Beard selfie: Here’s how the “glossy pictures” work on Instagram
Maybe you’ve had a similar experience yourself: browsing Instagram, you’re increasingly coming across “glossy beards” that jump off the photo – so completely flawless – into your face. Hashtags like #beardmodel or #perfectbeard are on the rise, and almost every day you’re confronted with how your beard should look – and what about yours might not seem quite so “perfect.”
But no reason for self-doubt: The beard and social networks can be very good friends. Often there is simply the right photo technique, quite often the right filter and more often than you think efficient beard care and beard styling behind the supposedly perfect Instagram beard selfie and photo. In this post we’ll take a closer look at the tricks of the pros… and show you how the beard is skillfully put in scene.
Influence through social media
Social networks like Instagram live primarily from pictures in which we as users present ourselves from our “best side” and give the “community” (i.e. our followers) an insight into our lives. Anyone familiar with Instagram knows that this (self-) representation focuses primarily on positive aspects and feelings. There is (still) little room for negative emotions or (physical) flaws. A trend that thankfully seems to be tilting in the direction of the current “body positivity” and other movements!
Beard selfie: beard is not left out
Meanwhile, not only our body is subject to these “rules”, also the beard moves more into the focus of self-expression. This “glossy representation” not infrequently ensures that the one or other beard wearer may doubt his Zausel. The same applies here: What others can do, you can do too. The tricks of the pros often play simply with the right positioning on the image, the background, filters or professional tools. Once you know these and also consider the aspect of an efficient beard care routine, you’ll quickly realize the difference between “appearances” and “being”.
The beard and social networks: the gap between social media representations and real life
Platforms like Instagram can, in part, have a negative impact on our self-esteem and build “social pressure.” It is therefore all the more important to recognise the “step” between the virtual and the real world and to reflect on one’s own online behaviour. Because apart from the mentioned negative examples you can use social networks also for quite positive purposes. For example, you can network with other beard wearers and gather inspiration for your own style – and vice versa.
Below, we took a look around Instagram and browsed popular hashtags and profiles of so-called “Beard Models”. We take a look behind why the beard looks so high-end in these Instagram pictures and what (image) components make the high-quality beard selfie or photo possible.
1. focus: facial expression and background
Perfectly staged photos live from the fact that they are harmonious in themselves. Therefore, the choice of a suitable background is of great importance for the composition of the picture. Only in the right scenery can you convey your message authentically.
The beard model in the linear example photo also shows how this can be done. Suggested is a relaxed evening with a nice glass of wine. In the background you can see some plants, but they are blurred (so called bokeh effect). The front area of the image is also out of focus, making the face and beard the focus of the image. Due to the focus (and the positioning of the face in the middle), the beard as the central aspect of the image automatically appears more high-quality and attracts the viewer’s gaze. These three image levels create a kind of double focus . A trick that is often used here are gaze-guiding stylistic devices. In this case, the arm of the model. By angling the arm, a triangle is created and the viewer’s gaze is drawn to the beard.
The right equipment for beard selfie or beard photo
These depth-of-field effects usually only succeed with a professional camera or intensive post-processing. The better your smartphone, the closer you can get to such design possibilities, but you can only fully realize them with professional equipment. A little tip from us: On Instagram, there is a focus filter that is particularly suitable for non-professionals. This allows you to shoot sharper portraits and beard selfies.
A look says more than a thousand words
The “perfect beard” in this picture is complemented by the matching facial expression. The friendly smile enhances the (picture) atmosphere and also lets the beard “shine”. If you take a closer look at high-quality Instagram pictures, you’ll notice how emotions are played with to showcase the beard (or the body). However, sometimes so much is posted that a reference to reality is hardly possible. Naturalness is also particularly important in the digital world, and you shouldn’t completely distort yourself even for a beard selfie.
2. the right angle for the beard selfie
We are all familiar with the term “showing your best side”. If you apply this social normative to Instagram photos, it mainly means that if you shoot from the right angle, you can get more out of your picture – and your beard. Because depending on your chosen perspective, you can make your beard look pretty unattractive when it’s not. Why is that?
For example, if you choose the perspective in which you photograph yourself from above and hold your mobile phone above your head (the classic tourist selfie), your beard will automatically look shorter. But be careful: The other way round (i.e. when you take a picture of yourself from below) your beard will look longer – but at the same time you will bring unrest into your beard composition.
Beard selfie from the slant
It gets impressive when you switch to the side-sloping profile, as you see in our example beard selfie. By looking at it from the side, your beard shape will be clearly visible. Alternatively, you can accentuate the cheekbones by using a “three-quarter perspective” shot a bit from the top down. These stand out even more due to the beard and are still considered particularly aesthetic today. Portraits were painted from this perspective as early as the Renaissance.
If your beard is well-groomed and in shape, you yourself will also look much more striking in the photo. Your face will be outlined, so to speak, and the directional triangles will appear again. Simple but efficient – would you have thought so?
