Scott R. Kline is a San Francisco-based photographer specializing in headshots and executive portraits. We asked him for some selfie photo tips because we’ve got selfie sticks available at every Kimpton hotel … and we’ve got a photo contest we’re just dying for you to win. Take your best travel selfie and post it to Twitter or Instagram using hashtag #AdoreThySelfie, and every month we’ll choose the best selfie-stick travel shots. The winner will get a $150 Kimpton gift card, their own personal selfie stick, and their winning image blown up and framed. At the end of the year, the monthly winners will be entered into a raffle for the grand prize of a two-night stay at the Kimpton of their choice. Take it away, Scott:
When I am not photographing executives with my big DSLR or creating headshots for busy companies and professionals, I love exploring the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area or road tripping though California. I find photographing with my iPhone to be very liberating — the shots always come out in focus and there’s lots of software available to make them look great. As someone once said, “The best camera is the one you have with you.” And I always have my iPhone.
When taking a selfie, shoot from above and face the light. Getting the camera a little farther from your face will definitely help — which is where a selfie stick (or very long arms) comes in handy. And as much as possible, try to stay in the middle of the frame for minimal distortion. Also, using the timer available on most smartphones and a tripod like the GorillaPod can make a selfie look a lot more like someone else took it.
I’ve gone through my Facebook feed from the past few years to see which selfies got the most reaction and figured out why they worked. All the photos below were taken with my trusty iPhones, without an extender or tripod.
Getting the context at an event you’re attending can really make the shot work. This image with my wife, Patricia, was taken at the 2012 San Francisco Giants NLCS win over the Cardinals. The game was won during a downpour. Still soaking, I shot this with the scoreboard in back proclaiming the Giants champs of the National League.
I shot this selfie after I had voted. The message is simple. I also like the Mid-Century print in the background for a little pop. I used an Instagram filter to put a frame around it. Also, don’t be afraid of a weird crop.
Share the Fun
I love to cram a lot into the frame on a group selfie. This shot with my daughter and nieces really shows the fun. One rule I broke here was to look at the image on the screen instead of the phone’s camera. As a result, it looks like I’m not looking into the camera.
Frame it Right
I shot this as I was getting on a private jet — not something I do that often. I wanted to show off a little, so I shot it looking away from the camera, somewhat aloof. Note how my head is framed in the white of the plane.
The pattern of the painted wall frames my wife and me well; the sunglasses let you know it’s outside. I like the colorful lines and the graphic on my T-shirt, too.
I put this Santa cap on and tried to appear sinister by looking out of the top of my eyes. I used filters in Snapseed to make it more Grinchy. I occasionally combine lots of filters and effects until I get the look I want.
I encourage you to experiment and take risk with selfies since you can easily delete them when they don’t turn out. A constant stream of identical, beautiful selfies taken from the same angle can get old fast.
If you want to contact me or see more of my work, my entire portfolio (including some Kimpton executive photos) is right here.
— Scott R. Kline