How To Take Better Self Portraits

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dressing table portrait

I've always been an advocate for taking your own photos; who needs to wait around for someone else to help when you've got a tripod and a remote? I mean, obviously it doesn't work in every situation; sometimes you want shots in a certain location that would be too busy/uncomfortable for a tripod, or perhaps you just can't get the angle you want and need someone else to bounce ideas off of.. But on the whole, it's quite a good option that many people overlook. I shot this post completely on my own and it's the one that I'm most proud of - an empty field is the perfect location for testing your tripod skills because there's so much space to use; but I know not many people like the ~nature~ background. It might take a lot longer, and it might not always get the most polished, professional edge to your photos, but it is without a doubt the best way to learn how you like your photos. It has helped me unimaginably so in learning the poses that I like best and the angles that work well for me, without having to make a fool of myself in front of someone else. So I couldn't recommend giving a try enough!

In a bid to get my creativity back and try to enjoy Instagram more, I've started a #SundaySelfPortrait series where I post a new ~creative shot every Sunday including these in this post! And I often see people of twitter asking for tips on shooting solo, so thought I'd share some:


black and white portrait

1. Take your time
You won't get the perfect shot first time, it will take some moving and readjusting and there will inevitably be many blurry outtakes - but be patient with it. It will get easier! Taking test shots first will always help.

2. Use a remote
I have the Olympus Pen EPL-7 and use the app on my phone to control it. That means I can see how the shot looks beforehand, I can tap the focus onto me and not the tree 50 yards behind me, and I can set it to take as many shots as I choose with the timings that I choose also! It's been a gamechanger!


water glasses

3. Get a good tripod
When I started, I first just used any sturdy surface available before progressing to a mini, handheld tripod and then eventually a full-size tripod. And the difference is insane! You can adjust the height and the angles SO easily, you can turn from landscape to portrait instantly and you know that (unless its very windy) your camera is stable and not gonna fall over.

4. Make the most of natural light
This goes for any kind of photography really, but natural light is your best friend. Just remember not to have the sun behind you (being backlit doesn't work well for photos) and beware of shadows from your tripod!


self portrait

5. Use the settings
When taking self-portraits, I'm very guilty of just setting my camera on auto-mode because it's easiest (and the only option that seems to let me set a timer? Maybe just my camera!). But if you take the time to practice, you'll get much better shots. FYI aperture is your self-portrait friend and the higher the setting, the better focused your shot.

6. Get creative!
When you're 70, in a nursing home and looking back on your life, you're gonna wish all your photos weren't close up selfies with a snapchat filter hiding your face. Good quality photos are essential! So get creative and don't just stand stock in front of a camera; use different angles, have some props and MOVE.


emma copland


How often have you shot self-portraits before?

Loves. Emma.

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