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25+ Tips for Better Selfie Photos with Mobile Cameras

If you have an option, natural light should be preferred for a better selfie photo.
Samyak Lalit | June 6, 2014 (Last update: September 13, 2019)

Samyak Lalit is an Indian author and disability rights activist. He is the principal author and founder of projects like TechWelkin, WeCapable, Viklangta, Kavita Kosh among many others.

“Selfie” refers to a photograph of someone clicked by oneself. If I click my own photo, it will be called a selfie. With the rise in availability of high-res cameras in mobile phones and tablet computers —the trend of taking self-photographs has gathered steam. Now taking and posting selfies on social media channels, like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc. is very much part of the urban culture all over the world. The trend is so popular that even the word “selfie” (coined by a photographer Jim Krause) made into the Oxford English Dictionary.

Although, taking selfies is now a very common thing, but most people don’t know that clicking selfies is an art like other forms of photography. They keep on experimenting in hope of clicking a professional quality perfect selfie. But they fail! Here I am presenting a list of tips that will surely make your selfie taking experience much more satisfying. Read on!

These selfie taking tips can make your photos look much smarter!

Lighting for a Selfie

1. Background light is bad

While taking photos, selfie or otherwise, light coming from behind the photo-subject is one of the biggest cause for cameras producing bad shots. Background light “blinds” the camera lens. As a result, it does not properly see the subject. Instead of subject the background light takes the center-stage.

So, make sure that there is no light coming from behind you. If there is a light source (like a lamp) behind you, you should change your or lamp’s position to bring it in front of you.

2. Light from front is good

Make sure that enough light is falling on you from the front or side. Your face and body should be well-lit. If enough light is not there, you may try to put a lamp in front of you.

3. Natural light gives best results

The urge of taking a selfie may arise anytime and anywhere. When it does, try to come in natural light if possible (for example near an opened door or window). Natural light is better for taking photos because it highlights more colors and with more precision.

If you have an option, natural light should be preferred for a better selfie photo.

If you have an option, natural light should be preferred for a better selfie photo.

4. Avoid too strong light

If the source of light is too strong (e.g. light from a lamp falling straight on you) then you should try to defuse and soften it. A simple method is to bring a thin and translucent sheet between light source and yourself. The sheet should not be so thick and be placed in such a way so that it allows permeation of enough light on you.

5. Avoid florescent light

In absence of natural light, if you’re shooting selfie in artificial light, it is better to switch off that florescent lamp and use another light source. Florescence causes natural colors to look different in photos.

Setting up the scene

6. Clean your surroundings

Before tapping that shoot button on your camera screen, you should clean-up the view that is coming in background. Selfies (and other photos) don’t look good if the main subject is surrounded by a lot of clutter.

Cluttered background distracts the focus away from you. Plain backgrounds are much better.

Cluttered background distracts the focus away from you. Plain backgrounds are much better.

7. Come in front of a beautiful background

Not only that you should unclutter your surroundings, it would also be good if you could move and take selfie in front of a pretty-looking background (e.g. a wall painting, greenery or whatever seems beautiful to you!). It will only enhance the quality of your self-portrait.

8. Don’t let distractions in

A few things that may look pretty and interesting to you, may actually prove to be distracting. You should make sure that when someone look at your selfie, you should be the only subject which draws most of the attention of viewer; come on this is YOUR portrait after all! So, the the rule is that the background should be good but not distracting. Example of a distracting background could be a movie poster.

Tips for better selfie

Tips for better selfie

9. Plain background is also elegant

You may consider a plain wall as background in case you want to put all the focus on yourself. A plain wall sometimes turns out to be a great background if it has the right color and texture. Benefit of plain background is that there exist nothing but you that catches the eyeballs in selfie.

10. Don’t hide famous stuff

In case you’re taking a touristic selfie —you must make sure that the monument or scene behind you is clearly visible. Standing right in front of Tower of Pisa and hiding most of it behind your face is not a good idea. In such scenarios, you should adjust your position such that both you and the monument are visible.

11. Avoid photo bombers

Last but certainly not the least, you should watch out for the photo bombers. These are objects or people that can spoil your selfie and make it a laughing stock. Want examples? Well, for example, while you were busy pressing shoot button, a friend of yours could playfully pop two fingers behind your head -to make you look like having horns! Or an innocuous electricity pole behind you may look as though it is protruding out of the shoulder!

Avoid photo bombs. Check your surroundings before you take a selfie.

Avoid photo bombs. Check your surroundings before you take a selfie.

Do your background check and make sure you have a good backdrop for an excellent selfie.

Ready Yourself for a Good Selfie

12. Stay calm, casual and composed

A number of people become a bit nervous while taking their own photos. They may not realize it but their visage does not appear without stress in selfies. You should not take selfie as a photo session. Take it as a fun activity and do it sportingly. More natural you will remain, better would be the results.

