Taking A Great Self Portrait With Your Camera
How To Take Self Portraits That You Will Love
Taking self portraits is a lot of fun and can be easy when you know how. This guide is all about getting a great photograph of yourself - when you are the one taking the picture! Discover some top self portrait tips to get you started.
Want to surprise a loved one with a photo of yourself, without the cost and formality of a photo shoot? Need a passport-style photograph or profile pic quickly, but nobody on hand to take it? Dying to try a daring new look.... in the privacy of your own home? With tips on flattering self portrait poses (that will also make you look your best when someone else is taking the picture), plus some quick style recommendations, you'll be ready for your close-up in no time!
These days, almost every digital camera will allow you to take your own picture using the self-portrait mode. Just use your computer to make any necessary edits and print it out - easy!
All portrait images courtesy of Krystle on morgueFile.com. Thanks Krystle for your generosity in sharing your work.
What you need:
Digital cameraTripod (recommended)Computer with image editing softwarePrinter (optional)Suitable backdropYourself!
There are a few different self portrait photography techniques you can use, but first you'll want to look your best. A model would be perfectly styled before going near the camera, and for great results so should you be.
Besides, the better you look in the original photograph, the less time you will need to spend fiddling around with editing software, and the more natural your resulting picture. (Plus, it is not advisable to digitally enhance photographs needed for official purposes such as a passport.)
Start with freshly washed and styled hair. If you wear make-up, take your time over it. If you don't, consider whether a little eye liner or a touch of lipstick would brighten your face. Whether male or female, you might want a touch of face powder to get rid of shiny skin!
Unless you want to show off a specific outfit or costume, wear whatever you feel good in. Colors can really make a difference to your looks so trust your instincts on what looks good on you. The right shade will flatter you, the wrong one will leave you looking drained.
Getting that Model Look - Give Yourself a Professional Makeover
Take tips from top make-up artists on how to look your very best before you even step in front of a camera lens!
Learn the how and the why of applying makeup. Inspiring before and after shots of real women show you the kind of transformation you can achieve. Includes tips for all face and eye shapes and skin tones.
Makeup Makeovers by Robert Jones is currently one of the most highly-rated on Amazon.com. I've listed the more up to date copy of the book.
Flatter Your Figure! - Be Gorgeous from Top to Toe!
I bet you have noticed when you wear a certain color you get more compliments? You probably also have outfits that make you feel great, giving you confidence to show off your best features. Get the color and style of your outfit right and you can be confident about your appearance.
Looking your best and feeling it too is all about finding a look that flatters your figure. There are countless books out there to help you to get it right.
I'm recommending Frumpy to Fabulous: Flaunting It: Your Ultimate Guide to Effortless Style for a couple of reasons. First, it is a modern, fresh book so you can be confident that the style advice is bang up to date. Second, the Amazon reviews by delighted book buyers speak for themselves!
Discover more great guides on what to wear and how to dress available on Amazon.com.
Self Portrait Ideas: Get the Background Right
Where to shoot your self portrait
For official photos you should find a plain background - this may need to be white, cream or pale grey.
Informal shots can have a more natural background but, remember, this is all about you. Avoid distracting backgrounds. Choose a plain wall or a screen draped in a subtle fabric for head shots.
If you want to pose in the garden, keep the background simple - leaves are fine, or flowers, but avoid too many colours or people will look at the background, not you.
Here are 5 top tips on How to Compose Photos with Good Backgrounds brought to you by DUMMIES.com.
If you are posing indoors, a full length curtain can be used as a quick background solution. Bright colors can work well as backgrounds. However, the best color backdrop is one that suits your skin tone. Do you look good in blue and cool colours? Or do you suit warmer tones? Some people come alive against shades of red (warm skin tones), others look better against soft shades of pink or blue (cool skin tones).
Check out this link on DIYPhotography net if you want to make your own Muslin Photography Background. Or you can buy ready-made backdrops from Amazon.
Photography Backdrops on Amazon
Choose a professional backdrop to give your selfies that polished look. You'll friends will be asking who the photographer was!
A blue and purple backdrop creates an interesting background to portraits without distracting. It will flatter most people, but use a wide aperture on your camera to make sure it is captured in soft focus.
Self Portrait Poses
Pose Like a Pro
Take some tips here from the experts.
Photographer Riccardo Cellere recommends:
- lean in towards the camera to reduce double chin
- angle your body and bend your arms to look slimmer
- keep your shoulders back
Check out his video to see this in action.
For advice from the other side of the camera, model Josie Maran shares her secrets, including some great advice on a natural smile.
How to pose for the perfect picture
Top photographer tips on posing for photographs.
Some More Portrait Ideas - Flattering Poses for Women and for Men
Did you know that pro portrait photographers use different poses for male and for female subjects? It's true. There are poses that flatter women's bodies and bring out their feminine side. And of course there are more masculine poses that make men look their best too.
Learn which poses will work for you and which to avoid, and you have a better chance of getting a winning selfie!
Even better, knowing some cute poses will help you look your best when someone else is behind the camera too, whether you are posing solo, with friends, or that special somebody.
