As evidenced by your local lunk’s latest status updates complaining about “newbies” moving too slowly on their treadmills, making a New Year’s resolution to go to the gym is easy. Taking a pic of yourself there that isn’t a standard weight rack foreground mirror selfie is tough. Why would you resolve to read more books if no one is going to know how gorgeous you looked curled up with Vonnegut and Dostoevsky? Changing your diet is not a challenge. Posting a properly-lit photo of your butternut squash and carnitas tacos is. For your 2015 New Year’s resolutions, ignore these drab, old standbys. It’s time to fully embrace the digital mediasphere and resolve to share better pictures. It is the future after all. Here are three ideas to get you started:
1. Get your #SelfieGame on point
Our ever present pocket computers (phones) have front-facing cameras for a reason. There are a lot of stigmas associated with selfie taking. People say that selfies are for girls, that they’re embarassing to watch in real life, and most of all, that they’re an act of vanity. However, in the end, any phone use boils down to you curating your own life and is thus selfish.
So when you share a selfie via a Snapchat, on Instagram, or directly in text message with iOS 8’s handy new photo shortcut, don’t feel any shame. Whoever you’re communicating with probably wants to hear from you already. Sending back a photo of yourself can serve as a playful reply to a “Sup” or color your latest text message with more emotion than a tiny yellow emoji. Nothing says “I’m on the way” better than a photo of yourself with cross streets in the background.
2. Add some production value
It’s not just selfies that need to be improved, it’s the digital photos we share in general. Too many times I’ve seen people pass a phone to a stranger for a photo, only to have it be taken in poor light, with a subject’s face partially obscured by another’s shoulder. It’s time that we stop shooting, and especially stop posting, bad pictures. You remember how it felt when the school photographer asked you to scoot a little farther forward? To raise your chin a bit? It was an awkward dance to perform, but the portrait they took always came out gorgeous despite your varying numbers of missing teeth.
With a little extra effort, a quick pic goes from average to spectacular. If you’re the subject of a photo, stand up straight and jam yourself in next to others in the picture to get a closer shot. If you’re behind the camera, take the time to employ the rule of thirds, frame the shot to include foreground and background elements, and for the love of god, don’t use flash unless it’s absolutely necessary.
3. Go video
If a picture says a thousand words, what kind of black magic is dozens of sequential pictures per second with audio? Whereas photos limit your artistic options to framing, color, and content, video allows a whole new world of options. Produce a short film, get some great nature footage, or create a compilation throughout your day. You can even just shoot a video of your friends awkwardly frozen as they pose for what they believe to be a picture.
The life, vibrancy, and amount of detail crammed into a 5-10 second video is greater than any still image, so take advantage of your HD digital video recorder that would have cost more than $1,000 five years ago. It’s noticeable how many fewer likes videos get on Instagram, 2015 is the year to change that.
When it comes full circle, the main issue that most will face trying to improve the pictures they post online is the fear of appearing vain. While putting in the extra effort to put better photos out there might seem selfish as first, you’re really improving everyone else’s lives by sharing higher quality content. The resolutions that are truly self-centered are going to the gym, eating healthier, and reading more to improve YOUR body and mind. So go ahead and take some time to post a few perfect selfies, you’re not a narcissist are you?