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16 Best Selfie Ideas to Make Your Profile Photos Stand Out

Last updated: September 21, 2023 - 14 min read
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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.

Precise Timing Control
PHOLSY C6 Remote Control with Intervalometer
Remote Control with Intervalometer
Looking for inspiration for your next selfie ideas? Try adding a time-lapse shot to your profile with an easy-to-use intervalometer remote control.

1. 5 Selfie Ideas at Your Favourite Place

You can describe the beauty of a location by taking a photo of yourself enjoying it.

Express your love of traveling 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.

A creative selfie idea of a female model posing outdoors
Up in the mountains of Cyprus, there’s a lone willow tree that looks gorgeous in the summer. It’s the perfect location for a peaceful photo shoot.

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.

Some cameras, like the Nikon D7500 and the Canon 5D Mark III, can create in-camera double exposures.

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:

Artistic selfie of a female model posing against a black background
In addition to my self-portrait, I used two stock photos of bokeh and raindrops to create this image.

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!)

Artistic portrait of a female model posing with a stripy cat - creative selfies
My cat is unpredictable when it comes to expressions. In this photo, she was amazed by the camera’s blinking light. I quickly copied her expression before she became restless again.

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.

A portrait of a female model with blue hair - great selfie poses
You don’t always have to dress up for a photoshoot. In this photo, I only changed the color of my eyes and hair in Photoshop.

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.

Artistic portrait of a female model posing in green clothes against a green background -creative selfie poses
I took this photo when I turned 18. Though the photo didn’t mean much to me at the time, it stands out to me now that I’m 21 years old. Birthdays are a great way to celebrate how far you’ve come.

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.

Atmospheric portrait of a female model - great selfie poses
A simple curtain and sunlight helped me take this tranquil photo, which is one of my favourite personal self-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.

Capturing fast movements requires knowledge of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. By being both the model and the camera expert, you’ll be able to improve your skills.

This will help you when you have a real candid photoshoot. You won’t have trouble finding the perfect moments to photograph.

Artistic portrait of a female model posing outdoors - creative selfie poses
Most of the photos from this shoot looked awkward. But the final result made all that hard work worth it. Keep this in mind – You won’t always look fabulous. But you’ll always be on the road to becoming a better photographer.

8. Take a Classic Black & White Selfie to Highlight Facial Features

Black & white portraits highlight textures, striking facial features, and subtle expressions. Vibrant colors 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.

a great black & white self-portrait of a female model - how to take a good selfie
The colors in the original version looked too distracting. I converted it to B&W and love the result.

9. Make Your Selfie Gallery Pop With a Surreal Photo

Surreal portraits are ones that go beyond what the human eye expects to see. Levitation, abstract movements, and clones are a few popular themes used in this genre.

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 color 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.

A great selfie photo of a girl posing outdoors with a crow flying by her shoulder
This original photo featured just one subject. I added the bird, which was a free stock photo, in Photoshop. After that, I color corrected the entire image. That way the bird blended into the image in a natural way.

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.
Atmospheric portrait of a female model - great selfie poses
All I needed to take this photo was a lamp. My hair softened the harsh lamplight without completely blocking it out.

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.

Depending on the kind of rainy shoot you want to have, you can use a garden hose or a spray bottle.

A rainy day shoot of a female model - creative selfie ideas and poses
I asked a friend to spray water on me using a garden hose. Because of a slight breeze, a few drops ended up on my camera, but they didn’t affect the image. Of course, I had to do this during the golden hour.

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.

Atmospheric portrait of a female model posing against a window at night- creative selfie poses and ideas
I took this photo at around 8 or 9 p.m. in the summer. Because of the scattered building lights, I was able to take a well-lit silhouette. I didn’t need to increase my ISO number too much or show my face.

13. Stick to One Selfie Format to Have a Tidy Portfolio

There’s a reason Instagram accounts are so appealing. Neat square boxes are a pleasure to look at regardless of how tidy you are.

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.

For instance, you can crop your self-portraits so that they’re all in a neat, square format. This is something that Oleg Oprisco often does.

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.

Atmospheric portrait of a female model posing against a white background - great selfie poses
The original image was vertical. By cropping it, I emphasised my own features. And I removed distractions like bright bokeh and stray hairs.

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.

Autumn portrait of a female walking through the forest - great selfie ideas
Now that autumn is approaching in some countries, it’s the perfect time to improve your landscape and portrait photography skills. And to try faceless portraiture.

15. Get That Perfect Selfie Light at Golden Hour

Shortly after sunrise and before sunset, the magic hour begins.

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.

My favourite golden hour light is from the back. Stand in front of the sun (as you would for a silhouette photo) and take those perfect self-portraits.

Atmospheric portrait of a female model posing outdoors - creative selfie ideas

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.

Atmospheric portrait of a female model looking through a window - great selfie poses
Window reflections are often blurred out. They create soft bokeh that’s perfect for simple portraits.


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!

Learn how to earn an income with your portrait photography with Profit from Portraits! Or check out Social Media Strategies for all the best social media tips!

Precise Timing Control
PHOLSY C6 Remote Control with Intervalometer
Remote Control with Intervalometer
Looking for inspiration for your next selfie ideas? Try adding a time-lapse shot to your profile with an easy-to-use intervalometer remote control.