Thursday, June 9, 2016

Top view outfit selfies: Tips and tricks

Instagram top view outfit selfie how to

I have a little bit of a treat for you today! Almost two years ago, I put together this Instagram selfie how-to post and I've been meaning to update it because my techniques have evolved since then. I've had a few questions about how I take mine, so I figured that I would not only share some tips with you, but show you photographic comparisons to hopefully help illustrate why I do what I do! Let's get started!

Instagram top view outfit selfie how to
Outfit details in yesterday's post here

I thought it would be helpful to share the ending before the beginning! Here is the final product in all of its glory. I'll be sharing this image a couple of other times throughout the post, but here is the full sized version for quick reference!

Instagram top view outfit selfie how to
Left: with a dirty lens | Right: with a clean lens

OK, first and foremost, you have to clean your lens. I usually just use my shirt to do this, nothing fancy, and it just takes two seconds. See how the left photo looks a little bit foggy and smudgy? It's not bad lighting or overexposure, it's simply a dirty lens. You really don't realize how greasy your phone gets throughout the day. I always wipe the lens clean before taking any photos, Instagram or not! Sometimes I will get lazy and not do it for Snapchat, but let's be real, that's just Snapchat and it's very disposable. Ha

I like to NOT be in direct sunlight when I take these photos. First thing in the morning is the best for me as the sun rises at the back of the house and I take my photos in the driveway on the west of the house. I took these photos below right before lunch, so you can see the  shadow line from the sun creeping up over the house. In this situation, I stand in the shade to help prevent strong hot spots or shadows in my selfie.

Instagram top view outfit selfie how to
Using front facing camera, held a little higher than eye level

The way I hold my phone has not changed over the last couple of years. I also still use the front facing camera so I can see what I'm doing. It's more important to me to have my arm as outwardly extended as possible than it is to have it high overhead. I think the misconception is that your phone really needs to be on top of you, but it's just a little bit higher than eye level. The further you can extend your hand, the more of your outfit you will be able to see.

I no longer like to collage my front view with my top view seflies. Honestly, I don't really like posting any kind of collages anymore because I feel like it makes my feed look super busy. All that being said, make sure you set your camera so it's taking a square photo. It's basically impossible to leave it on its normal photo setting and think you can crop it into a square later. And in order to maintain consistency in my own feed, my OCD really hates to post anything on Instagram that is NOT a square. I try and avoid it if at all possible. 

As I'm looking at my screen, I position my lips at the top left and the tips of my toes at the bottom right, so you may need to adjust the angle you are holding your phone until it is positioned just right. So many other 'grammers post top view outfit selfies without lips, and I still like them, but for my own photos, I prefer showing lips because I feel like I look like a boy otherwise. 

Instagram top view outfit selfie how toInstagram top view outfit selfie how to
Maximize the screen space helps with body proportions

This outfit photo is a square, sized to fit an iPhone screen, so it's already small as it is and I want to make sure I maximize the photo space as much as possible. That's why I position my toes as close to the corner as possible with my lips doing the same at the opposite corner. This also helps with body proportions. It's inevitable that things are going to look a bit skewed from the top view, so the more I can ease up on the angle making it as close to a "front view" angle as possible, the better. With my shoes closer to the center of the photo in the version above on the left, my feet look teeny, my legs look shorter, my mid-section looks wider, and I just look a bit top heavy in general. In the photo on the right, you're able to see more of the knot in the shirt, more of my shorts, more of my legs, and my feet look better proportionally with the rest of my body.

Instagram top view outfit selfie how to
Top left: Preferred foot stance - feet together, toes slightly pointed in

Speaking of feet, the positioning of your feet is also important. For front view photos, I'm all for wide, sassy stances. But from the top view, I prefer my feet to be together, with the toes slightly pointed towards each other. I had to show you three other positions for comparison - parallel but hip distance apart, hip distance with toes facing outward, heels together and toes apart (aka The Pilates V). I don't feel like any of the other three are quite as flattering as the top left from this angle. I'm not quite sure why. They just don't *feel* as right to me. You can totally call me crazy on this one, but I just thought I would share my preference on this!

Once my selfies are all taken, I pick my favorite and still use the same Aviary app to brighten, saturate, or rotate the photo as needed. I will say once again that I love consistency, so I like all of my top view selfies to be facing the same direction. Even if my iPhone doesn't take it the way I want it (sometimes they will randomly be rotated), I will rotate and/or mirror them using the Aviary app so they're all facing the same direction.

And that's it! Hopefully I explained the method to my madness well enough for you to understand or at least appreciate my preferences. I'm sure my technique will continue to evolve over time!


Linking up for: What I Wore to Work, Spotlight Weekly Linkup with Elle and JacquelineFashion Friday, Friday Favorites


  1. This is so good, I've gotten a lot better I think but I love your top-down selfies they are always perfect. Thanks for sharing.


  2. I am always trying to improve my outfit selfies, so these new and improved tips and examples helped. Thanks for the update!

  3. So fun! I have been trying to hold my phone up too high and not extending my arm enough. Can't wait to try with today's outfit!
    xo, Lee

  4. I don't really do top view outfit selfies but these pointers will help once I decide to do so in the future.

    Abby | Life in the Fash Lane

  5. Thanks for these tips! I will definitely try some with these in mind. :)


  6. Thanks for posting this! I've never been able to figure out how to do these selfies without cutting something off. Do you have the iPhone 6 or 6+? I'm trying to take pictures using your technique using my 6+ and it's hard to grip. Plus I'm having a hard time keeping my hands steady these days.

    1. I have the 6. The husband has the 6+ and it's way too big for me! I can appreciate you having trouble with it!

  7. loving this outfit combo and that shirt is such a great color on you! Saying hi from the link up :) Hope you'll stop by and see my favorites too! happy friday friend!

  8. Great tips- thank you! I have never been able to take an outfit selfie that doesn't make my top half look twice as big as my bottom half. I loved these pointers!

  9. These are great tips! Your selfies always look so perfect! I struggle to get my whole outfit in or I look dis-proportioned.