How to Take Self Portraits

How to take self portraits is a question asked often, and it came up a lot during this pandemic. You can’t always make it to a professional, so I wanted to share some quick tips to help you with your best selfie. That being said, during non-pandemic times, I do highly recommend a professional for all your photography needs. We have the proper equipment and know how. I can even bring my studio to your place so we can get those perfect headshots or brand images. Contact me if you’d like to chat about any of this or have any questions on the below presentation. And, at the bottom of this post, you can get a copy of the PDF I used in the presentation.

how to take self portraits seated pose in black and white
I don’t make it a habit of publishing pictures of myself, but this post called for a lot of me.

First of all, I shared these tips on a Zoom live and you can watch that below or directly on my YouTube Channel. Second to note, I starting speaking as soon as a giant storm was rolling through Austin. Needless to say, we had some technical issues. So, with that being said, I wanted to blog these tips as well so you can read them to go along with the video.

Strike a Pose: Main Topics

  1. Lighting and Location Matter – This section was only touched on briefly as it was the topic in a prior Zoom live, and blog post. The short summary is to consider the look you’re going for and make sure the light in that location works. Also, clear any clutter in that space so the focus stays on YOU.
  2. How to NOT Feel Awkward – The simple answer, get out of your head. I know this is easier said than done as we all have these hangups. But, the trick is to have an action in mind and follow through with that. You’ll forget everything else. Also, FAKE LAUGH, HOLD SOMETHING, PRETEND, and SMILE (or not if that’s your thing). My go to smile tip, press your tongue to the roof of your mouth. The corners of your mouth will naturally draw up. Think happy thoughts.
  3. Comfort and Connection*Reputation: Remember that your face is your brand. Your brand is your reputation. Make it meaningful. Whether that be on your website or on your social media, it all ties together. *Comfortable Atmosphere: When you are creating pictures in a place you’re comfortable, it will show in the final results. *Connect with your Audience: I can’t stress this enough! When you have strong images, it better helps you connect to your audience and that will help you and your business grow.
  4. How to Take Self Portraits – See below.

Tips on How to Take Self Portraits:

  1. All about angles. Nobody looks good when they’re photographed from below. Photos taken at this angle make you look heavier, shorter and will more than likely give you a bit of a double chin. Instead, make sure the camera is at face level, or slightly higher or take photos from a side angle.
  2. The neck. It might feel awkward at first, but try practicing moving your chin up slightly and your neck forward so that it accentuates your jaw.
  3. Sit correctly. If you’re sitting, cross your ankles instead of legs. It slims you and shows less thigh.
  4. Think before you get dressed. What you wear plays a big role in how you look in photos. Avoid bulky or baggy clothing that doesn’t fit you well. While darker clothes do make you look slimmer, if you want to go for brighter colors, stay away from any patterns that draw attention to your problem areas and always avoid horizontal stripes.
  5. Posture while standing. You will always look slimmer in photos if you twist your body slightly to create an angle. Place one leg in front of the other and keep your weight on your back leg. Put one hand on your hip or in a pocket, and keep your other arm relaxed at your side, not pushed up against your body. To accentuate your collarbones, stand up straight and push your shoulders back.
  6. Stool seated pose. If seated on a stool, sit flat on your bottom, one foot down, one foot up, knees shifted, not crossed, toward camera.
  7. Stick to the middle. Taking a group shot? Try and stay away from the end of the group if possible as people standing on the edges of the group always look a little bigger, especially with a wide angle lens.
  8. Armchair seated pose. Sit slightly on hip. Play with legs crossed at ankle, shifted to the side, or one knee higher. Core: Straight to camera or 45 degrees.  
  9. Head and shoulders. You can tilt your head to the back shoulder or front shoulder, depending on the look you want. Your shoulders should always be back and relaxed.  
stool seated pose of how to take self portraits
Stool Seated Pose
standing pose holding camera weight shifted to back leg arms away from the body
Standing Pose
Armchair pose how to take self portraits
Armchair Pose

Hand Poses

There are so many ways to place your hands, yet sometimes it seems the most complicated. Of course, my favorite tip here is to hold something in your hands and that will help more than anything. However, here are a few ideas when it’s just you.

Two Hand Lean: Never push so hard with your hands on your face. Gently rest them.

Thoughtful: So many variations of this one, but for woman, always show the side of your hand, never full on. That’s more masculine.

Neck Hold: Or you can run your hands through your hair.

Arms Crossed: This one is a pretty common go to for obvious reasons. It works great and on anyone!

hand poses how to take self portraits
Hand Poses

My best and final tip on how to take self portraits is to have fun!

Remember that confidence makes a big difference to your photos. So don’t forget to smile naturally and let your beauty shine through. Be yourself, and just have fun! Again, if you have any questions about any of this, I am more than happy to help. Just reach out. Don’t forget to sign up for my PDF below. xo

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    Jama Pantel Photography Signature
    Austin - Texas

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    Jama Pantel Photography Signature