Posted on November 30, 2023
How to take .5 selfies, the wide-angle photos getting all the focus from Gen Z
If you have young people around for the holidays, chances are you’ll be taking some .5 selfies. Some what? you might wonder. Well, .5 selfies are the photo trend at the forefront of social media today, obsessively popular with Gen Z users. Simply called a “point five,” they’re wide-angle shots, often of a group, often so wide-angle that the people in them are crazily distorted.
Which is good. .5s are not supposed to be perfect. Out are the cropped, shopped and filtered images in which everyone looks like a supermodel. In is the .5, which is intended to look spontaneous, casual, relatable and real. Like, “I’m not a TikTok influencer, I’m me.”
We think that’s cool. We think we should be our authentic selves as much as possible. We think we should all take all the photos we want to capture that self and the .5 is a great format to do it. Here’s how.
One reason .5s are so popular is they’re easy. You don’t have to be a Gen Z tech whiz to take .5s. But you do have to follow a few steps for a satisfactory result. They come out best if your phone has an ultrawide camera lens, which most phones do now. Look for the 0.5 or 0.5x setting. If you don’t have one, select the mode with the smallest number. The vast majority of phones do not have an ultrawide lens on the front-facing camera, so you’ll have to use the rear-facing camera. Which means you won’t be able to see the image you’re capturing. But that’s the .5’s whole raison d’etre: verite. It should look spur-of-the-moment and non-composed. You’re winging it.
Since you’ll be using the rear-facing camera, you’ll probably have to push an alternate button to snap the photo. On most phones, you’ll use the volume button.
The angle is important. On most .5s, the angle is elevated, so extend your arm, raise your hand up and press the volume button.
Because you’re using a wide angle, you can fit a lot of people in the frame, which makes the .5 ideal for holiday gatherings. Don’t worry about looking immaculate. That’s not the point. Just be you. Vamp, vogue, smize (smile with your eyes). Hold your phone closer to get more distortion, which is often the goal in a .5. For maximum distortion, hold your phone close and perpendicular to your forehead. Then you’ll get exaggerated eyes, spaghetti legs, tiny feet—that’s what you’re after.
.5s are excellent for capturing moments big and small. But really the point is that there are no small moments in life, just as there are no small people. Gone are the days of creating and curating a flawless, performative public image. We are who we are and that’s perfectly fine.