How to Take the Perfect Selfie with Your Phone: A How-To Guide for That Perfect Shot

smiling woman during autumn surrounded by yellow leaves

Taking your own pictures is a great way to express yourself by creating content at any point and wherever you are. Inspiration might come as a thought or idea, or maybe you’ve stumbled upon a perfect location you wish to photograph yourself in. Skip the middleman and take control of your photos by following key steps that will improve your content. 

As a rule of thumb, I always like to remind myself that selfies are more than close-up shots of our faces. Yes, this is traditionally what comes to mind when we think of these kinds of photos, but don’t let this thought drain your imagination. A selfie is indeed any shot of yourself taken by you. You are a model, photographer, and art director all at once. 

Tired of asking your friends and people around you to take pictures of you? Or even worse, tired of having others never get the right shot? Selfies are as much about creative control as they are about fun and enjoyment, so pick a theme and location and photograph away. 

How to Take a Better Selfie by Paying Attention to a Few Technical Aspects 

Let’s start by taking a few tips and tricks from professional photography; specifically in relation to stability and positioning. A tripod is the obvious tool for placing your phone in the best possible positions to get a perfect shot. Tripods help you find accuracy and are easy to transport, which makes them versatile and precise. 


But tripods are not the only way to position a camera for a great shot. Playing around with objects and features from a building can be unexpected sources of inspiration. A window, for example, can be the perfect height or a new and interesting angle. A fence might also surprise you by capturing a stunning outdoor shot. Books, tables, vases, and other furniture are also fair game. 

In regards to focus, play around with positions and always test out by putting your hand out in the desired area or by using a prop. This is perhaps the hardest element to nail down, however phones with higher quality cameras usually have good focus capabilities. 

And of course we can’t forget about setting timers accordingly. This might sound like an unimportant step, but knowing how much time you need to position yourself will save you precious time when shooting in busy locations. 

Start by Scanning Your Surroundings

Let’s return to the idea that a selfie is a lot more than a face or body shot. Since you are also playing the role of all around editor then finding inspiration and the right location is a very important step. Where you decide to shoot yourself should be a place that gets you a photo that is captivating and that will make viewers stop and stare. 

And what is a good surrounding? Well, if a spot makes you stop to admire its beauty and if it makes your imagination run with ideas then you’re at the right location. Beautifully decorated interiors, rooms with unique objects such as textured rugs, wall art, and well designed furniture are all great places to start. Blend all these elements properly by using a preset like IG Style, which will give a classic and polished feel to all your photos.

Naturally, shooting in a beautiful location like a fancy hotel or luxurious house can get you great results. But I would say that inspiration comes from within and unexpectedly, which is why working with what you have is an excellent rule to follow. When you incorporate the environments you are usually in, you give your viewers a glimpse into your daily life. 

How do You Take a Good Selfie in Nature?

Another common misconception about selfies is that they always take place indoors. However once we realize that a good photo is a mix of posing and location, we quickly become aware that nature is the perfect location for a self-directed shoot.

Nature always looks good. It is vibrant, diverse, full of life, and more importantly free and easy to find. Even the largest and busiest cities have beautiful parks that can be interesting locations to frame your next visual adventure. 

Natural light is also a benefit of shooting outdoors in nature. Not only does the sun give photos an excellent filter-like quality, but the way light travels through and reflects off natural elements adds uniqueness and emotion. Bring out natural beauty even more with a preset like IG Style Summer, which will give you tanned smooth skin and will bring out whites and blues for a warm and sunny feel

Adding to these benefits are the colors found in nature. Gradients and tones in these locations are always aesthetically pleasing and are a great background for a variety of skin tones and clothing items. Nature adapts to so many themes and is guaranteed to draw the attention of a variety of people since it is so relatable and appealing. 

What Should I Wear to Take Great Selfies?

So far, we’ve looked into a few technicalities and have given attention to the importance of environments. The next step is to start incorporating yourself into the scene you are planning, and I’m specifically talking about what you should wear in order to blend in properly while also standing out. 

An important rule is to avoid bold prints and logos. In terms of bold prints, they can quickly mess up the balance of a selfie since these photos tend to be focused and somewhat intimate. Logos on the other hand, become unnecessary focal points that shift the photo from composition to a billboard without direction. 

