More Natural Self Portraits: 8 Ideas To Help You Look Your Best

Mid-February still counts as the beginning of the New Year, right? How are those New Year’s resolutions going for everyone? Hopefully, one of your New Year’s resolutions is to get into the frame more yourself, so I wanted to share a few tips to help you get a beautiful, natural self portrait where you are looking your best. Because, let’s be real, we all want to look our best in photos, right? 🙂

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  1. Don’t take a headshot. Okay, bear with me here! I know that part of the reason you might want to take self portraits is for a nice headshot… but headshots are absolute hardest type of self portrait to get. I have been specializing in self portraits for years now, and I still feel incredibly awkward in front of the camera when I am taking a headshot. The idea of looking straight into the lens and knowing that it is cropped close in on my face and will show every nuance of my expression makes me completely panic and stiffen up. It feels much more natural to look away from the camera. 

  1. If you need to take a headshot… have someone else press the shutter. Ask a friend or your husband or even your child! You are more likely to get a genuine expression when you have your loved ones there to evoke some emotions rather than just the tripod. Please excuse the blurriness of this photo here!! I didn’t have very many good examples of this one, because I kind of hate headshots, hahaha!

  1. Even better, get your loved ones in the frame too! Capture the connection between you and them, rather than the connection between you and the camera 😉 Put your younger kids in charge of the remote to make them feel like they are an important part of the process! This has been my favorite kind of self portrait recently. I love making Sam get in the frame with me, as can be evidenced in all my Pieces of Life posts!

  1. Remember to pose yourself. We’re all photographers here! Just because you are taking a self portrait and you are your own subject doesn’t mean that all the posing rules you know don’t apply. For women, it is generally more flattering to shoot down at yourself. Bringing your chin forward and down (thank you Sue Bryce!) is slimming, as is turning at an angle to the camera. You want to make sure to bring your chin forward before bringing it down to avoid getting the dreaded double chin. 

  1. Shake out those hands. Hands are the biggest indicator of tension in photos, especially in a self portrait! I will literally take a client’s hand and shake it to get it to relax. Think ballet hands and try to avoid having the back of your hand facing the camera.

  1. Play some music to get you in the mood. Music is incredibly emotional and can also be very relaxing! If you are trying for a more upbeat photo, play a catchy song that you love. If you are capturing a moodier photo, perhaps play a song about heartbreak. Alternatively, you can play some light piano music for some background noise.

  1. Play dress up. I always find that if I am in a favorite dress, have some make up on, or curl my hair, I feel a lot more comfortable in front of the camera because it is capturing a more polished version of me 😉

I hope these tips were helpful! If you’re looking for more tips and tricks on how to take self portraits, check out my breakout in the CMStore, Being Your Own Model: Artistic Self Portraiture

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