Now that we all take photos of ourselves constantly, we need to evolve the way we think about our faces in photos. Specifically, we need to abandon the notion that photos of ourselves should include the entirety of our faces when those photos are actually much better with only half a face. Or to be more precise, about 63 per cent.
As the selfie has taken over the world, the photographic technique’s limitations have become increasingly clear:
- You are very close to the camera which distorts your features, making you look weird.
- Because you are so close, your head is enormous in the photograph, obstructing the view of anything besides your mug.
- Problem number two is exacerbated further because photos tend to be taken in the portrait rather than landscape orientation.
- Profile photos and Instagram shots alike are cropped to square dimensions, making it very difficult to include anything other than your face.
And so if you want to include more than your head in a photo you take of yourself, you’re going to have to take some of yourself out of the frame.
Take for example the case of Gizmodo staff writer Leslie Horn, who a few weeks ago found herself at Los Angeles International Airport sitting in the very same food court as hip hop legend Nas.
“I was trying to take a picture of him while also saying I was there,” She told me. “I didn’t want to walk up and bother him. I don’t approach celebrities.” So to include herself with Mr. Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, she had to crop herself out.
Now, Leslie was in a desperate situation here, because she didn’t want Nas to notice that she was gawking at him and taking his photo. So the photo wasn’t great. While it does include Nas, it fails to include quite enough of her face to really prove she really was the one in the same food court with a famous person. That sliver of face could belong to any person who is very tired from three days at Coachella.
How much of your face should you include in a half selfie? Let’s investigate.
On the left, we have complete failure. Selfies are like dollars, you need at least half or it doesn’t count. If you don’t have at least half of your face, no one will know who you are. On the right, you see the minimum executable selfie, which encompasses approximately half a face, leaving plenty of room for additional information, and masking the inherent unattractiveness the camera captures at such a close shooting distance. Your face is basically symmetrical and so half is all you need.
In the photo on the left we see what I imagine to be the perfect half-selfie, which in fact is not half your face, but as I mentioned before, slightly more than half. It’s almost all of you, but not so much of you that you take up the whole frame, and not so much of you that you look like an ugly mess. Additionally, your head serves as a nice neat frame for whatever else you’d like to put in your photo. A good rule of thumb is you should get slightly more than your whole nose in the frame.
On the right, for reference, we see how much extra terrible you look by including the entirety of your head. Look at that dopey face with a double chin that is floating in space. There are several soft drinks and a weird man. Why? Nothing makes sense. Why even bother taking this photo at all?
Now you hop to it; cut it in half and show us what you’ve got.