How To Take A Better Self-Portrait

Sometimes the only camera I feel truly comfortable in front of is the one with no one behind it. I’m not usually one to brag … but I’m pretty good at taking self-portraits. Ever since I first picked up a camera, I’ve been turning it on myself. The black and white film self-portraits of high school eventually gave way to a college senior thesis focused on a similar theme, which eventually lead me to blogging and taking a photo of myself every. single. day. Some may be quick to write off a self-portrait as a purely narcissistic venture, but I disagree – I think capturing yourself in a moment is a beautiful way to explore just who you are. Putting yourself before the lens with no one else around allows you to truly open up to the camera and explore different ways of expressing yourself. I love looking back on the images I’ve taken of myself over the years and seeing just how much I’ve changed and how far I’ve come from the person I once was.

If you’ve never explored the world of self-portraits or are looking to take your #Selfies to the next level, today I’m sharing three techniques for capturing yourself on-camera. Self-portraiture also happens to be a great way to push your technique and experiment with in-camera effects, so once you get the hang of the straightforward shot, try playing around with depth of field, point of focus, and other new ways of manipulating your pictures. First and foremost, I recommend investing in a good sturdy tripod. A variety of models can be found online for under $20, look for one with adjustable legs and neck, that includes hooks at the bottom to weigh it down. This will save you a lot of trouble and you’ll find a tripod comes in handy for a variety of photographic techniques.

Self Portrait

Self Portrait

Self Portrait

Remote: If you’re using a DSLR, perhaps the simplest way of taking a picture of yourself is by using a camera remote. These small, affordable devices are available online and at most camera shops for most camera models. To use one, mount your camera on the tripod and find the remote setting (it should be located with the self-timer setting), put the camera on auto-focus and set up your shot taking note of where you’ll be sitting or standing within the frame. Step into the frame, covertly point the remote at the camera, and fire away.

If you find that your camera isn’t focusing correctly on you, try taking it off auto-focus, twisting the lens until it’s out of focus, and clicking it back into auto mode. When you go to take the photo, your camera should focus itself automatically on whatever is in the foreground (you) before taking the shot.

Self Portrait

Self Portrait

No remote: If you’d rather not use a remote, you’re not out of luck — all you need is something to stand in for you. With the camera mounted on the tripod, set up your shot. Once you’ve decided where you’ll sit or stand, place an object — like your camera bag, jacket, or a rock — where you intend to be. Set the lens on manual focus and focus on the object, set the camera on self-timer mode, replace the object with yourself and strike your pose.

This is a fairly simple technique, but one that works best for full-body photos. To take a portrait-style photo (waist or shoulders-up), try standing against a vine-covered wall like the one above, using the larger leaves or flowers as your focus point.

With your phone: Sometimes all you have with you is your phone and you don’t want to take another arm-length selfie. No worries, there are tons of self-timer apps available to help you take better phone photos, download a few to find out which one you prefer. You can either try balancing your phone on different surfaces, or to make your life much easier, pick up the U Snap Wireless Tripod.

Self Portrait

Self Portrait

Check out more DIY posts from the BLDG 25 blog. And, once you take that perfect self portrait, enter our #fpselfieedition sweeps!

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Great advice. I’ve been known to use a self timer app on my iphone to take self portraits for my blog :)

Warm regards,

Great tips! Will definitely try them out next time!

some great ideas here.


Ah, so do you hold/hide the remote during these self-portraits?

Your camera strap is absolutely fantastic! haha xx

some useful tips, thank you.

Thanks for the great advice! I’m getting a DSLR for christmas and can’t wait to up my photo game. My point and shoot is decent but I’m ready to take it to the next level on my blogging journey.


Thanks for the helpful tips! I am definitely going to be getting one of those remotes :)

wow, i didn’t know about the remote thing, thanks for sharing :)

xx cecil


love it
thank youuu!

Thanks for the tips! Still trying to figure out WHERE I would take these shots, where people wouldn’t wander upon me and think “wtf is she doing.” But maybe thats just stage fright.


I really loved and appreciated this post, I am a blogger and take pictures of myself almost everyday. I had no idea that a “stand in” could be used to help the camera focus. I will definitely be trying this tomorrow!! THANK YOU!

I used to be really into these “creative selfies” when I was younger, and lately I’ve been missing them. They gave me a great chance to be creative throughout my day, and you just gave me the inspiration to pick it back up again. Thanks!

Great advice :)

I love photography and when you ask whatever friend to take you a photo and not always use the composition you wanted to get. The idea of using a tripod is a good idea but what happens if you are travelling? In those cases I always use whatever type of support around…you just have to use a bit your imagination! ;-)

Great tips! Appreciate that you introduced the topic with self exploration and self development as great reasons as to why self portraits are fun. Selfies are more than just for narcissistic moments! Will have to keep these tips in mind for the next time I attempt to take my own picture.

Hey! I really really loved this post. Mainly because you have a wonderful perspective on taking #selfies and remind us that it’s not always narcissistic to do so. Learning about yourself and appreciating your own unique look, these are things I had never considered before.

Even when taking my own photo with no one around I find myself feeling a bit awkward. Like, am I silly for doing this? So many people have told me I should show more of myself in the photos on my blog. Guess I just need to get comfortable being part of the foreground…


Supergreat tips!! Thank you so much!!! :)

Thanks for the tipps! I’ve had a remote in my shopping cart on amazon, and now it’s time to finally order it!
j e f

Thanks for the tipps! I’ve had a remote in my shopping cart on amazon, and now it’s time to finally order it!
j e f

I have a remote, but I haven’t been able to figure out how to get it to work without pointing it directly at the camera — it won’t take a picture when I’m hiding it. I may not have had the camera on automatic focus, though, so perhaps that is the issue.

Great photos :)

I’ve struggled in the past with it not focusing on the correct area so I’ll try that tip out. I should buy a remote too. Great, helpful post.