35 Self Portrait Ideas – Cool Self Portrait Photography Ideas

Self Portrait Ideas

Looking for creative and fun self portrait ideas to surprise your subscribers? Here I’ve gathered 35 surreal and cool self portrait ideas for you when your inspiration is over.

self portrait ideas

35 Unique Self Portrait Ideas

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The most wide-spread way of taking self portrait photography is selfies or photos taken with the help of a tripod and a remote control. If your self portraits seem boring, follow these 35 self portrait ideas to help you create eye-catching shots.

1. Use Fairy Lights

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If you are interested in dreamy and magical self portrait ideas, incorporate fairy lights. They make the shots appear deep and add vividness to the whole scene.

Fairy lights may really diversify an ordinary self portrait. Raise the lights in front of the camera and check whether they aren’t covering it entirely to produce gorgeous bokeh.

2. Shoot Through Things

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One of the most creative portrait ideas is to take pictures through such objects as windows (for incredible reflections), bokeh filters (to make bokeh star- or heart-shaped) or cellophane (for a dreamy look). While photographing through a window, don’t stay straight in front of it.

3. Play with Prism

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One of the most popular current online trends is prism photography. For taking such unique self portraits, you need to use a glass prism to twist light to create colorful flare and reflections.

Just locate a glass prism in front of the camera and you will see an impressive rainbowy play of light on your face.

4. Use Glitter

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You will certainly get shining and interesting self portraits if you involve glitter. You may blow it in the direction of the lens or cover your body and face with it.

Be ready for the glitter to be all over your body and floor, which will require a long process of tidying up.

5. Create a Silhouette

creative portrait ideas silhouette

One of the most beautiful examples of creative self portrait photography is a picture of a human silhouette. Such images convey a really enigmatic and magnificent atmosphere.

To realize this idea, locate a bright lighting source in the background. When shooting outdoors, everything – from streetlamps to sun, moon or bonfire may serve as a lighting source.

6. Capture Motion Blur

creative portrait ideas motion blur

Shooting yourself in motion is one of the most unusual self portrait ideas. Just set a slow shutter speed and do some action in front of the lens.

In case such a shot is taken off chance, the final result may look non-professional. However, if you do everything in a proper way, you will get a captivating and dynamic portrait.

7. Use Color Gels

creative portrait ideas color gels View Color Gels

For diverse and cool self portrait ideas, try using color gels. These are color filters which should be located in front of strobe lights or off-camera flashes.

I suggest mixing red and blue color gels on a dimmed background for a trendy look. Practically the same effect may be achieved with neon photography ideas.

8. Incorporate Shadows

creative portrait ideas shadows

Though the light is of tremendous importance, you may use the lack of it for your advantage to realize fantastic self portrait photography ideas. Add drama to your images by locating a shadow in the correct place.

Photograph in those parts where harsh lighting produces a patterned shadow on your face or body, for instance, near window blinds or under palm leaves. 

9. Shoot Yourself in a Mirror

creative portrait ideas mirror

Nowadays, you won’t surprise anyone with common mirror selfies. However, don’t worry, as there exist cool portraits ideas involving mirrors.

One of them is to hold a small portable mirror at arm’s length and take a unique picture of yourself in the reflection. To add more creativity, you may use a broken mirror.

10. Become a Work of Art

creative portrait ideas painting

Play around with bright colors and turn yourself into a canvas. Just try to find a fine line between traditional portrait photography and painting. As a result, you will get a truly artful, colorful and bold self portrait.

11. Dress Up

creative portrait ideas dressing up

To implement fun self portrait ideas, simply turn yourself into a totally different person. Self-portraiture is the best way to experiment with various looks that you would never imagine trying on. Do an unusual hairstyle, wear bright makeup, put on a colored wig and clothing. Be sure that such a picture will instantly get hundreds of likes.

12. In a Milk Bath

creative portrait ideas milk bath

Milk bath photography is definitely a cool trend worth trying for self-portraiture. The mix of translucent water with milk in a bath produces a wonderful scene and focuses directly on your face and body. Such self portrait ideas are challenging to realize, but the wow effect is guaranteed.

13. Stick to One Color Scheme

creative portrait ideas color scheme
creative portrait ideas color scheme

Many photographers choose their favorite color as the main idea of their shots. They just pick the color that conveys their personality best of all. For instance, it may be yellow.

