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Red Flag: The Poorly Conceived Facebook Bathroom Mirror Shot

25 Nov

John Walters is a writer, blogger and contributor to

If there is one photo that represents Facebook, it is the image of a person photographing him or herself in a bathroom mirror with a cellphone. Vanity, absurdity, clumsy improvisation, enthusiastic self-promotion…this one act combines all of the themes appropriate to a website dedicated to helping amateurs carve out their own little corner of the Internet.

Since we’re all guilty of these impulses; let’s not waste time with condescension when we could be improving our profiles. Here are the dos and don’ts of lavatory Facebook (or online dating sites) cellphone photography.

• DO…clean the mirror. Nothing undermines a glamor shot like having to view it through the frothy soap scum cast off by your electric toothbrush last night, or even the inside of your most recently exploded zit. You’re only going to appear as clean as the mirror your picture was taken through.

• DON’T…have a toilet, or other potentially unhygienic elements polluting the background of your picture. Close the shower curtains (unless they are really mildewed or otherwise stained), move toiletries out of view or arrange them neatly, discard wadded up tissues and other garbage, and be generally sure the picture is free of needless distractions.

Nothing makes someone look more obnoxiously vane than doting over his or her appearance while his or her living quarters looks like it could sustain wildlife.

• DO…think about the lighting. Most people gravitate towards their bathrooms to take a picture just because they have seen so many pictures taken under similar circumstances, but the concrete reasons are good lighting and a mirror.

However if the lighting is blinding, sparse, or just not flattering, then the bathroom’s primary advantage is dead on arrival, so unscrew a bulb or two, experiment with a few light switch combinations, and make sure the shadows are working for you.

• DON’T…go shirtless. Girls are under legal compulsion not to, and for guys it gives off the impression that you’re both cocky and an idiot. If you need a shirtless picture of yourself, have one taken while you’re playing a sport or doing something outdoors, it will look much better anyway.

• DO…have a theme to your picture…BUT…

• DO NOT…let the theme of the picture be how hot you are. Everyone is aware that posting pictures on Facebook is often an exercise of total vanity, however you can avoid this being obvious by going though a few simple motions. Hold a dog, wear your favorite team’s jersey, dress up in some way which is at least mildly ironic, funny or bizarre, flex (if you’re a girl), even just making a funny face. Just be sure to do something to justify the picture besides sporting your good looks. Don’t worry they won’t go unnoticed.

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One Response to “Red Flag: The Poorly Conceived Facebook Bathroom Mirror Shot”

  1. airkulet 11/29/2011 at 9:10 PM #

    great site love it…

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