how to take a good selfie

How to Take a Good Selfie

In Photography Tips, Portrait Photography by Stefano CaioniLeave a Comment

Need to take a good selfie? Do you think you don’t look great in photos and you want to know how to take a good selfie?

This blog post is for you.

If you want to understand why you don’t like photos of yourself and you want to learn how to take a good selfie that actually makes you look like you’re having a great time and everything it’s perfectly cool and natural, you’ve landed on the right spot.

how to take a good selfie

In fact, if you want to know how to take a good selfie here’s the best part:

I have created this complete guide on how to take a good selfie so that you can take your self-portraits a step forward and finally enjoy looking and sharing photos of yourself with your friends and family.

And once you’ve read this guide, if you are looking for the best selfie camera you can also read our recently updated list. You can find it at this link. Bookmark it for later!

Let’s get started.

How to Take a Good Selfie: Selfie Poses

First of all, here’s a list of the best poses you can get inspired by for your selfie ideas.

To learn how to take cute selfies nothing can beat looking at how experts have done it before. And since selfies have become a sub-niche of portrait photography, most of the same rules apply too.

With some slight variations.

So take a look at the following techniques for your selfie poses and get inspired to learn how to take creative selfies.

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1. Shoot From Various Angles

And find your best one!

Yes, you guessed it right.

Everyone has a better angle and if you want to improve how you look in your photos you have to find yours.

How to do it?

angling your face for a good selfie

Easy. Take a selfie from different angles. Literally take a lot of photos of yourself and look at how they look different. Pick your best angle and use it when you pose for a selfie.

You can also ask someone you know for their opinion. Compare your photos taken in different light conditions and ask your friends which one they think looks better. Knowing your best angle is key to capture amazing selfies.

2. Look Confident

How to take a good selfie is a matter of self-confidence. But guess what, there are some tricks that will help you look more confident when creating a selfie.

Slightly closing your eyes makes you immediately look more confident. It looks like your eyes are confident and approachable as New York Photographer Peter Hurley would say.

man looking confident

Combine it with turning your face to an angle and you’ll get something pretty cool. Combining this with your best angle as discovered in the previous step will guarantee a very interesting and appealing image of yourself.

3. How to Take a Good Selfie: Smile

Alright here’s the biggest secret on how to take a good selfie.

Smile!

how to take a good selfie: smile

Don’t just try to look ok. Look amazing when you take a selfie!

If to a confident look you add a smile you have the right cocktail for a winning self-portrait photo. But remember to smile genuinely or you will look awkward. Think of something funny, think of someone you love or a nice experience you’ve recently had and you’ll immediately put yourself in a good mood.

In fact, it’s important to not only smile with your mouth but with your eyes too. To take a good selfie all your face has to be relaxed and if you’re in a bad mood you won’t be able to look great. Smile as you mean it!

4. Neck Forward

Extending your neck forward and pointing your forehead down is the easiest way to reduce double chin, accentuating the jawline and look much better in photos. This is also true for selfies and if on top of it you add tilting your head to one side you get a banger.

In this video New York photographer Peter Hurley explain the neck forward technique in detail. Watch the video and you’ll be surprised by the results.

5. Milk Bath Selfie

You can use this photography trend to get dreamy and unique shots. Fill your bathtub with water add enough milk to make it look great and jump in.

milk bath selfie

Add some props such as flowers or fruits and make sure to not drop your phone in the water! I know it sounds a bit elaborate, but if you want to deliver a good selfie you’ve got to be creative!

6. How to Take a Good Selfie: Adjust Your Hair

Adjust Your Hair for a great selfie

With your free hand touch your hair as if you were making your hairstyle and combine it with one of the poses above like the confident look. Your self-portrait will improve immediately.

7. Lean Against a Wall

If you lean on a wall you’ll convey a relaxed vibe and look even more confident.

selfie leaning against a wall

Combine it with the hair adjusting pose and you’ve got something special.

8. Group Selfie

Involve friends and explain all these tips to them so that the photo will look like a group of models posing for a professional shot.

9. How to Take a Selfie in the Mirror

Obviously we can’t forget mirror selfies. With mirror selfies, you can capture your outfit, your amazing body shape and in general not focus on the face only.

How to Take a Selfie in the Mirror

Get a mirror of the right size based on the photo you want to take (half or all body, etc.). Make sure you have good lighting. This type of self-portrait allows you to show your phone as well as take a full-body shot.