Perhaps the most important guiding principle when it comes to clothing and accessorising when taking a selfie is to complement your background. Do this by thinking in terms of sets and matching colors. Three blue things in one shot, two natural shades against each other, and wearing contrasting colors are all examples of how to make yourself part of your surroundings. 

Attitude is Everything when Looking to Take Better Selfies 

And now comes introducing ourselves into the composition we are planning, and no better word to describe how we should approach this step than attitude. This word means so many things, and it can take the form of a variety of moods and states of being, from ecstatic happiness to darker nostalgia.

The reason why showing attitude in our photos is so important is because it brings out raw and diverse emotion. Whenever I think about the selfies I can’t stop staring at, the ones that come to mind are always filled with genuine personality and feeling. Fashion photographers are experts at this, and models are constantly trying to externalise their thoughts through poses. 

Confidence is also essential when expressing your inner-self. Don’t hesitate to show a specific mood or emotion, and use the environment you’ve selected to draw a response that makes your viewers feel touched. 

How to Take Cool Selfies Using Minimalism as Inspiration 

Selfies are meant to be personal and special snapshots of your life for others to enjoy and feel intrigued by, and minimalism is a perfect guide for achieving this type of closeness. And this is because minimalist approaches to photography and set design are meant to bring focus to specific elements in photos in an airy and modern way. 

Because minimalism is based on simple compositions, it can help you get your environment and clothing right the first time. Layered neutral tones, heavy use of white, wearing black in front of a simple and light colored background, and taking closer shots that accentuate specific parts of your body are examples of minimalist approaches to taking selfies. 

Another way you can apply this trend to your selfies is by using filters and presets that brighten tones and highlight empty space in you pictures. An excellent tool for a minimal finish is Minimal Mobile, a stylish preset that adds cohesion through high contrast and stark light

Shoot with a Clear Purpose and Goal in Mind 

When taking a photo of yourself it is important to be clear on what the goal of your photoshoot is. What exactly do you want to focus on and why? Having a clear idea about this will help you organize your thoughts when selecting a background, props, setting the height of your phone, picking your outfits, and selecting poses. 

For example, if your intention is to show happiness during a morning at home, then photographing yourself in a sunny spot surrounded by personal items such as pillows and textiles is a logical first step. Your clothing selection should be comfortable, poses should be sincere and uncomplicated, and your mood should convey happiness and calmness through smiles and soft eyes. 

When setting out your goal get inspired by other photos you’ve seen before that match the theme you are going for, and study the elements in that photo that make it full of emotion and beauty. Don’t forget to also play around with poses since something unexpected might actually be the right pose to get your message across. 

Fun, Creativity, and Trying New Things Will Get You the Best Selfies 

Taking a good selfie and becoming good at taking these is something that takes time and effort. This is why trying over and over again within a photoshoot and throughout your life will help you get better shots and will make you an expert. Chances are the best shot will come from experimenting and trying different things time and time again.

When testing out different environments and poses make sure that you are always having fun. If you are enjoying yourself this will show in pictures and will also make you feel energetic and motivated. Even the most calm pictures need a bit of energy, and there is a clear connection between fun and inspiration. 

Next, always remember to get creative and don’t stop yourself from exploring new spaces or places to shoot. The more unique you are with where and how you shoot the more viewers you are likely to get. Visit new locations in your city, try wild and different poses, take a trip to a location with lots of nature, and style yourself with clothing and accessories you never thought you’d wear. 

Never Stop Learning and Adjusting!

An excellent tip for improving your selfies is to be aware of your learning journey by noticing what works and what doesn’t. Photographing yourself involves technique, understanding light and color, knowing your features and angles, and fine tuning how and where you look for inspiration. 

In your learning journey, think like an actor or model when trying new things and take note of what you liked and disliked about the photos you experiment with. Your viewers want to see you try new things and the more you learn about photography and how to show different moods the more you will get captivating results. 

In this journey of learning and acting out your ideas and inspirations, continue to make small changes and adjustments so that you keep getting better. You felt your last shot needed more emotion? Or was the location not exactly as interesting as you would have liked it to be? Then adjust for next time and watch your selfies progress and reach sheer perfection.