Selfie Photo Tips & Techniques

Sometimes we don’t want others to know that we have taken a photo of ourselves. In these cases, it is nice to be able to discreetly take a self-portrait that looks professionally done. Whether you want a professional-looking photo for social media, professional sites, or personal use, it can be helpful to know a few hints for getting a self-portrait that looks like it was taken by someone else. That’s why I’ve compiled a few hints for you to use in order to get a fantastic self-portrait.

black and white self portrait

“Self Portrait II” captured by Melissa Rowat (Click image to see more from Rowat.)


Try using the self timer on your camera instead of depending on the length of your arm. This way, your face will be much more relaxed during the photo (you won’t be straining your arm!), and you can get a wider range of view in the photo. If you can afford it, a remote shutter release is even better.

self portrait photography

“Untitled” captured by Greg Lewis (Click image to see more from Lewis.)


Wondering how to set the camera up for success when using the self-timer? Use a tripod if you have one. Otherwise, you can substitute a chair or another piece of sturdy furniture. Be very careful about what you set the camera on in order to avoid an accidental drop.


One of the things that sets apart amateur photography from professional photography is the quality of lighting. You may not have professional photography equipment, but you can do a few things to maximize natural light.

If shooting indoors, look for a window. Stand with the light falling on your face and not coming from behind your head for best results. Outside, it’s often best to find a shaded area for photos, especially if the sun is bright. This is for your comfort as well as avoiding a washed-out look.

If you’re taking a close up of your face and the light is coming from a particular direction, you might find that one side of your face looks brighter than the other. If this happens, you can take a car reflector, mirror, or a piece of white poster board, and use it to reflect light onto to the darker side of your face in order to even it out.

self portrait lighting

“Self Portrait 79” captured by Shovona Karmakar (Click image to see more from Karmakar.)


An easy way to spot a self-portrait is by noting the background of a photograph. Many people take photographs of themselves in their bedroom or other areas of the home. The problem is that most of these areas contain clutter and other objects that might distract from the subject of the photo. To solve this issue, you can use two different approaches.

outdoor self portrait

“Self Portrait 4” captured by Shovona Karmakar (Click image to see more from Karmakar.)

If you want to take photos in your home, try to hang a plain-colored sheet somewhere in an uncluttered area. You can then use the sheet as a backdrop for your self-portrait. For best results, hang the sheet so that a foot or two of the material can cover the floor, thus creating a seamless background from the floor to the wall.

Otherwise, the best solution would probably be to go somewhere besides the home to take a self-portrait. A local park is a wonderful place to take photos, and you’ll have lovely scenery behind you instead of the inside of your room.


Try to make any photo editing you do look very natural. People are likely to spot an over-processed self-portrait. Sometimes, less is more, and this can be especially true for self-portraiture.

Self portraiture can be a fun, money-saving technique to learn, and these simple changes can help make your photos look subtle and professional. Now that you’re armed with this information, there’s no excuse to use your arm for self-portraits!

About the Author:
Hi, I’m Katie (kbennett_photo), and I want to take your photograph! I’m a portrait and family photographer in Southwest Missouri. I specialize in retouching photographs to make subjects look beautiful.

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One response to “Selfie Photo Tips & Techniques”

  1. Ryan O says:

    Tip #1: Be beautiful.

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