13. Duckface is a strict NO NO.

To get rid of their nervousness, people tend to make faces while taking a selfie. This is not a good idea unless that is exactly is your purpose. Don’t pout, don’t distort your face, don’t make a kissing gesture with your lips. All these things are okay once in a while —but overdoing it will spoil the show. A good professional looking selfie will be devoid of such things.

Making duckface might be amusing sometimes but mostly it does not turn out to be a great photo.

Making duckface might be amusing sometimes but mostly it does not turn out to be a great photo.

14. Don’t be a straight-jacket

Relax! Don’t make your body or face look tense. Don’t stand with your arms hanging hopelessly down your shoulders. Don’t stand alert like a solider ready to follow orders. As I said above, being and looking natural is the key of a good selfie.

15. Take a few deep breaths

Taking deep breaths is an age-old technique to relieve stress. If you’re actually feeling that you’re becoming too conscious about taking selfie, better first relax yourself with a few deep breaths.

16. Say cheese, smile please!

A smile is perhaps the most important ingredient of a good self-portrait. Try to put a smile on your face and it would be even better that your shiny teeth are also visible. Elegant teeth make smile look real and full.

A smile does invariably adds pleasure in your selfie. Wear your smile!

A smile does invariably adds pleasure in your selfie. Wear your smile!

17. Check out your teeth

In your front camera, look at your teeth and see if they are clean. You don’t want a piece of spinach, broccoli or coriander etc. from your last meal sticking out. That would be embarrassing. No?

18. Decide about angle

This is one of the most crucial aspect of selfie taking process. Lucky are those whose face is photogenic no matter which angle you look at it. But for most people, a particular angle is better than another angle. Therefore, you should adjust your camera angle so that it captures the best of you.

19. Outstretched arm

Your selfie can often be recognized as a self-taken picture because it shows your outstretched arm that held the camera. It takes away the genuineness factor from the selfie. Make sure that you don’t show outstretched arm and also try to hide even the hint of it. All this is a matter of adjustment of camera and angle.

Avoid showing the outstretched arm. Sometimes it may be difficult but nonetheless, give it a try.

Avoid showing the outstretched arm. Sometimes it may be difficult but nonetheless, give it a try.

20. Face turning

You should bow your head low enough to bring it in line with the camera. Too high head will show what all is there inside your nostrils and too much of bowing will show your forehead far bigger than the rest of your face.

Tech Tips for Taking Better Selfies

21. Use back camera

Whenever possible, take selfie with backside camera on your mobile device. Back cameras often have much higher resolution and therefore picture quality is always much better (Instagram-worthy) than what is possible with front-facing camera (which is usually the one with VGA resolution)

22. Focus on your face

If you are using front-facing camera to take selfie, you should tap on phone screen where your face is appearing. This helps camera to focus on your face. Sometimes, due to lack of this tiny tap, the camera gets focused on something else and your own face go out of focus and look blurred.

23. Use flash from a distance

Depending on the situation of light, you should decide whether or not using camera flash is a good idea. Most mobile cameras have auto-flash feature but I would suggest that you don’t rely on it. Sometimes, camera may decide not to flash even though there is not enough light. So, you should explicitly use flash. But, while using flash, keep camera away from your face. Strong and sudden light from flash-lamp can blind you if it flashes too close to your eyes.

24. Steady your camera

If your hands are shaking, selfie may come blurred and you may have to retake several time to get a good enough shot. Try to rest your camera holding hand on something or, even better, use a tripod to fix the camera in position.

25. Use camera timer

Make use of the timer feature as it allows much flexibility to you. If you fix mobile phone against a support or on a tripod and use timer, you can really click some great photos of yourself. Use of timer gives you time to take position, strike a pose, adjust with the background and can also help solving trouble of out-stretched arm and out of focus photos (due to shaky hand).

I hope these tips will help you taking better selfie photos. If you have any more such tips, please do share for the benefit of all. Don’t hesitate in making comments on this article. Thank you!


6 responses to “25+ Tips for Better Selfie Photos with Mobile Cameras”

  1. lavish says:

    Thank you very much. I got much to learn from this article.

  2. ATHARVA says:

    I liked this very much. I would like to be a blogger like you!!! Once again thanks for uploading this information.

  3. shubham kashyap says:

    Hi Sir, I have seen websites of many blogger but my overall experience can tell that yours is the best one.

    I don’t know how to contact you. I kept following your website for last few days. It would be my good fortune if you will personally help me out in tutoring myself!

    • Lalit Kumar says:

      Dear Shubham, thank you for liking my website! I publish several articles to help new bloggers as well. If you will follow these articles, you will be able to gain good insight on how to be a successful blogger. All the best!

  4. Sayantan Das says:

    Very helpful website.

    • Lalit Kumar says:

      Sayantan, thank you for reading and taking time out to comment. I am glad you found this website useful! Stay connected with TechWelkin!

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