If there’s anytime to take a good selfie, I’d say it’s when you have your face painted and hair done for Halloween. Do you agree?


Here’s the selfie recipe that worked for me:

Lighting: I found a south facing window that indirect light was coming through. By indirect light, I mean that the rising or setting sun was not shining directly into this window. The light was soft and white and was all I needed for this photo.

Camera Placement: Directly in front of the window on a tripod.

Camera and Lens: Canon 6D with 24-70 f/2.8. The focal length of the lens was set to 60mm to avoid the distortion that comes with wider angles. Lenses below 50mm can make your subject look wider than normal if the camera is too close to the subject.

Exposure: I set exposure on my hand, held out in front of the camera. My settings were 1/160, f/2.8, ISO 640.

Posing: Luckily, this window was just in front of my bed, so it was easy to move around to find the best pose. My body was at a 45 degree angle to the window and I reclined, Roman banquet style, propped on my elbow. The angle of my body and shoulders is another width-minimizer. Shoulders back, chin out and up, eyes looking at the lens.

Remote: I use the EOS Remote app for my iPhone. It shows you a preview of the photo that you can click on to indicate where you want to focus. The preview is very slow. Once I set focus, I took several shots with slight movements between each until I got the one I was looking for. If I moved more substantially, I’d wait for the preview, set focus again, and shoot several times. I took 22 shots total.

Not only can you preview the shot you are about to take in this app, but you can also see what you’ve just shot. This makes it super easy to review what you’ve done – no losing the pose as you run back to the camera to check what the shots look like.

Edit: I wanted to get this baby on Facebook as soon as possible so that we could start trick-or-treating. That meant I wanted to edit in Lightroom only. I used presets from MCP’s newest collection, Baby Steps. Yes, we did design Baby Steps to edit newborn photos. But it is great for portrait retouching as well! In addition to white balance tweaking, I used these presets:

  • Pick Me Up (Pop)
  • Hush the Reds (Light)
  • Quiet the Highlights (Light)
  • Baby Lotion (local adjustment)
  • Sharp Eyes (local adjustment)
  • Remove Red/Add Cyan (local adjustment)

My primary goal with the edit was to pop the contrast and colors, to show off that face painting. Next, I wanted to soften my skin and reduce the red. I used local brushes to sharpen eyes, soften skin and remove additional red from around my nose and mouth. This edit easily took me fewer than two minutes.

You can see a before and after of it here.


So, if you have a selfie to take, work through those steps above. Good lighting and a remote make it super easy!