If you think taking selfies with your smartphone camera is the best way to capture your best angles, think again. A new trend among Generation Z users is to take screenshots of their selfies instead of using the camera button — and they claim it makes a huge difference in the quality and lighting of their photos.
The screenshotting technique was put to light by influencer Liliana Madrigal, who posted a TikTok video explaining how she does it. The video has gone viral with over 3.4 million views and 389,000 likes as of Tuesday.
“I always get asked how I take my selfies so I’m going to show you because I do not [use the camera],” Madrigal says in the video. She then shows the difference between a selfie taken with the iPhone camera and a screenshot of the same pose. The screenshot looks brighter, sharper, and more flattering than the camera photo.
Madrigal says she simply poses for a picture on the front-facing camera and then screenshots what she sees on her smartphone screen. She then crops the screenshot to remove the arrows at the bottom and any other unwanted elements.
“I just like how it comes out way better because the lighting is such a difference,” she says. “And I don’t know why our phones do this but this [screenshotting] is the way around it.”
Madrigal is not alone in her preference for screenshotting over using the iPhone camera. Many of her followers and other TikTok users have commented that they also use this method and agree that it produces better results.
“I’ve literally been hating the iPhone quality omg,” one user writes.
“Why does the iPhone edit the photos all weird after you take it [on the camera]?” another user asks.
Why does screenshotting work
But why does screenshotting work better than using the camera? According to some experts, it has to do with how the iPhone processes images differently depending on whether they are captured or displayed.
When you take a photo with the iPhone camera, for example, it applies some automatic adjustments to enhance the image, such as exposure, contrast, white balance, and noise reduction. These adjustments may not always be optimal for your skin tone, lighting conditions, or personal preferences.
When you screenshot an image, you are capturing what you see on your screen, which may already be adjusted by your phone’s display settings or by other apps that you use. For example, if you use a filter or a beauty app to improve your appearance before taking a selfie, those effects will be preserved in the screenshot but not in the camera photo.
Screenshotting also avoids some of the distortions that can occur when using the front-facing camera, which has a wide-angle lens that can make your face look wider or longer than it is. By cropping the screenshot, you can also control how much of your face or body you want to show in your selfie.
Of course, screenshotting is not a foolproof technique for taking perfect selfies. It still depends on how well you pose, and how good your phone’s screen resolution is. Screenshotting also reduces the size and quality of your image compared to using the camera, which may affect how it looks when you share it online or print it out.
But for many Gen Z users who value convenience, speed, and authenticity over perfection, screenshotting is a simple and effective way to take selfies that reflect their personality and style.