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How to Take Good Photos of Yourself: Tips on Angles, Lighting, Outfits and More

how to take good photos
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Bausch + Lomb, the makers of LUMIFY® redness reliever eye drops. All opinions are my own.

While it would be lovely to have a full-time photographer or someone at my disposal to take my pictures at all times, that’s simply not reality—and I’m sure many of you can relate! So, if you’re wondering how to take good photos of yourself when you’re on your own… I’ve got you covered.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Find good lighting.

This will be the most important aspect of taking a good photo of yourself. Lighting is EVERYTHING, and has the ability to turn a blah photo into an incredible photo.

Whenever possible, you’re going to want to avoid bright, fluorescent overhead lighting.

You’ll notice it has the tendency to make you look washed out, and creates weird shadows in places you likely don’t want to draw attention to.

If you’re indoors, during the day…

Your best bet is to position yourself in front of a window. Natural light is your best friend! Your face (not your back) should be facing the light.

how to take good instagram photos of yourself

I took this photo in front of a window in natural light. Notice how the lighting highlights my cheekbones, nose, and forehead? That’s the goal!

A window + portrait mode + a flattering angle = selfie gold. (More on angles later!)

If you’re indoors at night, or you don’t have a window…

Position yourself in front of a lamp or (better yet) a ring light if you have one. Another hack that works for close-up shots? The light from your laptop!

If you’re outdoors…

The prettiest natural lighting happens during two periods throughout the day: in the morning just after sunrise, and in the evening, just before sunset.

If you can’t take photos during these periods, I’d recommend finding a shady spot rather than trying to shoot in direct sunlight!

While it might seem contradictory, shade is actually much softer and more flattering lighting-wise than direct sunlight, which can cause harsh lines and shadows.

Learn your angles.

This is the hardest thing for most people and definitely takes practice.

For selfies or close-up portraits…

One easy thing to keep in mind when you’re taking a selfie with your phone, is that it’s best to position the camera from higher up angle, rather than below your chin. (See how I’m positioned in the photo above?)

You can also play around with turning your face slightly to the right or to the left (depending on what your “good side” is) so that you’re not looking dead straight into the camera.

You’ll actually notice that I do this in A LOT of my photos! I find that tilting my head to the side and looking slightly off-center is more flattering for my face shape.

For full body photos…

Here comes my best-kept secret for taking good photos of yourself. Ready for it?

Do something with your hands. People tend to feel really awkward (myself included) when posing for a photo alone. Because, honestly, what are you supposed to do with your hands?!

The trick is keeping your hand (or hands) busy. You can hold something—like a cup of coffee, a handbag, a pair of sunglasses—or rest your hand on a table, gently touch your hair, put your hand in your pocket… you get the gist.

As long as you give one of your hands something to do, you’ll feel 20x less awkward.

how to take good instagram photos of yourself

Prep for your photo.

While I do sometimes take photos on the fly, I find that I usually end up with the best results when I plan in advance, especially if I’m taking a photo of myself.

Prep yourself!

When you look your best, you feel your best. For me, that means hydrated skin. I know that my complexion looks better in photos when I use a sheet mask + lots of oil the night before.

Another thing I notice that makes a huge difference? My eyes look more radiant if they are less red. As you know, I’m a huge fan of LUMIFY® redness reliever eye drops.

If I’m getting ready to take photos (especially close-ups!) and I notice my eyes are red, I use LUMIFY drops. Just one drop in each eye starts working in one minute to reduce redness to help my eyes look photo ready for up to 8 hours.

If you look back at the photos I posted above, you’ll notice how LUMIFY helps to restore my eyes’ natural glow. It makes such a big difference in my photos.

Check out this before and after below!

Plan your outfit and location.

Even if I’m just taking a photo in my own apartment, having inspo in advance is super important. Sometimes I’ll even put a mood board together to help. I constantly find creative ideas that I never would have thought of by browsing accounts from other creators or products.

If I’m shooting at a location, planning in advance is even more crucial. I like to think about the backdrop and how my outfit will play into it.

For example: if you’re taking a photo outside in the snow, what color will really make your photo pop against the white backdrop?

The red jacket in this photo was a no-brainer! I knew it would really stand out against the white snowy backdrop.

Get a tripod.

One of the best things you can do if you’re trying to learn how to take a good photo of yourself? Get a tripod.

If you’re just shooting photos on your phone, a lightweight tripod will be a cheap game-changer.

Nowadays, many tripods even come with a remote that syncs to your phone, allowing you to “click” when you’re ready for the shot.

Alternatively, most phones have a great self-timer option that will shoot a series of photos simultaneously. If you’re using the self-timer option, I’d recommend keeping your volume on so that you can hear when the shutter starts going off.

I’d also suggest trying different poses, angles, and positions.

Of course, it’s possible to take a good photo of yourself without a tripod (by balancing your phone on a table or ledge) but I’d only do that in a pinch 🙂

If you do decide to balance your phone somewhere, I’d at least suggest sandwiching it between heavy books or items that will help it stay in place.

Hope you found these tips helpful! If there’s anything else you’d like to know about how to take a good photo of yourself, feel free to drop your questions in the comments below!

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