Then take yellow clothing, hold a yellow object in your hand and locate yourself against a yellow background. Various tones will produce a marvelous effect and the portrait will show others who you really are.

14. Underwater Shot

surreal self portrait ideas underwater

To realize even more cool portrait ideas, shoot yourself underwater. Such pictures certainly seem terrific but remember that they are rather complicated to take.

Water completely alters the way color and light look in a shot, therefore you should really think the scene and composition over.

15. Face Swap

surreal self portrait ideas face swap

If you look for surreal self portrait ideas, realize this one. Pick a book or a magazine with the person on the cover and place it “instead” of your head in the frame. The result will be impressive, for sure.

16. Levitation

surreal self portrait ideas levitation

Bring some magic to your shots with the help of levitation. Unfortunately, such creative self portrait ideas photography aren’t really widespread, mostly since they aren’t so easy to implement. Actually, the secret is in manipulating two or more pictures in a professional image editor.

17. Use a Water Glass

surreal self portrait ideas water glass

For a memorable surrealist self portrait, take advantage of a refractive effect of glass and water to twist and distort your face. Feel free to play around with numerous glasses.

18. Through the Lens

surreal self portrait ideas through lens

Simple yet creative self portrait ideas involve your camera lens. Just take off its rear and front cap. A short lens, for instance, a 50 mm prime one, will perfectly fit your hand.

Face your camera, hold the lens in front of you and take a picture. For a stunning result, you should be seen clearly in the center of the lens, so put a mirror in front of yourself.

19. Create a Double Exposure

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Download Double Exposure Photoshop Actions

Unique self portrait ideas involve using double exposure. The variations of such portraiture are endless. Shoot yourself displaying various emotions, blend yourself with a picture of your favorite animal or overlay your self portrait with a landscape or cityscape. The final images will surely stand out.

20. Do a Close-Up

cool portraits ideas close up

Shoot yourself in macro to put emphasis on a specific part of the body or facial feature. Such images will turn out really intimate and will differ from regular self portrait photo ideas.

21. Wearing a Head Accessories

cool portraits ideas headpiece

It doesn’t matter if you take pictures inside or outside, even ordinary self portrait photography ideas can be easily boosted with the help of head accessories, for instance, flower wreaths, hats, etc. Such headwear doesn’t only enhance your look but adds more color and texture to the entire shot.

In case you are in the mood for creativity, make a flower crown incorporating ribbons, beads and branches.

22. Experiment with Angles

cool portraits ideas angles

Get away from regular eye-level photographing and locate a camera slightly lower or higher. Such a small change will make a significant difference in a captured composition and the emotions caused by your self portrait. Keep in mind that a chosen angle should correspond to the idea you are trying to reflect in your shot.

23. Go Nude

cool portraits ideas nude

I am sure that not everybody will appreciate nude photography as self portrait ideas. However, this kind of shooting may be rather artful due to the combination of correct lighting and natural human’s body lines and curves.

You don’t have to be totally naked in case it makes you feel uneasy, you may just take off your top or beautifully hide your intimate parts and convey the sense of nudity.

24. Frame Yourself

cool portraits ideas framing

One of the unique shooting composition rules is natural framing. However, it may serve as an idea for interesting self portraits. Use the objects in the composition to somehow distance yourself from them and make the viewers look immediately at you.

25. Partially Hide Your Face

cool portraits ideas hiding face

Among self portraits ideas with a captivating focal point, concealing one side of your face is a truly amazing one. You may hide yourself with the help of a variety of objects – the one which is important to you, tree leaves, curtains, your hands, hair, whatever you think will fit.

26. With Your Pet

cool portraits ideas with a pet

Pets are our best friends and they are cute. In case you have a dog, a cat or other pets, try adding them to your cool self portraits. The pet may not be happy sitting in one place for a long time, so you shouldn’t push it to do it and prepare

27. Look for Reflective Surfaces

cool portraits ideas reflection

When walking down the street, look out for reflective surfaces for taking unique self portraits. It may be windows, puddles or metallic surfaces. The variety of such things is endless and they can really diversify your self-portraiture.

Whenever you shoot your reflection, not just yourself, you have an ability to fully control the camera and arrange the scene of a future image in a more effective way.

