Tips for Better Self-Portraits: Photography How-To

Tips for better self portrait photos and selfies

Would You Love to Take Better Selfies and Self-Portraits?

You’re in the right studio!

I’m Ophelia, and I’ve been specializing in self portrait photography for the last five years!

The following tips contain an affiliate link for a studio staple.

Betty Page inspired self-portrait photography

Take Better Self-Portraits and Selfies

  • Start Simple.
    • Remember that we don’t need the most expensive or the newest equipment! I’ve done photoshoots with DSLRs and extra lenses, as well as with an iPod and and iPhone. We can get great results with a variety of tools, so let’s start with what we already have, if able.
  • Play with Available Lighting.
    • Natural light is often regarded as the most beautiful to work with, and it’s free! Shoot near a window or in the shade for beautiful, softened light.
    • If shooting in darker interiors, great results can also be achieved with standard floor lamps. If the lamplight is too harsh, try using an umbrella or thin cloth to diffuse the light. (Be safe whenever covering bulbs, even for a short period of time. Never leave unattended or allow anything to touch the lightbulb).
  • Add Fill Light
    • Adding fill light is a great way to take better control of your lighting, and keep shadows from getting too harsh or dark.
    • Use a white foam-core board or reflector to bounce light back onto yourself. Try switching between white, silver (aluminum foil is helpful in a pinch), and gold to see what looks best and complements the color scheme you’re using the most.
    • A second floor lamp or a Neewer ring light work great for adding fill light!
  • Play with Angles, Shapes, Poses and More
    • Experimenting is the key to success. Try different poses and shapes with your figure, play with angles, move your studio lights to different sides and heights, etc.
    • Keep your hands busy. Give yourself a prop to interact with, play with your hair, etc., to give more life to photos and create a feeling of movement.
    • Create an S shape. Shift your stance and poses to create beautiful S-curves. Be over-dramatic with poses and experiment with creating different shapes.
Self portrait photograph showing the S-curve that makes for beautiful poses
  • Keep Snapping Photos
    • Practice, practice, practice! Staying consistent and shooting self-portraits on a regular basis will help you develop your skill and give you more opportunities to experiment.
    • Shoot a variety of shots during each photoshoot. Try photographing close-ups, silhouettes, moody, bright, emotive, black and white shots, etc. You never know what new angle or technique you’ll fall in love with.
  • Use a Timer
    • Use the automatic timer on your phone or camera, or get a wireless shutter remote.
    • Use burst mode along with your timer (so the camera takes multiple photos) and change position as the shutter releases. You’ll get a variety of pictures with a flow to them.
  • Know what You Love About Self-Portraits
    • What’s your favorite part about modeling for your own photoshoots? This can help you determine what to focus on the most.
    • Are you passionate about makeup? Close-up, detailed, and colorful portraits may be your go-to.
    • Do you love sharing your fashion style? Try shooting editorial shots inspired by your favorite fashion magazines.
  • Review Your Photoshoot Results
    • What worked with the photoshoot?
    • What didn’t?
    • What do you want to try or do better next time?
What are Your Tips for Improving Your Photography?

Share your best advice in the comments!

Don’t forget to share this with fellow creatives, models and photographers~!

More Tips & Advice

Getting Started in Self-Portrait Photography

Portrait Photography Must-Haves

Autumn Lace | Boudoir Portrait Set

Alt  boudoir  fashion  portrait featuring a genderqueer Model in black lace and red

Vinyl Choker: RaspberryMazohyst

This shoot was so much fun, as they all are!

I got to use some of the biodegradable glitter from Slayfire Cosmetics, enjoy some vinyl couture, and some new red hair.

What’s your favorite kind of lingerie to slip into? What are your favorite independent artists and designers?

Soft Pink | Floral Portrait

This thrifted dress was such a gorgeous find for the photography studio!

It pairs so well with the bright summer makeup and the florals.


What’s your favorite prop to shoot with in the photography studio?

Floral Portrait Photography | Ophelia

I absolutely adore doing portraits lying down.

It makes it so much easier to style the hair and get this soft, flowy look that I love in photography.

I dream of one day shooting with an inflatable pool full of water (and maybe some food coloring), but for now, I try to get a dreamy, weightless portrait with just a blanket and some flowers on the studio floor.

If you haven’t shot your model lying down, I highly suggest it! Play and experiment!

Fantasy Boudoir Photoshoot | Handmade Headdress

Find OOAK Fantasy Floral Headdresses & Boudoir Prints in the Etsy shop!

Although this stunning horned headdress will remain with me in the studio (it’s my favorite, what can I say?), there are plenty of OOAK fantasy headdresses available in the Shop!


This boudoir photoshoot is still one of my favorites, and there are boudoir prints available to build your collection!

Who Wants to Learn Self-Portrait Photography?

In other news, I’ve been thinking about getting started on some resources for aspiring self-portrait photographers…

Who would love to learn about self-portrait photography?


There are already some resources here in the blog, but I’d love to put together a book someday.

Drop a like and a comment and let me know your thoughts!