It's the word on everybody's lips -- but how do you do a selfie right?

By Alex Apatoff
Updated November 19, 2013 08:50 PM

By now, you’ve heard that “selfie” is 2013’s word of the year, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. And since we know you’d never want to miss out on a trend, we assume you’re furiously practicing your duck face in front of the mirror to really maximize the selfie’s white-hot relevance at the moment. Not so fast, though: There are a few key pointers you’ll want to follow to make sure that your selfies are more Beyoncé’s gorgeous pixie reveal and less Martha Stewart’s food-stagrams. Celeb photographer and Smashbox founder Davis Factor and Smashbox Pro Lead Artist Lori Taylor Davis give us tips, and we pulled celeb selfies to illustrate.

“Lighting is essential when it comes to the perfect selfie,” Factor says. If you’re shooting outside, “a bright day can create shadows on your face, so you will want to find the most natural light to add brightness to your face as well as body.” Miranda Kerr seems to have picked up that tip, letting her face be illuminated by the sun at such an angle as to blur any lines or imperfections.
“If you are looking for more light indoors, I would suggest using a flash,” Factor says. “Most camera phone flashes can only reach so far, so play around and see how far it can go.” Miley Cyrus is not following this advice — without the proper flash, her features are washed out and her skin doesn’t look bright.

“Always remember: when facing the camera straight on you will be shown at your widest, try and turn away from the camera at an angle to create a natural pose,” says Factor. Clearly Kim Kardashian got this memo a while ago.

Both Factor and Davis advise trying to look natural and confident — by not applying too much makeup and by opting for a natural mid-laugh smile rather than a cheesy, gummy smile or duck lips. Tyra Banks nails “confident,” though we don’t know about natural.

“Make sure that your foundation or BB Cream matches your skin tone,” Davis says — her favorite is Smashbox’s Liquid Halo HD Foundation which blends with your skin rather than sitting on top of it. Katy Perry‘s flawlessly blended base would get high marks here, though Davis probably would advise a little more blush to counteract the “ghost” effect from a bright flash.

Finally, “Never make the pouty, kissy, fish face,” Factor admonishes. “This will ruin your photo, no matter who you are.” Though there are no shortage of celebrity fish face pics to choose from, this overly pouty Rihanna photo caught our eye as an offender. A smile goes a long way towards illuminating your face!

What’s your best selfie tip? Are you a selfie fanatic like these celebs?

RELATED VIDEO: How to take a sexy selfie according to the SI Swimsuit models!
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–Alex Apatoff