“Selfies” are now so socially acceptable that people have no shame in their game. You’ll see selfie takers snapping a shot in the middle of a crowd, in the mirror next to you while you wash your hands, and between bites of food sitting across the table from you. But not all selfies are created equal. As any selfie expert will tell you, it has a lot to do with timing.
Worst time to take a selfie
“Lighting is everything,” says professional photographer Michael Wesley. So while daytime supplies super-flattering sunlight for outdoor selfies, just be sure to give your lens a rest at noon on a sunny day. Apparently, if the bright sun is directly overhead it creates unflattering shadows, like bags under your eyes or maybe a double chin, whether you actually have one or not. When it comes to skin quality, another bad time to selfie is around 4 p.m. during the afternoon slump, when your face is feeling droopy and the skin around your eyes shows fatigue.
Best time to take a selfie
Although we generally look alert and healthy around 10 a.m., there’s no magic selfie hour, according to Wesley. Instead, it comes down to light quality. “Midday selfies can be epic if it’s slightly cloudy, and of course you’ll get that golden look later in afternoon.” (A pre-sunset selfie!) Wesley suggests looking at “what the shadows are doing on your face to accentuate your features and let the eyes glisten.” If you take selfies at night, be sure to use your camera’s forward-facing flash—and always point your face toward the light source.
In any light and at any time of day, use these tricks to look better in photos every time!