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An Instagram search for #selfies brings up over 25 million results and it is rising every day. Developments in technology and the rise of social media have meant that more and more of us are sharing our image than ever before. If you are looking to level up your selfies and get artistic with selfie portrait photography, this guide includes top tips, tricks, and advice for getting that perfect shot.

What is selfie portrait photography?

It was only in 2013 that the word ‘selfie’ was first added to the dictionary. Yet photographers have been capturing self-portrait photography since cameras were first invented. Likewise, artists have been painting their own images for centuries, including Rembrandt, Frida Kahlo, Picasso, and Van Gogh, amongst many other household names. In photography, there is much debate about what the difference is between the selfie, the selfie portrait, and the self-portrait. Usually, the self-portrait is a more professional version of the typical selfie that we snap with our phones. So we can assume that the selfie portrait approach is a combination of the two.

How to take good selfie portrait photography?

If you want to go beyond the stereotypical selfie, elevate your Insta page, and get creative with self-portraiture, we have compiled a list of the most important points to consider when capturing your shot.

Once you’ve got the perfect shot, order your photo prints on the MyPostcard app.

#1 Confidence is key

A girl confidently take a photo in a deck chair at the beach

Taking selfie portrait photography can be a little daunting at first, especially if you are not quite as confident. We have all heard the saying, ‘fake it until you make it’, and ‘practice makes perfect’ at the end of the day. One quick tip is to adopt the ‘Power pose’. Put your hands on your hips, puff out your chest and lift your chain with legs slightly apart.

Or have a go of these sexy selfie poses.

#2 Tell your story

Selfie portrait photography provides us with an excellent opportunity to tell our story and capture our truth.  If a self-portrait enables artists to communicate who they are, a selfie portrait in photography can be just as powerful.  Show off and revel in your personality, take a picture of yourself doing something that you really enjoy or something interesting, or take a picture that encapsulates your mood of the moment.

#3 Prepare for your picture

A man partly off camera focuses his camera while setting up a sports scene for his selfie.

Prefocus your camera, set up the shot, and take some example pictures to work out where you will be located. If you are using a timer, without a remote, you may also want to work out whether you have enough time to get into position. If you need some inspiration, you could also check out self-portrait photography artists online.

#4 Location, location, location

A woman standing in front of a rainforest background strikes a confident pose whilst taking a selfie.

For a picture that will pack a punch, you may want to consider the location that you are in and the background of your selfie-portrait. Finding the picture-perfect spot for your photography shoot can be a challenge, and you may need to think outside of the box.

#5 Do you need fancy equipment for selfie-portrait photography?

A woman sets up her photography equipment ahead of a selfie portrait.

Selfie sticks have become a popular choice for influencers and tourists alike, and they can be an affordable way of achieving the shot. Photographers usually use equipment such as a tripod and a remote so they can take their picture hands-free.   If you want to go even further, you could consider using something like a sun diffuser or reflector for an added professional touch. However, with the quality of cameras on smartphones these days, you can still get a great photo with just your phone.

#6 Lighting and shadows

A smiling woman takes a selfie in front of a city scape towards during the golden hour.

When it comes to taking a good picture, lighting is everything. Good lighting can highlight your best features without picking up any blemishes. However, bad light can emphasize things that we do not necessarily want emphasizing or even flaws that don’t exist.  If you are taking a self-portrait outdoors, consider the placement of the sun.  Try to take your picture so it is behind your head to avoid squirting. Also, photographers know that the best time to take photos outdoors is during golden hour. This is the period of time just after sunrise or before sunset.

Don’t be hard on yourself – everyone gets spots, has stretch marks or finds lines on their skin; and everyone has a hard time not obsessing over parts of themselves the beauty industry claims are imperfections. Whether your selfie portrait photography aims to call this out or to show the version of you you like the most, remember you’re enough as you are, however you choose to be!

#7 Angle your camera

Taking a selfie from above, a woman lies on the ground on top of balloons shaped to spell LOVE

When we think about angles and selfies, we often think of holding your phone up and angling it down towards your face. However, there are so many angles that you can opt for a whole new perspective. For example, you could put your camera on the floor, on a tripod up high, or just about any angle you like. One basic tip is that angling your camera up will make something look bigger, angling down will make it look smaller, and taking a picture straight on can emphasize the middle of the subject due to the fisheye nature of a camera lens.

#8 Editing your selfie portrait photography

A woman in a black dress takes a well-edited selfie indoros.

Play with filters, create different effects, crop, resize, add borders, and much more when you are editing your pics. There are so many different free and paid apps and software packages that enable you to edit your snaps. However, I would recommend you avoid over-editing, as this can result in blurred images that look a little amateur. (But by all means give it a go and see if it works for you!) The portrait part of this comes in by being creative and having your own take on your selfie photography in post.

The best selfie portrait photography tips – in short

Make sure that your snapshots show off your creative side with self-portrait photography that is cool, artistic, and amps up your selfie game.

Our top tips also include:

  • Have fun with costume and makeup
  • Change the angle and think about layers and perspectives
  • Use a mirror for a classic reflection selfie
  • Play with lighting
  • Edit without over-editing
  • Include interesting props
  • Go black and white and ditch the color for an elegant timeless shot
  • Play with colors or pick a color scheme to communicate your message
  • Focus on details and different parts of your body
  • Most importantly, be confident and remember you are a work of art!

When it comes to self-portrait photography your options are endless, and the only limit is your imagination. Still in need of some advice? Check out this article about achieving the perfect selfie, with five top tips to step up your selfie game.