How To Do Self Portrait Photography

Last Updated on April 3, 2021

It is often a humbling experience, akin to looking in the mirror and seeing your own flaws. However, it is also a way to get really intimate with yourself and see in what ways you are beautiful. It can be cathartic, rewarding, and more importantly, very rewarding artistically as well.

There are many types of self portraits. You can take one on a camera or a phone, with a painting, or you can just take a picture of your face in the mirror. However you do it, remember that it is all about you; however it is also very much about the person taking the pictures (and not in an egocentric way).

How To Take Portraits Of Yourself With A Camera

self portrait of a woman

The camera does not have to be expensive, but it should have a viewfinder so that you can see what the camera sees before shooting. Many people take selfies with their cell cameras but do not realize that they are turned the wrong way. With a viewfinder you will not only take the picture correctly, but it will also help you change angles if you need to.

There are many different kinds of cameras, ones that focus on the object, ones that have a wide angle lens, and ones with zoom. Make sure that the camera you choose has a wide angle lens so that you can see the whole face. The longer the lens, the narrower it will be and therefore closer to your face. You may also want a camera with a flash so that you can take pictures in low lighting situations (which is very common).

You also want a camera that lets you focus. There are some cameras that can automatically focus, but it is often more likely that you will want to do this yourself to make sure that your eyes are in focus. If the face is not in sharp detail, it defeats the purpose of a self portrait.

If you have an expensive camera and want to replace the kit lens with one that costs more, it might be easier than buying a new camera with the better lens already on it.

How To Compose A Self Portrait

black and white self portrait of young woman

A self portrait is not hard to compose at all, however you do want to be aware of things like lighting and shadows. Ideally you want a light source that is brighter than you are because this will cast a shadow on your face. You can also use a reflector by placing something shiny behind you that is not directly lit by the sun so that it reflects back onto your face.

There are many ways to do self portrait photography, but you want to make sure that the camera is in focus. You also want a background with interesting and non distracting features. This will be easier if you already have a studio for taking different kinds of pictures.

Don’t Be Afraid To Take Self Portraits

black and white man self portrait

Even professional photographers and artists can find it difficult to take good self portraits. The main thing to remember is that you need to be comfortable with yourself because if you are, the pictures will be better. You should also remember that while it can be embarrassing, it is a great way to see your flaws and be more comfortable in your own skin.

Using The Right Gear

woman looking at broken mirror

This isn’t really a big part of it but you do want to have a good digital camera. There are many different types of cameras, and the one you choose will depend entirely on your budget. You don’t need to spend a lot either because you can just use your cell phone as an easy solution. The main difference between a digital camera and a cell phone is that it has an LCD screen instead of just having an image that is nothing but black and white.

If you are not sure about digital photography, just get a cheap one from a store like Best Buy or Amazon. You can also use your phone to take pictures, but you will need to download some software on the computer so that you can edit them later.

Using Angles In Self Portrait Photography

Angles are crucial to good self portrait photography. You want to make sure that you can see your face in detail but also that you can see the shadows on your face. This will be hard if you take them with a cell phone, but if you are using a digital camera it will be very easy.

You want to set up your self portrait so that you have a black background behind and around you. You can also use a white background to make the picture more uniform. It is easy if you have a studio for taking pictures because it will be easier to get perfect lighting and angles.

Don’t Strive For Perfection

Perfection is overrated when you are doing self portraits because it can make you not want to do more. It is much more important that you like the picture and that it makes you happy. Also remember that while people are watching, they are seeing the imperfections in your face, not the perfection. Therefore, focus on things like lighting instead of perfection.

Use Natural Lighting

The best, and easiest, way to take self portrait photography is in natural light. It’s easy enough to get a studio setup if you have the money or a place that you can use. If you don’t have the money to get it done professionally, just go outside and take pictures in natural light whenever possible.

Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment With Lighting

Experimentation is what makes self portrait photography fun. You can use a flash, natural lighting, or a reflector to get a better picture. Experiment with many different techniques so that you can draw out the best in each picture. You may also discover some things that you didn’t know about yourself, but everyone loves to learn about themselves. There is no better way to do this than through self portrait photography.

Use A Tripod To Keep The Camera Stable

You should use a tripod to keep the camera stable if you are using a digital camera. That way, you can be much freer with your poses and not have to worry about the position you are in. You also want to make sure that the shutter speed is fast enough to get a good picture. If it is slow, then you won’t be able to get any pictures at all.

Keep Your Sessions Short

If you are doing self portraits, you want to make sure that you are getting a lot of shots in each session. Taking a lot of pictures will give you much more information about yourself and will give you a better idea of what works for each one of them. Also, instead of doing it all at once, keep the sessions short so that you don’t get bored or lose motivation.

If you find yourself getting frustrated, just stop and take a break. You can finish up later.


In this article, you have been given some great tips on how to get the best self portrait photography possible. If you use these tips, then you should be able to take pictures that make you feel good about everything about yourself. Your photos will show not only how others perceive you, but also show your inner self.