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A Model Taught Us How To Take Selfies And It Made A Huge Difference

Some of us HATE selfies, so we wanted to see if selfie pro Tess Holliday could teach us to love them.

Hi! We're a bunch of ladies in L.A. who have relationship with selfies.

Because even if you've got the skills to take a great picture of yourself (and many of us don't), there's a strong stigma attached to taking a picture just to show how much you are ~feeling yourself~ — and that can eat at your confidence, too.

So, we brought in Tess Holliday, a plus-size model who has shot campaigns for H&M and Torrid...

Macey J. Foronda/BuzzFeed

...and is also a TOTAL BOSS at taking selfies.

And we had her evaluate and coach us on our selfie skills to see if we could learn to take better selfies and maaaaaaybe even learn to love them.

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And here were the results. Keep in mind that none of these photos have filters!

Sheridan tried out a basic selfie:

Sheridan Watson/Charlotte Gomez/BuzzFeed

Sheridan, on her "before" selfie: Being this un-photogenic is an art form and I'm nailing it. I honestly just don't know how to take a selfie. When people saying "know your angles," my mind automatically floats to acute, obtuse, and right.

Tess's big suggestions for Sheridan: Use natural, indirect light from a window, and don't angle the phone!


Tess's tips: A lot of people think that the best angle is the upward angle and it’s not the best. There’s too much room between your head and the photos, so I would go closer in and tilt your head. I try to find natural lighting. Like, the best place for me is in my open doorway.

And here's how Sheridan's selfie turned out after Tess's help:

Sheridan Watson/BuzzFeed
Sheridan Watson/BuzzFeed

Sheridan, on her “after” selfie: I don’t even recognize this person right now. I think I finally had to admit to myself that I can't smize for shit so I'm glad Tess told me to go full smile because I look so much happier! Also, who knew that hand positioning could take your selfie from boring to "Oh I am always this dainty little angel flower."

Caitlin tried an outdoor selfie:

Caitlin Cowie/Charlotte Gomez/BuzzFeed

Caitlin on her "before" selfie: It's a lot of harsh lighting; it's far from flattering and the angle could be a lot better. Also, I'm squinting hardcore and there's a lot of shoulder.

For outdoor selfies, Tess suggests putting the sun directly behind you.


Tess's tips for Caitlin: I think outdoor selfies are probably the easiest to do as long as there's not, like, a dumpster in the background. But if you're facing the sun, your face will be [all scrunched up]. Put the light behind you, make sure your head is blocking the sun. Because then you'll glow like a little baby angel!

And here's what Caitlin's outdoor selfie looked like after Tess's help!

Caitlin Cowie/BuzzFeed
Caitlin Cowie/BuzzFeed

Caitlin on her "after" selfie: Damn, I never knew you wanted to put the sun behind you!!!! This one just looks like I'm having fun! Plus, there's a cute halo going on, and the lighting on my face is nice and even, so no squint!

Lindsay attempted to take a food selfie:

Lindsay Farber/Charlotte Gomez/BuzzFeed

Lindsay on her "before" selfie: I look like I'm legitimately scared of food, which I can assure you is not the case based on my weekly Chipotle consumption. But for real, the fear in my eyes is enough to make anyone uncomfortable.

For posing with ~tasty food~, Tess suggested holding the food in front of you, rather than biting it.


Tess, on Lindsay's before selfie: You look like you're scared to death of the chip! If you’re going to take a photo with a chip or food, you can just hold it and flick your wrist.

And here's Lindsay's food selfie after Tess's help:

Lindsay Farber/BuzzFeed
Lindsay Farber/BuzzFeed

Lindsay on her "after" selfie: For starters, I learned that it's not completely necessary to ~actually~ put food in your mouth for the sake of the selfie. If you're holding a snack, chances are good that everyone realizes you're about to eat it. Also, it's all in the wrist when it comes to holding things. Who knew?