Three, you’ll see the light
The classic truism of photography says: no photography without light. If light is available, the sensitive handling of existing light, such as the optimal lighting, is decisive for the top or flop of your photo. The right “lighting”, as it is often called, can turn even rather inconspicuous facial hair into a truly magnificent beard. Specifically, that means adios bathroom mirror photos. Here it is often the case that the lighting comes from behind – for example through the ceiling lamp or the window. What’s problematic about that? You have no light on your face and the beard cannot be shown to its best advantage. The best effect is actually created by natural light (e.g. the sun).
You can see how the pros do it in our sample photo. This is also where weirdness comes into play. By positioning the light source diagonally/sideways above you, the beardis visually condensed and makes it appear more magnificent overall.
This works especially well if you’re taking photos outdoors in the sunshine and the light is hitting your beard from the front. By the way, you can further support this effect by wearing dark clothing. This also visually supports the fullness of your beard. Also, if the sun is too strong, you can get more coolness by wearing sunglasses or go into partial shade so you don’t squint your eyes too much.
The perfect photo weather is actually dryness with cloudy skies. This is because you look most naturally awake and the colors of your clothes and surroundings are most pristine that way.
4. often underestimated: professional post-processing/filters
Even if you follow the first three tricks – sometimes the photo just won’t work. Circles under the eyes, a tired look or the odd blemish can’t be hidden even with the best or light or from the right angle. If you still don’t want to miss out on a beautiful image, it’s worth taking a closer look at post-processing. This usually works via so-called “filters”, which are placed over the image afterwards and change it optically.
With a black and white or sepia filter, for example, you can conceal dark circles very well. Use warm-toned filters (like “Mayfair” from Instagram itself) or soft-focus to make your beard look visually thicker while subtly concealing unpleasant skin imperfections. In addition, you can use so-called vignette effects to direct the focus even more to the center of the image.
Post-process the beard selfie professionally
You have several options for post-processing. For one, there are a lot of image editing apps such as VSCO-Cam or Afterlight. On the other hand, you can get to grips with professional tools like GIMP or Photoshop (Attention: All Adobe products are chargeable!) – but then it goes more in the direction of professional photography.
But remember: less is more! Think of post-processing as more of a polish to your image. If you overdo it with filters or soft focus, your image will quickly look unnatural.
5. not to forget: The right care
Of course, aside from all the photo tips, one thing matters: Proper care. No matter how many filters you use or how professionally your photo is post-processed, it’s very hard to hide an unkempt beard. Instagram pros also put a lot of time and effort into an efficient beard care routine, which significantly affects the look of the beard in the photo.
6. beard styling also plays an important role
In addition to a well-groomed beard, the appropriate styling also plays an important role and has a massive influence on the representation of the beard in a picture. In addition, the beard styling always reflects a part of the personality. There are various ways in which the beard can be spruced up through effective styling.
- Remove protruding beard hair: Protruding beard hairs are annoying but part of the game – just not on Instagram. These are usually cut with the help of beard scissors, so that the beard is symmetrical in shape again and looks well-groomed.
- Oil, oil, oil: Beard oil is a real miracle weapon for a well-groomed and healthy beard. Through its use, the beard becomes shiny and smooth. This is an effect that comes across particularly well in photos. The beard looks healthy and well-groomed, the oil makes it look smoothed & tamed. Direct light then also creates many small reflections in the beard, which emphasize the structure of the beard.
- Twirl the mustache: The moustache is a beard style that is making a comeback. But not all mustaches are created equal. Neatly twirled, it appears much more voluminous and looks well-groomed. This succeeds for example by the use of beard balm or beard pomade. The moustache is also styled up briefly for photos before the picture is taken, in order to be able to put it in the limelight even better.
- Smoothing brush or blow dryYou can see this effect especially in our third photo example. In addition to a professional post-processing, the beard was brushed or blow-dried smooth in advance. For this purpose, either a beard brush can be used or the beard hair is gently blow-dried smooth with a hair dryer on a lukewarm setting after washing. The result: the beard looks much more well-groomed and high quality than when it is photographed unbrushed or naturally dried. Again, little effort has a huge impact – sometimes presenting us with an unattainable reality.
- combs to remove knotsKnots have nothing to do in the beard, even without the intention of taking a good photo. With the help of a beard comb, the annoying knots can be removed quickly. The effect: The beard looks much calmer and more voluminous. If the knots remain, it quickly looks unkempt.
Conclusion: How the beard selfie works on social media
As you can see – it’s not that difficult to put your beard in the limelight. With a few tweaks here and there, future pictures of your beard will definitely keep up on Instagram. With the right style or in combination with a current fashion trend you will score twice. At this point, it is important for us to emphasize once again that responsible use and the difference between social media and real life is huge.
As long as you know when to draw the line at being negatively affected – share your beard with the world as much as you want. Style it how YOU like it, love it for what it is and show the world who YOU are.