8 Tips for Taking Better Selfies

With three teenaged kids I’m no stranger to selfies. My fourteen year-old daughter is particularly fond of them and a new one goes up on her Instagram every few days. With all this selfie action around me I haven’t been able to help but pick up a few tricks and, much to my children’s embarrassment, occasionally join in the fun. So how do you take better selfies? Here are 8 tips that can help you improve your selfies with very little effort:

1. Find the best lighting

This is just an overall principle of photography: if you want good photos you must have good lighting. Selfie’s are meant to be a bit more candid and feel less posed so don’t go crazy but try to stand near a window when you’re indoors and make sure you don’t have the sun right behind you if you’re outdoors.

2. Play with angles

The same angles will not work for everyone. For some, a straight on shot might look great while others might get a better result from holding the camera up and shooting down at themselves. Play with a variety of angles and see what works best for you. To help eliminate any double chin, make sure you crane your neck forward a bit. Yes, it will feel strange but it will make you look much better.

3. Use the rule of thirds

Photographers use the rule of thirds to get better photocomposition and the rule definitely applies to taking selfies. Try the rule of thirds for yourself by placing your face in the top-right or top-left corner of your photo. The resulting photo will be more interesting than if you centered your face. Just be careful about what’s in the background when you use this approach—more on that later.

4. Be yourself and don’t overthink it

There’s an upside to taking selfies with your kids—they’re much more inclined to be a little silly. I’ve learned that having a little fun with your selfies results in much better pictures. So, make faces, pose, and bring in a silly prop.

5. Stand still and hold the camera steady

This one is common sense but I see a lot of blurry selfies so it’s worth saying—stand still and steady the phone or camera! I know this can be challenging because you don’t have the luxury of having someone else take the photo and you have to focus on posing and snapping at the same time, but with some practice you can get perfectly focused photos. The best way to get there is to try to relax when you’re taking the photo; if you’re tense you’re more likely to shake your arm as you snap.

6. Watch your background

Having a messy room behind you might be socially acceptable when you’re a teenager but not so much if you’re an adult, so choose your background carefully. I recommend sticking with a background that’s either really clean, like a solid wall, or really visually interesting, like if you’re hiking and have a great shot of the view behind you.

7. Use a Selfie Stick

Yes, they can look a bit silly but selfie sticks can help you get much better pictures. A selfie stick helps you keep your phone stable and also let’s you get a wider shot because you can distance yourself from your phone thanks to the wand and remote shutter button found on most selfie sticks.

8. Try a Remote Shutter

If you’re not into selfie sticks and have an iPhone, you can try making your own remote shutter button using an old pair of Apple headphones. A lot of people don’t know this but you can use the volume buttons on your Apple headphones as a shutter button. According to this blog if you have an old pair that you don’t use anymore, you can even cut off the headphones and leave just the cable that leads up to the volume buttons to make a DIY remote shutter.


The benefit of using a remote shutter is that you can place your phone on a solid surface and take a photo at a distance. This gives you wider shots and eliminates the need for you to hold your phone, giving you more focused photos without your arms being obviously outstretched.


If your’re not using an iPhone, there are shutter remotes and apps that can help you enjoy the same benefits.


Do you have any tried and tested selfie tips? Tells us about them in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

By Mike Agerbo

April 07, 2015