My new camera, the Olympus PEN E-PL5 has a flip screen that you can turn 180 degrees. It is, as they say, “selfie-friendly.” Unable to resist, I took a few, just to see how it worked.
The results were just this side of traumatic. I still shudder thinking about it. From this test, I reached some conclusions. Created a few guidelines, as it were, for selfies. Who should take them. Who should not. Ever. Take Selfies.
1. Just because your camera (or phone) is “selfie-friendly” does not mean your face is.
2. Wrinkles and selfies go together like oil and water. Actually, oil and water go together far better than wrinkles, wattles, liver spots and selfies.
3. Your arms are too short. I don’t care who you are. Your arms are still too short. If you are over 50, you would need to be ElastiGirl (or Guy). Otherwise, your arms are too short.
4. Nothing will compensate for the bags under your eyes, the deep baggy folds of your throat. Or the furrows where your chin droops. It isn’t about fat or thin. You can be young and fat and look fine in a selfie. You can be slender, fit, and 75 … and look like a zombie who hasn’t eaten a good brain lately.
5. Touch up tools are not enough. If the picture is awful, there’s only so far Adobe’s Healing Tools … or even the NIK Glamor Glow filter … can take you. If the picture is a horrible closeup, touching it up will make it a touched up yet horrible closeup.
SUGGESTIONS FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHICALLY CHALLENGED
If youth is but a faded memory, don’t take selfies. If you are not outright horrified, you will be at the very least, saddened. Don’t take them on your phone, or your camera. Unless you are one of those Hollywood people, you will look bad, even if you are actually attractive. The camera is cruel. Unforgiving. It doesn’t see you with an overlay of love.
I see the selfies posted on Facebook. Some are so awful, I cringe. What were they thinking?
I don’t even know the individual, but I do recognize an unflattering picture when I see it. It isn’t merely unflattering. It’s an extreme closeup. Anyone who has ever worked in front of a camera will tell you: extreme closeups are for the young. Everyone else? It looks like a prison intake photo. (Sometimes, even the young look pretty bad.)
Meanwhile, the friends of the people in these godawful photographs tell them that their beautiful soul is shining through. I have a hot flash for you. Your beautiful soul is not shining through, but your wart with the bristly hairs is. Photographs do not capture your soul, just your image.
If you need a picture of yourself and there is no one on earth you can ask to hold the camera a decent distance away, have you heard of a mirror? Step back, get some perspective. Maybe turn your head so you get rid of that “America’s Most Wanted” look. Do not use a flash.
How about some makeup? Do you own a hairbrush? Would you consider using it?
Don’t wear white in a photograph. If you have an unfortunate neck, wear a scarf. Jewelry can help. A nice pair of earrings can work wonders.
And you guys? Shave. Trim the beard. Remove the nose hairs. How about putting on something attractive? That wife-beater shirt might not be your best choice for that portrait.
Why do people think it’s cheating to look good for portraits? Is there a law (a secret to me) which requires full, naked disclosure in photographs?
I delete ugly pictures of me, Garry, family and friends who look particularly grotesque in pictures. And I use all the tools at my disposal — filters, healing brushes, soft focus — to make the subjects of my portraits look attractive. Not necessarily young. But no one has some inherent right to get the full details of Jenny’s wrinkly neck or mottled complexion, then have it posted on social media sites so everyone can snicker at poor Jen. And trust me, they snicker. Or worse.
Putting your best foot forward is never bad. And all was right in the world.
Now, put down that cell phone. Step away. Don’t make me hurt you.
(Your Thing) for Dummies – Take a complicated subject you know more about than most people, and explain it to a friend who knows nothing about it at all.
And just in case they fix the link to today’s prompt: Easy Fix