How to Take the Perfect Selfie: 4 Tips From a Hollywood Photographer

Courtesy of Brian Bowen Smith
Bowen Smith (left), whose @brianbowensmith has 26.2K followers, with Dwayne Johnson.

Brian Bowen Smith, who has shot Drew Barrymore, Channing Tatum and scores of other stars for THR, suggests using the phone's flashlight, avoiding shooting upward ("You never want to shoot inside somebody's nose") and never posting while drunk.

This story first appeared in the March 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

"Selfies are supposed to be fun," says Brian Bowen Smith, 46, the L.A.-based photographer who has shot Drew Barrymore, Channing Tatum, Mark Wahlberg and scads of other stars for THR. "But when they go wrong, especially for celebrities, people can be really cruel." To prevent that from happening, even to nonfamous selfie-shooters, Bowen Smith suggests some guidelines. First: "Make sure your face is well lit," he says. "If I'm shooting a selfie with another person, I use their phone's flashlight to light our faces."

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Also, he says, make sure the camera is shooting down, not up. "You never want to shoot inside somebody's nose." If you want to get a genuine emotion out of your selfie partners, don't ask them to smile, make them. "I give them a little tickle," Bowen Smith says. Finally, most importantly, never post when you're drunk. "I've woken up some mornings and thought, 'Oh, I can't believe I posted that.' "