How to Take Good Selfies: 8 Must-Know Tips to Get Better Self-Portraits

Photographers worldwide have experimented with self-portraiture since the invention of the camera. Now that cameras are more accessible than ever before, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that most of us are driven to take selfies. On the surface, it’s a simple action. All the effort you (technically) have to put into this technique is the press of a shutter. However, understanding how to take good selfies is more complex. Luckily, we’ve compiled some simple selfie tips to bring out your best looks.

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Often times, the best selfies have less to do with the clothes you wear or how your hair is styled, or what makeup you’ve applied. Instead, the most “likable” images use photographic elements applicable far beyond the selfie’s scope. These helpful hints take very little effort but manage to make a major difference in almost any scenario. Read on to discover what to do to take your selfies to the next level!

PhotoWorkout’s Guide on How to Take Good Selfies

No matter who you are or where you’re at, today’s selfie tips are universal. Here’s what you can do to create self portraits that stand out:

Lighting is Always Key

As with any photograph, the light you use will make or break your image. For the best results, you’ll want to have plenty of it to work with. Keep an eye out for interesting lighting scenarios – it’s the foundation you’ll need to grab a great shot.

As we all know, not all light is equally flattering. Harsh, direct light will get everything properly exposed, but a bright sun can make striking a pose difficult. Conversely, if you’re relying on overhead artificial lights, you risk noisy, uneven exposures.

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A surefire bet? The diffused lighting you’ll find pouring in through a window almost always yields promising results. These large sources of natural light create a soft, even light that makes just about anyone look good. If you’re willing to invest a little bit, you might want to consider purchasing a ring light for optimal results.

Avoid Distracting Shadows

In the same vein, shadows can negatively alter your appearance. No one looks their best with dark circles under their eyes, for instance.

You’re most likely to run into issues with shadow when working with direct sunlight at midday. When you’re taking a picture of yourself, pay close attention to where the highlights and shadows fall on your face. If something looks off, you can always adjust your distance or position in relation to your main light source. Alternatively, waiting for softer golden hour light might be beneficial.

Bear in mind that shadows aren’t always such a bad thing. I personally love working with dappled light, which sometimes produces striking results.

Go Beyond Your Camera Phone

Many of us use our phones to take selfies. This is for good reason – the lightweight build and a front-facing camera makes the task pretty simple. But, if you want to take your selfies to the next level, you can experiment with other types of cameras.

More and more so, cameras are being built with selfies in mind. For example, many DSLR and mirrorless bodies now include articulating LCD screens. In part, this is to cater to all of the photographers anxious to capture themselves on camera. Even some “toy” cameras like the Instax now include mirrors fixed to their fronts specifically for selfies.

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Every camera produces its own style and feel. Take some time to put down your phone and see what other options have to offer! Regardless of what camera you use, all of today’s selfie tips still apply.

Consider Your Backdrop Carefully

You should be front and center in any selfie, of course. But, as important as it is for you to look your best, you should take a moment to think about what’s going on behind you as well.

There are two schools of thought on what makes the best background. In some cases, a dynamic, complex setting can add some excitement to an otherwise run-of-the-mill selfie. On the other hand, a bright, minimalistic background demands attention and forces all eyes on you.

No matter where you fall on the matter, be sure to tidy up any messes your camera might capture. It might take a few extra seconds of effort to kick that dirty t-shirt out of frame, but doing so provides a more composed final look.

Find Your Best Angle

Have you ever had someone insist on being photographed on their “good side”? As it turns out, there’s some truth to that phrase. We’re all a little bit asymmetrical, and the chances are that one side of your face is a bit more photogenic than the other.

Finding your best angles can take time, but once you’ve discovered what poses look best, you can go back to them again and again. Try tilting your head up, down, left, right, and in every direction in between. Take a photo with each small movement, then compare and contrast. Eventually, you’ll be able to pinpoint the angle that works best for you.

Remember that the direction and quality of light available may not work well with a particular pose. If this happens to be the case, you may want to move to try capturing your light at a different angle or face the camera from a different position.

When Editing, Less is More

Our selfie tips aren’t relegated solely to the shoot itself – it’s also important to consider post-processing. A subtle filter or slight sharpen boost can improve just about any image. That said, just a little bit of tweaking can take you a long way.

There’s a sea of editing apps available, and it’s tempting to try them all. In fact, you should shop around to find the one that yields the most desirable images. However, it’s important to keep in mind that some are a bit more heavy-handed than others.

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The line between an overbaked image and a stellar selfie is often little more than a finger swipe away. Going for a natural look whenever possible is usually a safe bet and smart editing technique.

Don’t Hold Back

Do you ever wonder how photogenic folks always manage to look picture perfect? The answer is actually pretty simple – they don’t. Rather, the best-looking selfies are likely to be found strewn in a series of failed poses.

If you try to take a selfie and are horrified by the result, don’t get discouraged right away. Switch something up and try again. As we’ve mentioned before, factors as subtle as the angle of your camera or the quality of light can have significant impacts on the look of your selfie. Even something as banal as a quick blink can completely ruin a shot.

Though it may sound vain, take a lot of pictures of yourself when the mood strikes to take a selfie. That way, you can scan through the results and pick the picture you feel most comfortable with.

Be Yourself!

Although selfies may seem simple on the surface, getting in front of the camera isn’t always an easy feat. If there’s one thing that you take away from today’s tips, it’s this – the best selfies come from a place of confidence. So, when the cameras come out, hold your head up high and smile!

And if the thought of being photographed sends a small shiver down your spine, grab a friend to pose with. Chances are, having someone you feel comfortable with by your side will help you open up.

How to Take Good Selfies: Closing Thoughts

There’s no one else on Earth quite like you, and photography is a great way to show the world how you stand out from the crowd. Whether you’re excited to show off a talent, a travel destination, or a good hair day doesn’t really matter. Use our selfie tips to illustrate your unique, one-of-a-kind eye whenever you’d like!

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