The lighting in my bathroom is sooooo good! What more could a glamour-puss ask for before she leaves the house than the perfect light to do a last minute spot check of the paint job. My bathroom vanity is flanked by two ornately framed mirrors hung perpendicular to one another so that I can see every angle. Look up, look down, look left, look right; check the straight on and the profile; make a kissy face, make duck face, make a silly face, smile. Then, the only thing left to do is take the unashamed and totally self-approved bathroom selfie.
I don’t actually put on my makeup in this mirror. For that, I use my trusty, two-sided magnifying mirror. I sit at the kitchen table with all of my tools spread out for easy access. There is a lamp with a 65 watt, full spectrum flood light focused on the center of my face and a 65 watt, full spectrum light overhead. I pick up the mirror from time to time and swivel around in my chair to see the effect I’m creating from all of the many different angles (making all of the many different faces, of course).
Finding good light when I want to take a picture is really important. I’ve taken many, many terrible pictures in bars, performance spaces, dressing rooms and hallways with lighting conditions from blackout to washout. Over head fluorescent lighting is the absolute worst. They seem to completely erase all of the work I did to create dynamic contrast and blend my face into a totally unnatural shade of blech (no, that’s not a spelling error, I meant BLECH). I would much rather turn out the lights and take the photo in the dark with my phone flash, at least it’ll be dramatic. Public bathrooms at venues tend to have this scenario and finding a good selfie spot can be challenging. In this situation, I try to put the phone up as high as I can in front of my face to soften the blow from those harsh, contour killers.
Light that comes from directly in front of me seems to work the best. And, if there is a dimmer control all-the-better! I also really enjoy the effect of early morning outdoor, natural light. When I am in very dimly lit spaces, I try to find any light source (like the nearest window or the glow of an exit sign) where I can put myself in front of its beam and snap the pic from there, no matter what strange position it requires me to get into (’cause it probably will). And while profile pics always seem like a good idea, they are not always the most flattering to my drag makeup.
There are for sure times when I have no choice but to take the less than perfectly lit snapshot, and that’s when I have to decided either to shrug it off as “capturing a moment” or not take the picture at all. Staging myself for what seems like a simple selfie sometimes makes me feel a tiny bit vain, but I didn’t spend all that time at my kitchen table for nothing, dammit. 🙂 It’s definitely worth it in the end.