Taking good selfies can be challenging. You have to juggle poses, expressions, lighting setups, and technical information.
It’s helpful to have go-to selfie poses or selfie ideas that you can use when you want to get that perfect shot. These great selfie ideas will come in handy regardless of what equipment you use.[ExpertPhotography is supported by readers. Product links on ExpertPhotography are referral links. If you use one of these and buy something we make a little bit of money. Need more info? See how it all works here.]
1. Take a Selfie at Your Favourite Place
You can describe the beauty of a location by taking a photo of yourself enjoying it.
Express your love of travelling by snapping a good selfie in the outdoors, with plenty of natural lighting.
Show your love of coffee through breakfast selfie poses on your balcony. Or a flattering selfie in your favourite cafe.
When photographing what means a lot to you, you’ll notice more details and atmospheres. Your favourite locations will become even more precious. This will lead to great selfies and perfect profile pictures.
2. Create a Double Exposure to Add Creativity
If you want to become a better editor and end up with creative selfies, take a deep breath and make a double exposure self-portrait.
My camera doesn’t support that. So I use Photoshop instead.
Whichever approach you use, make sure you experiment with a variety of photographs. Here are a few photo ideas that might enhance your portraits:
3. Try Expressive Selfie Poses With Your Pet
When they want to, animals can be very expressive. This is a great way to experiment with new facial expressions and creative selfie ideas. Even if it means having to yawn for a self-portrait!
If you want to take your pet selfies to the next level, create themes inspired by your pet’s expression. Some of these themes can be curiosity, playfulness, or sleepiness.
(Make sure you reward your pet with treats during your photoshoot. My cat loves my camera because of this!)
4. Become a Different Person With Selfie Props
This is especially great for people who don’t want to show their real face. But they still want to learn how to capture a good selfie.
I know a few photographers whose self-portraits look nothing like them! Cristina Otero is a perfect example of this.
If you can’t invest in lots of fancy props, you can shop in thrift stores. Or you can create your own costumes, or manipulate your photos in Photoshop instead.
5. Make Your Birthday a Selfie Tradition
You might be familiar with time-related projects like pregnancy and beard growth updates. Projects like these reveal, in photo or video form, how life changes over a long period of time.
You can do the same thing with birthdays or other special events, and use them as selfie ideas.
If there’s something you do once or a few times a year, make a selfie tradition out of it. For example, I take selfies on my birthday. I love seeing how my face and photography skills change over time.
Projects like this aren’t something you can work on all the time. But they’re worth the wait in the long run.
6. Embrace Minimalism Using Everyday Objects
Your selfie ideas don’t have to be super complicated all the time. Try experimenting with everyday items that you would take for granted.
That plant in your apartment could be a beautiful blurred foreground.
Your (sun)glasses could become your temporary photo filters for abstract selfie ideas. And that hot cup of coffee or tea could make a debut in a cosy morning portrait.
Open yourself up to the normality of everyday life. You’ll find lots of amazing selfie ideas that will enhance your portraits.
7. Practice Your Candid Photography Skills With Selfies
Candid photography is all about unexpected movements and spontaneity. You can achieve both in self-portrait photography.
If you want to become a better candid photographer, you can practise on yourself. Make up a story for yourself and embody someone else in front of your camera. You can take selfies while lying down or while standing up.
This will help you when you have a real candid photoshoot. You won’t have trouble finding the perfect moments to photograph.
8. Take a Classic Black & White Selfie to Highlight Facial Features
Black & white portraits highlight textures, striking facial features, and subtle expressions. Vibrant colours would overshadow these.
Freckles, wrinkles, and bright eyes will all stand out in a monochrome portrait. And create a classic and unforgettable image. Or you can take a silly face selfie, and enhance it with black and white.
To take a great black & white selfie, you can either shoot in B&W mode or convert to B&W in your editing program.
I prefer the latter because it gives me more control over highlights and shadows.
You can also make your black & white portraits stand out even more. To do this, increase their sharpness and clarity.
If you need inspiration, watch a few old Hollywood films. Or look through a talented B&W photographer’s work.
Some of my favourite monochrome artists are Yousuf Karsh, Dorothea Lange, and Sally Mann.
9. Make Your Selfie Gallery Pop With a Surreal Photo
Some knowledge of Photoshop might come in handy here. But it’s not always necessary.
If you plan to add unusual elements to your selfies, you’ll need to be familiar with masking and colour correction.
