There is always room for improvement. Even models who get paid gazillions of dollars to be photographed for a living still make the occasional selfie mistake. Granted 98.97% of their Instagram feed is flawless (including all of their no-makeup selfies), there are still those rare times when the urge to try something different is too tempting, and they try for an awkward pose that makes their boobs look uneven or a camera angle that makes it seem like they’re missing a body part.
Here are 13 tips we can learn from awkward model selfies:
1. Don’t try weird camera angles
Selfie rule #1: Keep things simple. It’s tempting to try an “arty” photo with a different camera angle, but 9 times out of 10, it will just look strange. Case in point: This cropped photo of Bar Refaeli hunched over. Whose arm is that? Is it strangling her? Is she concealing a hump?
2. Don’t crop body parts
This appears to be a perfectly lovely picture until you begin to look at it more closely. Where is Kate Upton‘s arm? Try not to crop out body parts, especially if you are only cutting out one from a pair. No one will notice your nice new dress, haircut, or the palace of Versailles behind you, because they will be too busy wondering what happened to your leg/fifth finger/other ears.
3. Make sure people can still recognize you
It’s easy to get creative with filters, props, and camera crops, but if people can’t recognize you, what’s the point? It isn’t much of a selfie, then. I know this is Ellie Goulding on the right, but I would have had no idea that it was Cara Delvingne on the left if this wasn’t posted on her Instagram account. There’s not even a tattoo to identify her with.
4. Watch the camera doesn’t distort your proportions
I’m sure we wouldn’t mind too much if a camera angle made our legs look a bit longer or our stomachs a touch more defined. What you have to be careful of is that a weird camera angle doesn’t make it look like you’re standing in a funhouse mirror. Kendall Jenner looks like she has a gigantic head in comparison to her tiny waist in a human Barbie kind of way. Plus, her left arm looks like it is melting.
5. Don’t fake act anything
It’s a lot easier to stand in front of a mirror and make a duck face than to try and fake you’re mid-activity and decided to take a photo. Ireland Baldwin attempts to re-enact waking up but fails to make it look convincing because there is no blaring alarm or stuck-out-to-there hair. Unless it’s a proper spontaneous shot (which 99.999% of selfies aren’t), leave the acting to the movies.
6. Don’t eat the camera
Sure, we’d love to see your impeccable, poreless skin, but don’t take over the whole photo frame, like Georgia May Jagger just about did. You don’t want it to look like you’re going to come out of other people’s screens. This could be really scary when selfies go 3D.
7. Remember the background
You spend forever deliberating between using the “Nashville” or “Mayfair” filters, but it won’t make much of a difference if the background of your photo ruins your carefully staged photo. This nice BFF shot of Kate Upton and Anne V is destroyed because it looks like there is an elbow growing out of Anne’s head. It’s even more unfortunate because the rogue arm’s black lace sleeve matches her dress.
8. Never forget about your hair
Besides checking how many likes your photo has or seeing whether it looks obviously photoshopped, people will be looking at your hair, so make sure it is flawless. Suki Waterhouse posted a video of her hair blowing in the breeze but made the mistake of having this shot as the one that shows up on her feed. You don’t want to get a #badhairday tag, do you?
9. Watch out for pseudo double chins
As they used to tell you during school photos: Elongate your neck, and keep your shoulders down. It’s important to make such you don’t get the dreaded double chin photo. Chrissy Teigen and Kelly Rhorbach‘s selfie is clearly exaggerated, but if you have your chin tipped 3 degrees in the wrong direction, you’ll end up with a similar-looking photo.
10. But don’t end up with a giraffe neck
Don’t become overzealous about the advice mentioned above. Stretching out your neck to the point where you have veins popping out is almost worse than having a double chin. Karlie Kloss already has an elegant swan-like neck but over exaggerated it in this photo. Remember to always keep your chin down.
11. Don’t become a contortionist
It’s great that you’re super flexible from all those yoga and ballet lessons, but you don’t need to show it off on Instagram unless you’re trying to get a job in the circus. Heidi Klum posted this throwback photo and captioned it, “I call this the pretzel pose.” A good rule of thumb is that if you look like a pretzel, don’t do the pose. This is not a game of Twister.
12. Don’t decapitate yourself
As tempting as it is, it resists the urge to stick your head in every selfie, especially if you can only get your face in the shot. If your shoulders are cropped out of the photo, you will just look like a floating head, like Alessandra Ambrosio does here. It’s also a good idea when posing with children to make sure they aren’t doing any hand gestures, even if they’re unintentional because that will automatically be the focus of the photo–especially inappropriate ones.
13. Don’t let us see up your nose
Ireland Baldwin made a second selfie mistake with this low-angle up-the-nose camera shot. Don’t try this with mouths, ears, belly buttons, or any other body part because we don’t want to feel like we’re witnessing an endoscopic examination. Stick to straight-on or three quarter camera angles, please.