- Attractive Female Posing Ideas for Girls and Women
This link is for working with digital models to make them look their best -- but the advice is based on the real thing: women like you! Photographers know how to angle your head and body to bring out your best features. Now you can share their secret
- Tips for Male Poses with a Masculine Edge
Guys, you don't want to follow advice that's meant for women. After all, the whole point of it is to enhance their femininity. Find out how photographers pose male models, and put that advice to work for you!
Model Posing 101
Model Josie Maran shares the secrets of her poses.
Almost there.... getting the light right
So you're looking good and all set up. Before you begin, check you have adequate lighting. Good natural light can be beautiful, as in this image from 'krystle' on morgueFile, but avoid strong sunlight that casts unflattering shadows. For some good advice, follow the advice of Photography.ca in their article on What is good light in photography.
Professionals use a range of lights and reflectors. You can rig up a reflector on the cheap if you don't want to invest in equipment. eHow show you how in How to Make a Homemade Photography Reflector.
Image courtesy of Krystle on morgueFile.com
Setting up your camera for a self portrait
Digital cameras these days often have a whole range of features and modes. Here are my tips for selecting the best features for taking a good photo of yourself.
Red eye reduction - Most cameras will let you select red eye reduction mode. This will cause your camera to flash twice, which gives your pupils time to contract so that 'red eye' is prevented.
Portrait mode - Your camera might have a variety of modes you can choose depending on the picture you are taking, for example: scenery, people (close-ups), night shots. Select the mode which is designed for close-up photos of people.
Beauty mode - Some cameras have a 'beauty mode' which is designed for enhancing close-up pictures of faces. It does this by evening out and brightening skin tone. These days, this kind of thing is often done in any case using computer editing, so if you prefer not to spend a lot of time at the computer you might like the results your camera will give in this mode.
Image stabilization - this feature is useful if you are not using a tripod, as it reduces the camera shake that can result from hand-held shots.
Self portrait photography technique no. 1
The long arm
This only works if you have very long arms and a steady hand. It's not recommended - the results can be very unflattering - but will do in a pinch. All you do is hold the camera as far from you as you can, smile and press the shutter.
You may have seen pro Riccardo Cellere use this technique in the above video. Even though his shot is quirky and fun, it doesn't make either of them look their best - and he's a professional!
If you do want to try it, keep the camera higher than you so that you are looking up - it gives a nicer shot than straight on. Tilt your head or angle the camera to one side so that you get a cute semi-profile rather than the 'convict mug-shot' look of staring into the lens. In fact, try a few shots where you are not even looking at the camera, for a more natural style.
- Short-range shots don't flatter features - particularly noses
- It's hard to keep your hand steady enough, though you may be able to find something to brace it against
- You will have to use guesswork to know if you are in the shot
Don't say I didn't warn you.
Samsung EC-ST700 Dual View Camera - The Best Camera for Selfies?
Now taking a great self portrait is even easier! This Samsung 16 megapixel digital camera has a 1.5" LCD screen on the front of the camera - so you can see exactly what the camera sees.
Of course, there is a large LCD screen on the rear of the camera too, so it's up to you whether you want to be in the shot or not.
The camera is small and light enough to take anywhere, is packed with features, and takes high resolution digital pictures. It has a 5x zoom so is versatile too.
The camera is called the DV300F SMART in the UK.
Self portrait photography technique no. 2
Click and run
Use the camera's timer option. Almost every camera these days has one. Check your manual or look at the on-screen menu to figure out how to set it. The camera may give you a fixed time between your pressing the shutter and the photograph being taken. This could be just a couple of seconds, or may be 10 seconds. Or your camera may give you a choice.
Of course, you won't be holding the camera this time when the picture is taken, so you either need somewhere steady like a shelf or table (at the right height to take a flattering photo of you in your chosen pose) OR the better option is to use a tripod.
Take some trial shots using a placeholder such as a potted plant or other object that you can position as a 'stand-in' for yourself while you are behind the camera. This will allow your camera to correctly focus on your position.
Self portrait photography technique no. 3
If you have a remote shutter release for your camera, you can pose and click without having to run backwards and forwards. The camera will also be able to focus on you correctly since you'll already be in place.
Mount your camera on a tripod and check that you will be in frame when the photo is taken (using your placeholder object or background).
If your hands are going to be in the shot, you'll need to figure out how to conceal the remote unit. They tend to be small so you may be able to cover it with your hand or disguise it in a piece of fabric.
Image courtesy of Krystle on morgueFile.com
For more ideas on taking a self-portrait with your camera, try these websites
- How To Buy A Digital Camera for Self-Portraits
Some advice on the features to look for in your camera, if you want to take pictures of yourself.
- Through the Gadling Lens: self-portraits
Although I don't recommend the mirror technique, there's some creative uses of it in this blog post.
- I'm ready for my closeup: 6 methods for perfectly focused self-portraits
Great tips for staying in focus during your self-portrait photoshoot.
- Avoid the Duck Face
I've had a couple of comments about people making the duck face (thanks, guys) so had to add this one. Not a good look.
Have you got any self portrait tips to share?