Photos courtesy Erica Schroth

Note from the KeraGirls: Keratin Complex® PR intern Erica Schroth contributed this post. Erica is in her senior year at Indiana University of Pennsylvania as a marketing major with a minor in graphic design.

Do you have no shame in your selfie game? Well, girl, teach me your ways, ‘cause this girl gets awkward.

If Snapchats were the basic selfie, I would get an A plus—but who wouldn’t with overbearing puppy-dog ears or a flowered hair crown? We can all hide our flaws behind the filters, but no self-respecting selfie queen can hide behind them for too long.

In my own journey to earn my selfie crown, I’ve been learning how to stop being uncomfortable and take pride in my selfie game. Here are some tips and tricks I’ve picked up:

Light it up right

The lighting is everything! This may sound harsh, but if the lighting is bad, the picture will be too. It is what it is. Play around with different types of lighting and see which you prefer. If you love the selfie but hate the lighting, switch it to a black-and-white filter to avoid the unwanted or ugly shadows.

Clear the background

Don’t be the girl with the gorgeous selfie and a pile of dirty clothes on the floor. The focus should be on your flawless hair and makeup, not the messy bathroom counter or junk on the bed.

Want to avoid backgrounds completely? Hold the phone how you would normally take a selfie but zoom in a little bit. This will allow the focus to be completely on your facial features and will avoid the awkward arm in the photo—which is a major plus!

Focus on the backside

Back of the phone, that is. I know we like to take pics with the front camera—it’s convenient, right?—but the quality of the picture goes down. Taking selfies with the back camera creates images with higher resolution than the front camera.

Tip? I go in front of a mirror. I can still see myself and how I’m posing, but I get the higher-resolution pic—it’s what Kim Kardashian does!

One word: #nofilter

Okay, okay “no filter” is a little much to ask, but … remember why you chose this image. You obviously liked it for its original quality, so don’t overdo it with too much filtering. Yes, XPro will make you look the tannest, but over-filtering reduces the quality of the photo and makes the selfie look fake.

Turn the right cheek

If you don’t know what your “good side” is, find it! I had a hard time finding mine until I really started playing around with selfies—and yes, finding it does make a huge difference! My good side is my left side, so I turn my face toward the right with my chin pointing slightly down, and hold my phone up high at arm’s length to snap the picture. This creates a flattering downward angle and also exaggerates the shadow under my cheekbone, giving a defined line that makes my bone structure stand out.

Now go take those selfies like a pro, and maximize your likes on Insta!