Whenever I work on a set of surreal photos, I start to see the world from a new perspective. Surreal photography is an excuse to recreate your wildest dreams. And an endless inspiration for unique selfie ideas.
Think of it as an opportunity to let your creativity do whatever it wants. Everything will appear to have more potential once you embrace this genre.
If you’ve got some interesting Halloween costumes lying around, this might be the time to bring them out.
10. Make Your Own Selfie Studio Using a Lamp
DIY studios don’t have to have professional lighting equipment. You can get better at using artificial light without investing in expensive gear.
We all have torches and lamps in our homes. You can use these to create fine art portraits like the ones above. Or to light up an interesting selfie. Using them, you can create:
- A rainbow light effect. All you need is a CD and a torch.
- Mysterious sidelight. This is what I used in the image below.
- Gorgeous backlight for silhouettes.
- Soft direct light. You can soften harsh light using hair, paper, or curtains, creating good lighting and better selfies.
11. Have a Fun DIY Rainy Day Selfie Shoot
We all know that taking photos in the rain isn’t a good idea for our cameras. It might give you great opportunities for creative selfie ideas. But you need to keep your camera and tripod dry.
And you have to watch out for strangers and strong winds.
An alternative to real rain is DIY rain. Despite its strange name, this is very accessible and practical. You can use DIY rain at any time of day to create gorgeous bokeh and textures.
The best thing about it is that you can control its intensity and angles.
12. Create a Sense of Mystery by Using Silhouettes
As common as silhouettes are, they’re worth including in your selfie ideas.
Like idea #4, silhouettes are ideal for those who don’t want to show too much of their face in a selfie. They’re also great for creative compositions with more than a human subject.
Silhouettes also play a significant role in surreal photography. Floating objects and mysterious shadows aren’t uncommon.
To take a beautiful silhouette, stand in front of one source of light. As you can see in the image below, the source doesn’t have to be very bright.
Make sure your background is brighter than your subject. That way you’ll be able to take an eye-catching portrait.
13. Stick to One Selfie Format to Have a Tidy Portfolio
There are some photographers who crop their photos in a specific way. This results in galleries that look as appealing as the ones on Instagram.
You don’t have to change your portfolio style completely. But you can create a series of photos with specific measurements.
Cropped selfies will have the same effect as limited resources. You’ll learn to work with very little, which will help you thrive as an artist.
14. Take Faceless Selfies to Appear Candid
I’m a photographer who often takes selfies. I understand how tiring it can be to pose during every photo shoot. And how draining it can be to try new facial expressions for new selfie ideas.
There are ways you can show off an outfit or a location without even looking at the camera. One of my favourite ways to achieve this is through faceless portraiture.
Right before your press the shutter, turn away from the camera. You can also hide your face with your hands, hair, or an object.
This will make your photos look candid. But it will also add a sense of familiarity to your work. You won’t be completely hidden. And you’ll get to capture your environment without completely erasing yourself from it. Win-win!
If you need inspiration for this genre, I recommend visiting Elizabeth Gadd’s portfolio. She takes breathtaking self-portraits at breathtaking locations.
Most of the time, she doesn’t even show her face!
Her work proves that you don’t always have to look at the camera to take an impactful self-portrait.
15. Get That Perfect Selfie Light at Golden Hour
This is the perfect time for professional and amateur photographers. From landscape photography to candid portrait photography.
If you want to take a beautiful selfie, these times of day will help you do that better.
The golden hour is flexible. You can use it to light yourself directly, from the side, or from behind.
16. Use Window Reflections to Add Depth to Your Selfies
Window reflections will highlight your best features. They’ll make your portrait look like elegant double exposures. And they’ll add interesting elements to your composition.
All you have to do is stand behind a window and shoot!
As you take window portraits, keep angles in mind. Sometimes, a window will reflect too much and hide your entire face.
Other times, it will reflect your camera and ruin your shot. To avoid this, never shoot directly in front of the window.
If you’re taking a selfie, don’t hold your hand right in front of your face. Angles are everything when it comes to reflections of any kind.
When I run out of selfie ideas, I find a lot of inspiration in lists like these.
I hope these 16 selfie ideas motivate you to go beyond your limits and experiment with everything you have. The more selfie ideas you open yourself up to, the more diverse your portfolio will look. And the more gorgeous your selfies will be.
Remember: No matter how complicated or simple your selfie ideas are, you can turn them into masterpieces. All you have to do is practise and persist!