Karla Hardies can be described as a long-time selfie fanatic. She remembers being a college student, holding up her film camera, crowding in with her friends and hoping for the best. She says she cherishes the off-center, goofy pictures that she found in the envelope after the film was developed. With smartphones and digital cameras, taking pictures and selfies is much easier. Hardies has a few tips for how to take selfies as a family.
While many moms fill up their social media streams with photos of their children, the moms are often missing from the frames. Selfies are one way to go from photographer to part of the memory.
Selfies were once thought of as a fad for teens and tweens, but they have become a fun way to capture a moment. Ellen DeGeneres hosted the Oscars in 2014. In the middle of the show, she huddled up with a few friends like Bradley Cooper, Meryl Streep, Kevin Spacey, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt for a group selfie. The photo, which was shared on Twitter more than 3 million times, is slightly blurry and not everyone is completely in the frame, but selfies aren’t about being perfect, they are about marking a moment in time.
In 2013, Hardies spent the entire year compiling as many selfies as possible. They ranged from full-family shots to close-up shots with her husband. In December of that year, she picked her favorites and used them to create a holiday card, captioning it “Have yourselfie a merry little Christmas.” She knows a thing or two about taking selfies and also getting the family in on the fun.
“First things first, hold the camera at arm’s length. The photographer gets to be in the center. Everyone else should crowd around,” Hardies says. “Tell everyone to smile and adjust the camera as necessary.”
Her advice on mastering the art of taking a selfie is to take a few shots in a row just in case someone blinks.
Hardies’ children are teenagers. While they aren’t always amused with their mom’s request for another photo, Hardies says it’s important to take the pictures anyway. “Don’t wait for the perfect moment because it might never come,” she says.
While Hardies doesn’t use anything but her own practiced hand, there are several tools on the market designed to enhance cell phone selfies.
- The Wet Brush makes a paddle brush that doubles as a phone holder. The idea is to primp with the brush and then pose.
- Bluetooth and wired shutter releases ease the stress of balancing the camera and trying to hit the shutter button all while posing for the perfect picture.
- Selfie sticks have gained popularity. The telescoping wand allows the users to extend their reach and get more people in the selfie. The selfie stick often comes with a remote shutter release or other button system for taking pictures.
- There are also several apps that make the selfie situation easier. Whistle Camera, for example, starts a timer to take a picture when it hears a whistle. No buttons to push and plenty of time flash the perfect smile.
Hardies also added these suggestions:
- Come up behind family members when they least expect it. The look of surprise will amuse everyone.
- Start training children early to “pause for a selfie.” That way, they can instantly strike a family-selfie scrunched-together pose any where at any time. She says it will also desensitize children and their friends to their parents’ weirdness.
- Always take the fam-selfie with the camera above everyone’s head level looking down – never below the chin looking up. Shooting from below is unflattering to everyone.
- Take tons of family selfies.
“These days fly by in a blur. So stop, stick your heads together and smile a cheesy smile. Treasure the pictures. You can ever have too many family photos, no matter how crooked, or silly or full of blinking eyes,” Hardies says.
Have any additional tips for taking the perfect family selfie?
This post was originally published in 2015 and has been updated for 2017.