30 Self Portrait Photography Tips for Beginners

Self Portrait Photography Tips

Self portrait photography may drive crazy even professional photographers. This is a rather complicated photography genre. Follow my 30 most important self portrait photography tips and creative ideas to avoid common mistakes and take epic self portraits!

30 Self Portrait Photography Tips

I think the only difficulty stopping you from taking amazing self portraits is lack of shooting experience. One of the best ways to solve it is to follow other self portrait photographers’ tips and inspire from their photos.

Tip 1. Use a Tripod

self portrait photography

Probably you have seen those unattractive self portraits photos with an outstretched hand in the frame. A lightweight, mini tripod will provide maximum versatility. The model should be also sturdy enough in order to support a DSLR camera, like Zomei Z818. Don’t forget about a universal adapter that attaches to the tripod in case you are going to shoot on the smartphone.

Tip 2. Make a DIY Tripod

Try makeshift supports which are always around you. Seriously, any object with a flat surface (a table, a bench, a chair) can help you take a true masterpiece.

Tip 3. Use GorillaPod for Creative Angles

Having such a cool device as a GorillaPod, you won’t face any problems while taking self portraits. You will be able to attach the camera around a tree branch, a climbing frame, etc. It’s especially helpful for the outdoor portrait photography.

Tip 4. Shoot Tethered

self portrait photography

Want to see what is going on in a frame while you’re taking self portraits? Use tether tools, then attach your camera to a laptop or a tiny flat-screen TV and you’ll get a real time view of what will be captured. This really saves time and energy.

Tip 5. Use a Camera with a Flip Screen

The camera with a rotatable screen is a good alternative to tether tools. It is very convenient as you can easily predict the result even without looking through the viewfinder.

Tip 6. Use a Remote Shutter Release

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Address professional photo editing services to make your self-portraits look like magazine covers. For about $5 per photo you can get stylized color correction, skin smoothening, blemishes removal, background enhancement or add creative effects as a double exposure or dispersion.

Tip 7. Use a Self-Timer with a Burst Mode

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Usually, cameras have the option of a delay for at least 10 seconds. This will be enough to reach the necessary place. “Burst mode” will also increase the chances to get a great shot, so turn it on if it’s possible.

Tip 8. Prefocus if You Are Using a Timer

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Don’t have the possibility to use a viewfinder while taking self portraits? Then, prefocus is a must. You can start by putting a mannequin in front of a camera or focusing on any object. Thus, you can mark the place where you will be standing. Don’t forget to turn off autofocus. Otherwise, the device will refocus when you release the shutter.

Tip 9. Change Your Angles and Expressions

fun self portrait ideas

Modern self portrait photographers are sure that using one look all the time is an awful mistake. The majority of people usually choose familiar angles and expressions. It doesn’t mean you need to pose in the uncomfortable manner. Just do your best to find something new.

Tip 10. Use Mirrors in Creative Ways

conceptual self portrait ideas

If you want to realize conceptual self portrait ideas, try shooting with mirrors. When you are using mirrors, you don’t need to deal with focusing and triggering issues as you can conveniently hold the camera yourself.

Tip 11. Let Your Reflection Show

conceptual self portrait ideas

Do you want to impress the viewers with more unusual portrait themes? Then go beyond the mirrors and start searching for any reflective surface. In fact, there are many options around us. For example, a puddle or a car window.

Tip 12. Play with Shadows

conceptual self portrait ideas

Famous photography projects usually contain an interesting idea. You can try to create something similar, using light and shadow interplay. You will get interesting patterns on your own face. Just keep experimenting.

Tip 13. Look Through the Lens

conceptual self portrait ideas

Self portrait photographers recommend taking the inverted trick into consideration and use it while taking self portraits. Just try putting the lens in front of the mirror to check what image you will have.

Tip 14. Create a Rainbow Effect

conceptual self portrait ideas

Vivid colors look great on people’s face so why do not create a rainbow effect? Use a CD with a torch or a prism. Before shooting, check whether there is enough light from a shiny side of the CD. If not, move it until you get the desired amount of bright stripes on the face.

Tip 15. Pick a Color Scheme

conceptual self portrait ideas

Best portrait photographers believe that one definite color (or several similar hues) can make the picture fantastic. Such a simple trick will create a feeling of absolute harmony between all photo elements. By the way, it is also a favorite approach of plenty of fashion shooters.

Tip 16. Create Levitation Shots

conceptual self portrait ideas

Some portrait photography ideas poses really intrigue viewers. One of them is a levitation technique. Such pictures show something that is quite extraordinary: levitating subjects. So don’t hesitate and try such an unusual idea.

