IT IS a vital skill for most teenagers who document their every move through a series of “selfies” which are then posted on social media networks.
But for anyone unsure if they are doing it right, a portrait studio has launched Scotland’s first “selfie course” for young photographers wanting to improve their selfie skills.
The FUNtography course at Dreghorn Photography studio in Glasgow is aimed at young photographers, teaching them how to shoot pictures using camera phones and compacts – with a focus on a studio-based selfie session.
Stuart Dreghorn, who owns the studio, had the idea for the two-day course last year after receiving a commission to photograph a family with a young teenage daughter.
“She was getting a little bit nervous in front of the camera,” he said. “She ended up feeling happier if she was taking pictures of herself on her phone. I decided to use that idea, so I set up my camera and all the photography equipment so that she had control over taking the picture by pressing a button, and it worked really well.”
He added: “Teenagers are just so used to taking selfies – it’s what they do every day – it’s a self-confidence thing. If they have taken a bad picture themselves, then they can just delete it.
“With someone else taking a picture of them, they feel that they are then ‘out there’, even though in the case of a studio shoot, they obviously aren’t. It’s testing a theory, really.”
Dreghorn has been advertising the course on his website, although he does not plan on holding the £99 course until the summer.
“It is really aimed at schoolchildren,” he said. “So we will hold the courses during the summer holidays, probably in June and July.”
Selfies have rocketed in popularity since the term was first used in 2005 by photographer Jim Krause. By 2013, the word “selfie” had become an accepted term, to the point that it was included in the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary.
The trend has had various guises, including the recent rise of the “#funeralselfie”, posted by people attending a service for a loved one.
Mike McGrail, founder of digital marketing agency Velocity and author of The Social Penguin blog, said: “The selfie phenomenon is quite incredible. At the Consumer Electronics Show in America this year, selfie sticks were everywhere. This time last year, one company was making them – now there are well over 100.
“It is interesting that this course has arisen. When I’m thinking of employing someone I, as most people do now, look at their social media accounts.
“If they are showing off there what they can do in terms of good selfies and good photography, then that gives them a major advantage.”
He added: “Teenagers think that pictures they post now don’t matter, but in the future someone could be looking at them.
“That said, selfies are something that are very much in the moment and about having fun, so you wouldn’t want them to feel they were focusing too much on the lighting and the angle.”
It’s all about you: Stuart Dreghorn’s tips for selfies
1 Keep the pose natural: Pose to match how you feel – a simple smile or something silly, anything so long as it’s not forced, as if you feel awkward you look awkward. Just have fun with it.
2 Find some good light: Find a window and use it for light. Take the photo facing the window, but not directly, keep it about 45 degrees to the side. That should give a nice even light across your face.
3 Shoot from above: Hold the camera slightly above eye level for a more flattering angle.
4 Clean up the background: A selfie is about yourself, so avoid anything in the background that could be distracting. Moving the camera slightly can hide things out of shot or behind your head.