28. Use Balloons

cool portraits ideas balloons

To add a festive mood to your self portraits, bring multiple balloons of any color. Involving balloons as portrait ideas adds a pop of color and special magic to your shots.

I suggest filling the whole space with ordinary balloons or purchase helium ones. Whatever you choose, outstanding pictures are guaranteed.

29. Create a Collage

cool portraits ideas expressions

One of the most prominent self portrait photography series ideas is to imagine yourself an actor and display different emotions capturing each of them on camera.

Such a collage will be a wonderful addition to your model photography portfolio. In this way, the employers will see that you are capable of more than a neutral facial expression.

30. Turn Your Photos into Black and White

black and white cool portraits ideas

No matter what self portrait photo ideas you realize, you can always use them to create timeless and gorgeous black and white shots. As a result, you may achieve intense and dramatic self-portraiture results.

A B&W approach isn’t universal, and not every image benefits from this effect. Sometimes, it is better to leave some shots in color. In case your picture features a striking contrast between light and dark, black and white effect will be absolutely gorgeous.

31. Use a Remote Shutter Release

self portrait photography shutter release

One of the most significant self portrait photography tips is to purchase a remote, for instance, AmazonBasics wireless shutter control. In case your camera supports remotes, you will be focused on taking pictures rather than worrying about the blurred look. The following tip will excellently work together with this one.

32. Use a Camera with a Flip Screen

When picking a camera, give preference to the one with a tilting screen. With such a camera, you will see what is happening on its screen even if you stand in front of it. You won’t have any difficulties composing the frame.

For a while, I have been shooting with Canon 60D. Its tilting screen was very useful for taking portraits without any troubles. If you are eager to become a self portrait photographer, a camera with a tilting screen is an absolute must-have.  

33. Use Burst Mode

self portrait photography burst mode

Many famous photographers resorted to the trick of taking a series of shots. In case you just need a single shot, it won’t hurt taking more than five pictures. This way, you may choose a different pose or emotion for each photograph.

When you go through the images and you have a great selection of them, making the choice will be easier. Check whether the camera settings are correct before selecting a burst mode, or else you will get failed shots.

34. Outsource Photo Editing

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Order Photo Retouching $5 per photo

To make sure that your self portraits will look really professional, approach online image editing services.

You pay approximately $5 per shot and receive defect removal, skin smoothing, background improvement, color correction or the application of creative effects and filters along with picture manipulations.

35. Use Professional Presets

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Download Portrait Lightroom Presets

If you have Lightroom installed, take advantage of the program’s presets. They are fully adjustable, you may tweak the parameters and achieve the desired effect in no time. Don’t hesitate and invest in paid presets, most of them are really worth the money.

Freebies for Your Self Portrait Ideas

Enhance your cool self portraits with LR and PS overlays, actions and presets to make your workflow more effective.

1. Free Bokeh Overlay "White Shimmers"

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In case your portrait’s background looks too simple and ruins the whole idea of the shot, this overlay will help fix the problem. With big white highlights in the background, the main subject will seem more appealing.

2. Free Lightroom Preset "Contrast"

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Studio self portrait photography will surely benefit from this clear LR preset. It corrects white balance, enhances lighting, adds brightness and clarity to the shots. The preset may assist even in smoothing the model’s skin tone.

3. Free Lightroom Preset "Sun Flares"

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In case your self portrait was taken outside, apply this preset. It makes the pictures warm, sunny and clear. Feel free to tweak the white balance settings and contrast to achieve a better result.

It isn’t recommended to apply the preset to studio shots, otherwise, you will receive a dissatisfying, unnatural image.

4. Free Photoshop Action "Smooth Skin"

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When your self portrait ideas are realized, you will certainly want to make your skin appear smooth and shiny in the pictures. This PS action is created for these purposes.

It smoothes skin without texture distortion, eliminates pimples, dark circles and other minor imperfections. What is really great about this action is that it doesn’t make such significant parts of a self portrait as lips, eyes and hair, look blurred.

5. Free Photoshop Action "Whitening Teeth"

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You won’t find a better PS action for eliminating the yellow color of the teeth in a self portrait and giving them a pure white shade. The action changes the color and brightness only of the chosen part of the shot.

Ann Young

Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a professional blogger, read more

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