Ochi tried to do a mirror selfie:

Ochi Scobi/Charlotte Gomez/BuzzFeed

Ochi on her "before" selfie: I try to copy what I see other women doing and my poses look so fake. My cute top looks like a tent and the lighting is terrible.

Tess's biggest notes for Ochi: Fix the lighting and add more curves to her pose.


Tess's tips for Ochi: Right now you're backlit — make sure there’s either natural light or light in front of you but NOT behind you. Also, put your right hand on your high waist — you’ll add shape or curves to your body so that you don’t look like a “tent.” [Also], bring the camera out and away from [your] face.

Then, she suggested that Ochi either pop her knee or just cross her legs:


And here's how Ochi's selfie turned out after Tess's help:

Ochi Scobi/BuzzFeed
Ochi Scobi/BuzzFeed

Ochi on her "after" selfie: Tess boosted my confidence with just a few selfie techniques. I had no idea that moving your hand a little up your waist or crossing your legs made such a difference. And even though the pose felt so unnatural, it looked awesome and not like I was trying too hard. Forget overanalyzing your selfies, all it takes is just a few small posing tweaks and you can be taking mirror selfies with the best of them.

Kristin tried to do a lying-down selfie:

Kristin Chirico/Charlotte Gomez/BuzzFeed

Kristin, on her "before" selfie: I was going for "I want to make you jealous of my fun, lazy picnic," but this just looks like a horrible boudoir photo. I look like the bride of fuckenstein.

Tess's biggest notes for Kristin: Put a pillow under your head and hold the phone between your outer and inner fingers — like a clamp!


Tess's tips: Put the pillow underneath the blanket so we don’t know it’s there — [that way] people can see your face. Also, I hold the phone like this: I put [my middle and ring fingers behind the phone, and my pinky and index fingers in front].

Here's how Kristin's selfie turned out after Tess's help:

Kristin Chirico/BuzzFeed
Kristin Chirico/BuzzFeed

Kristin, on her "after" selfie: Can we all just agree that pillows are the single most useful object to have ever been invented? For naps, for sitting on hard chairs, for taking pictures so that you don't look you're being quickly sucked backward into the center of the earth. Really, anything!

Jazzmyne wanted to do something advanced, so she tried out an underwear selfie:

Jazzmyne Robbins/Charlotte Gomez/BuzzFeed

Jazzmyne on her "before" selfie: I like my before picture but I know there is a better way to show off my curves and look flattering...I'm just not sure what it is yet, ha!

Tess suggested that Jazzmyne ~maximize her curves~ and pose from behind — and that (since this is also a mirror selfie) she should be lit from the front.


Tess's tips: I would maybe bring your feet a little closer together. And with your hand, sometimes I put it like this [my hand on my hip] but like, flat and pointing down — it creates a nice shape. [So], put your hand on your hip and pop your butt and lean in.

Here's Jazzmyne's underwear selfie after Tess's help:

Jazzmyne Robbins/BuzzFeed
Jazzmyne Robbins/BuzzFeed

Jazzmyne on her "after" selfie: I do honestly like how my butt looks. I've never been taught how to "show it off" and bam! There it is! I'm totally satisfied with it and will definitely be practicing this pose!

At the end of the day, we all felt more fab and a little bit less dumb about taking selfies. Here's some of the stuff we learned.

Kristin Chirico/BuzzFeed

1. Hold the camera closer to your face — DON’T angle it from above.

2. Natural, indirect light is your friend.

3. Outdoor selfie? Try putting the sun directly behind your head.

4. Want to show off/create some curves? Try a hand high on your hip, a popped knee, or crossed legs.

5. Lying down? Prop your head up with a pillow.

6. Mirror selfie? Make sure you’re in natural light or being lit from the front.

7. Selfies can be a fun, quick way to boost your self-esteem and show yourself some appreciation — don’t let people make you feel bad for taking them, especially if they make YOU feel good!