot from this list of 11 plus sized models on instagram who have not only learned how to selfie artistically – but to own their curves and be true to themselves.
I want to make it clear one last time that I love seeing photos of the clever, fascinating, beautiful, and intrepid people I follow. People of every age, color, size and shape. People from all over the world. I love to see their faces and read their expressions. I love the glimpse into their lives and their surroundings.
I love selfies because I love people and I love their stories. I’m investing in them because they are invested in sharing with me. I am going to keep liking the heck out of those types of selfies.