#NationalSelfieDay no-nos from award-winning selfieist

Never apologize for your selfies.

That's the rule I try to live my life by, and encourage others to follow as well. I should know. In 2014 I was the inaugural recipient of the BlogHer Photo of the Year award in the category of Selfie. So yes, I'm legitimately an award-winning selfieist. And as it's #nationalselfieday, I thought I'd share my five big no-nos for taking your fiercest selfie.

Explore>> June 21 is National Selfie Day

1. DON'T use a dirty mirror.

I am obviously very guilty of this. But nothing takes away from your fabulousness like fingerprint smears and splattered toothpaste across your reflection. (I just moved, so back down, Clean Police.)

2. DON'T look at yourself on your screen.

Make eye contact with your camera lens, not yourself on your screen! By looking right at the camera lens, you will appear to be looking straight at the viewer of the photo, as opposed to your own eyes (which will always look like you're looking down just a little instead of straight ahead.)

3. DON'T be afraid to play with lighting, angles and all the editing apps -- both of you and the camera.

Selfies don't have to be just of your face. Try taking photos from above or the side, or half in shadow, and then edit the poop out of it. Selfies don't always have to be real representations of how you look. They can be your perspective on how you want to be seen.

Pro Tip: turn off the flash, though, unless you're looking for a super blasted out look. Natural light is the most universally flattering and once you start playing with shadows and filters and editing apps, you'll never want that garish light on your flawless self again.

4. DON'T be shy about showing your feelings.

We are all our most beautiful, most engaging, and most real when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and human. Don't feel like selfies should only be happy photos. If you have a sadness, or anger, or anything, show it. Show your followers all of who you are, not just the shiny parts.

5. DON'T worry about being caught in the act.

Aside from being the person who yells "SELFIE!" before taking their shot, don't let anyone make you feel weird about taking a selfie in public. If you look good, or want to document being at an event or with certain people, don't let anyone rain on your selfie game parade. Get that camera out, put the front-facing camera on, and selfie your heart out.

And one important DO

If you're looking to up your selfie skills, the best thing you can do is join a #365selfie project. Search the hashtag on social media to find one that suits your interests and get to snapping. The community you find will boost not only your self-confidence, you'll learn some great photography skills, and most of all, you'll be so in the habit of taking pictures of yourself that unflattering photos will be a worry of the past because you'll finally believe in your self(ie).

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