Tip 17. Use Colored Gels

conceptual self portrait ideas

If you are eager to know how to make a portrait more interesting, then try color gels. These color filters are placed in front of strobes or off-camera flashes. Mind that two gels of various colors must be placed at different heights or angles. Otherwise, they will mix, and you won’t see distinct shades in the shot.

Tip 18. Create Faceless Self Portraits

conceptual self portrait ideas

Many beginners wonder whether they must photograph exclusively the face when taking self portraits? Actually, not! You can find thousands of faceless shots and they also look great. Your viewers will be impressed with emotional depth, unusual compositions and stunning details.

Tip 19. Create a Silhouette

conceptual self portrait ideas

Shooting a silhouette instead of showing the face will definitely draw attention to your shot. Such self portrait photo will look very sensual and even mysterious. Don’t forget to check if the silhouette is distinct. Otherwise, it won’t have a visual impact. A plain background is a must for such a shot, so the accent is made only on the silhouette.

Tip 20. Document Your Life

conceptual self portrait ideas

Simply capture interesting everyday moments and routine activities. For lifestyle photography, shoot yourself while cooking dinner, spending free time with friends, etc. Look at this example. Here the shooter put a smartphone on the bedside table to capture reading a fairy-tale to the son.

Tip 21. Use Motion Blur

conceptual self portrait ideas

Self portrait photography may be not just attractive but mysterious thanks to the blur effect. Long shutter or a slow shutter as most people call it, creates something unbelievable. All moving elements look blurred while motionless ones are in focus. By the way, you can achieve the same effect while editing images. Try different blurring variants like Motion or Gaussian blur and enjoy fantastic results.

Tip 22. Do Close-Ups

conceptual self portrait ideas

Just take a close-up of some definite feature or part of the face. It may be anything like mouth or eyes, nose or eyebrows. Such trick will make viewers concentrate exactly on a chosen feature.

Tip 23. Hide Parts of Your Face

conceptual self portrait ideas

Have you looked for self portrait ideas Pinterest? There are so many fantastic pics, in which only one part of the face is distinctly visible. If you want to get a unique photo, try to cover any parts of the face with hair, curtains, etc.

Tip 24. Take Photos with Your Pet

conceptual self portrait ideas

All pets are very lovely and photogenic. Don’t hesitate and include them into the frame while practicing self portraits photography. It can be either your own pet or your friend’s one. Don’t get upset if the animal doesn’t want to sit still. Just laugh, have fun, shoot and choose the best pic.

Tip 25. Don’t Plagiarize — Add Your Own Twist

There is nothing bad in looking at the works of famous self portrait photographers. Feel free to learn from others. However, you should do it in own style, adding personal twists so that your photo can stand out but not to be a miserable copy of a well-known masterpiece.

Tip 26. Create a Double Exposure

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Double exposure is a great technique to try. You do not need to use some complicated approaches. Just take two or even more pics and mix together into one image.

Tip 27. Make It Black and White

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Black-and-white pics are so meaningful, sensitive and nostalgic. So try this action if you want to bring emotions and drama to your photo. Adjust the depths of black and white colors, mix colors, experiment and decide which tone suits your picture best of all.

Tip 28. Remove Distractions from Your Background

self portrait photography editing

Even the most creative photography project ideas may be spoiled if there are unwanted objects in the background. So, if you are eager to focus viewers’ attention on the main subject, not a background, then this action is the best tool to use.

Tip 29. Change Colors

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Remember, changing the colors from dark tones to light ones is more challenging than doing vice versa. Try to remember it while realizing indoor or outdoor portrait photography ideas.

Tip 30. Make a Diptych, Triptych or a Collage

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Can’t decide which photo to show to your followers? Then create diptychs, triptychs, and collages. They are made of 2, 3 or more pics respectively. It helps if you want to tell personal stories using self portraits. Experiment with various angles, lighting, and zooming. Finally, you can shoot different facial expressions and put them into a single pic.

FREEBIES for Self Portrait Photography Editing

You mustn’t be a professional photographer to take cool and attractive pics. Use these freebies to enhance your self portraits photos just in a few clicks.

Smooth Skin

This PS action will make skin shiny and smooth. Moreover, it will delete defects but save the original skin texture.

Old Style

Slightly washed out colors make the shot look if it was printed on a matte paper. This Lightroom preset can help achieve such an effect. It is also helpful for backlit portraits.

City Sparks

This overlay is a godsend if you need to add a blurring effect without noise or round spots to your shot.

Teeth Whiten

This brush will help you naturally whiten teeth using Lightroom. Get a charming smile in a few clicks.


Do you want to look dramatic and even mysterious? Then try this brush and enjoy the result. Wispy mist on the photo background is guaranteed.

Tata Rossi

Hi there, I'm Tata Rossi - a professional blogger, read more