Always look at your phone and not in the mirror and use one of the poses described above and shoot your great selfie.

Finally, if you want to take a mirror selfie without the phone showing, just extend your arm to the side, as far as you can from you without looking unnatural and then crop the image when you edit your image.

If it doesn’t feel natural you can always “cheat” and use a mini tripod like the one listed at the end of this article.

Pro-tip for mirror selfies: always remember to clean your mirror before taking a selfie for best results.

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10. Advanced Selfie

Sorelle Amore is a master of selfies. With her sparkling personality often talks about self-portrait photography on her awesome YouTube channel. She created the term Advanced Selfie and she gives you 5 tips in this short YouTube video.

Check out her shots since they’re quite remarkable.

11. How to Take a Selfie: Get Creative

I’m not a big fan of using filters but a good way of learning how to find good poses for selfies is to also have fun with it.

kendalljenner instagram profile

So why not trying with some fun Snapchat filters?

How to Take a Good Selfie: Best Tips

Now that you know some of the coolest poses for selfies and what to do to immediately look better let’s explore some pro tips that will get your selfies from good to awesome.

How to Hold Your Camera or Phone

Did you know that holding your phone or your camera in the right way is crucial in learning how to take a selfie?

Let me explain to you how to do it. And before we start if you’re asking yourself if you have to look at the camera when taking a selfie, the answer is yes.

No matter if you’re using a smartphone or a camera when shooting a selfie always look at the lens itself and not at the screen.

Hold your camera or phone slightly above your eyes. Shooting a selfie from above helps produce a better jawline similarly to what we’ve seen before.

holding smartphone above for better photo

Make sure that the light is correct though or you will create weird shadows.

More on lighting later.

Don’t Keep Your Camera to Close to Your Face

Another easy tip for delivering the best selfie is to avoid keeping your camera or phone too close to your face. Lens distortion is a thing and it will make your face look unflattering. The last thing you want is to look at your photos and lose confidence in yourself just because you’ve held your camera wrong.

This happens all the times trust me.

two-handed selfie

All you need to do is keep your phone at the right distance and angle and the photo will look so much better. You can also keep your phone for a two-handed selfie.

Look as Natural as Possible in Your Selfie

No matter the selfie pose, do anything that’s possible to look natural.

looking natural for a cute selfie

A selfie where you look stressed or uncomfortable automatically loses appeal. You want to make sure to feel relaxed and at ease when taking selfies.

Sometimes you give too much importance to the details but all you need to do is just shooting a photo of yourself and try to enjoy the moment.

A good tip to learn how to look more natural is to practice in front of the mirror. I know you’ll feel a bit silly at first but it’ll give you an idea of how your facial expression changes as you feel more relaxed.

What Gear to use for a Great Selfie

Some might think that selfies are just taken with a phone but as you might have guessed already that’s not the case.

In fact today most digital mirrorless cameras come with flip-screen that are appositely made for taking selfies.

Smartphone

Obviously the smartphone is king when it comes to shooting selfies.

iPhone X Pro camera for selfies

The great thing about today’s smartphones is that their cameras can deliver unbelievable quality pictures. Take the iPhone 11 Pro, for example, not a lot of people know that on top of having three amazing lenses at the back, the front-facing camera is incredibly powerful.

12MP sensor and a 23mm lens with an incredible f/2.2 aperture for sharp pictures and beautiful bokeh background.

How to take a good selfie: the Perfect Camera

There are a lot of people that love to shoot selfies with a camera instead of a smartphone. If you want to know what is the best selfie camera you can take a look at our recent article here.

Otherwise, read on and I’m going to introduce you to a camera not listed in that list.

If you like photography, in general, you can invest in a little camera that can serve the purpose of producing great quality photos and have features specifically for selfies.

Take the Olympus PEN E-PL 9 for example. This camera is really small yet powerful thanks to its Micro Four Thirds sensors (m43).

Olympus PEN E-PL9 Kit with 14-42mm EZ Lens, Camera Bag, and Memory Card (Onyx Black)

But that’s not all. The flip-screen is made for people like you that love taking high-quality selfies and with the Olympus app you immediately transfer your shots to your phone to share it on social media.

All the best selfie cameras should have a flip-screen!

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No Selfie Stick!

Come on selfie sticks are overrated.

If you are serious about selfies why don’t you get a mini tripod or something like the Joby Gorillapod for example?

Joby JB01507 GorillaPod 3K Kit. Compact Tripod 3K Stand and Ballhead 3K for Compact Mirrorless Cameras or Devices up to 3K (6.6lbs). Black/Charcoal.

This tripod is so flexible you can easily handle it and you can also use it for proper self-portraits by using a self-timer on your camera or smartphone.

It’s also very cheap!

Control Lighting When Taking a Selfie

You can say that you’ve mastered how to take a good selfie if you don’t have full control of the lighting.

This an aspect that not only will help you to take the perfect selfie but will improve your abilities as a photographer overall.

If you’re shooting indoor do it next to a window where your face is well lit and avoid weird shadows. More on shadows below.

If you’re shooting outdoor the golden hour is when you will get the perfect light for your selfies. Shooting around noon means that your photo will look flat and you’ll end up with horrible shadow on your eyes.

Three Basic Main Light Patterns for Selfies you Should Know

These light patterns can be applied in any light situation. No matter if you are taking a selfie indoors or outdoors you will have to move around to create these different light patterns.

Flat Light. This light is easy to obtain if you’re shooting indoors in front of a window. In the selfie, you’ll get the light to fill your entire face and that’s why the name flat. Because there are basically no shadows.

Butterfly Light (also known as Paramount light). This light is obtained when the light still comes from a frontal position but from a little bit above your forehead. This creates a small triangle shadow below your nose

Rembrandt Light. By shifting the light source to about 45 degrees you will obtain Rembrandt lighting. The characteristic of this key light is that it will cast a triangle-shaped light to the darkest portion of your face. Named after Rembrandt the painter this is one of the coolest lighting patterns you can obtain in your selfies.

This video by SRL Lounge explains the key light patterns in a very simple way. Keep it in mind if you want to improve your selfies and for any portrait photos you will take in the future.

Photo Composition for Best Selfies

Taking selfies is not different from taking “normal” photos. For this reason the same rules of compositions you would use in photography apply.

You can apply the rule of thirds to your selfies to improve your composition. Draw four imaginary lines to the screen of your smartphone. Two horizontal and two vertical. The screen is divided into nine squares.

Rule of Thirds

Now compose your selfie by placing one of your eyes on the intersection of two lines. One-third down from the top and one-third from the side.

The intersection points of the grid capture the attention of the viewer and your shot will be more appealing.

Organize Your Selfies

If you take a lot of photos you have to find a way to keep them organized. I have an entire FREE guide for you on how to organize your digital photos.

In short, go over your selfies periodically and get rid of duplicates, keep only the best shots. Then decide where you want to save them. No just uploading them on social media is not enough.

Get an external hard drive and keep your selfies organized like you would do for your digital photos to avoid losing your files. Read the full guide here.

Edit Your Selfies With the Right App

Learning how to take a good selfie is fun, but it gets better when you start editing your shots.

Every photo needs some post-processing. A bit of color correction, fixing the contrast, and done, your cute selfie is ready to be uploaded on Instagram.

Snapseed photo editing app

There are many apps but on my iPhone, I use Snapseed to edit all the photos I take with my smartphone. It’s a free app, super powerful and very easy to use.

I have a FREE complete tutorial for you on how to edit with Snapseed. You can find it here.

See What Celebrities are Doing

Ok, do you still feel stuck and don’t know how to take a good selfie? Fortunately, the solution is simple: copy what celebrities are doing.

I’m not saying you should dress like Kim Kardashian or show your abs like Cristiano Ronaldo.

But what I’m trying to say is that celebrities know exactly how to pose for a selfie.

kim kardashian selfie

They know to perfection what to do when it comes to a selfie because they’ve been trained and directed thousands of times by professional portrait photographers on what to do and how to pose for a headshot.

Keep an eye on them and don’t forget to also check the Pinterest for selfie inspiration!

Take as Many Selfies as You Can

Keep snapping away.

Now you know a lot about lighting, selfie poses and learned some of the best tips that taking a selfie should be a breeze.

But don’t stop here.

Keep experimenting and keep taking great selfies. As you do so, you’ll feel more comfortable and if you apply all we’ve discussed in this article you’ll learn more about photography too.

And remember always be yourself!

Your turn now.

Let me know if you have questions in the comments below and if you liked this article, help me grow this blog by sharing it with your friends now!

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