Selfies with a “self portrait” edge

To me, “selfies” are photos you take when somehow tethered to the camera either by your arm or a selfie stick. They’re usually taken to show off your face or a fun memory, self portraits on the other hand tend to be more focused on the artistic side of things. Obviously they were both absolute sweeping generalisations based on my own experience. 

Selfies are quick and easy, self portraits are often more complicated to set up (although not quite although as drawn out as a traditional painting of yourself!).

Today I’m talking about using the selfie method to get results closer to a more professional self portrait.

The selfie side:

A smartphone’s front camera is generally lower quality than the back facing camera but we’re going to use it today because we’re focusing on ease and using the front camera means you can make use of the screen to see how your photos are turning out while shooting! Which is of course a big part of why selfies are so popular!

To counteract some of the quality issues, I shot facing towards my window to make the best of all the natural light (which also makes your hair shine more and usually shows off your complection nicely).
No tripods here! I used the handle of my window to stand my phone on. I have my phone in a flip case which helped it to ballance and not just slip off!

You can also get quite a bit of distortion towards the edges of a selfie so being able to move that bit further away can help your face stay the right shape as you are not so close to the edges! My phone has a feature that tries to counteract distortion but I turned it off for these photos because it would shift just before taking the picture and mess up all the positioning  (I think maybe it was confused by me being further away!) So if your phone has something like that it can be a help or a hindrance depending on what you’re trying to achieve!

Arms free photos open up a whole world of poses!

The self portrait:

No need for a selfie-arm:

Firstly, the fact that you can’t see your arm holding the phone (after putting it on your window’s handle or propping in up somewhere else) will make this look less like your stereotypical selfie! Most phones have self timer so setting this up for 2 seconds (or longer if you need to move further away or position things carefully) gives you after chance to take your arm after way from the screen! 

Alternatively, you could plug earphones in which have volume control on to use as a remote. Simply hit one of the volume controls as you would to adjust your music and it will (hopefully…) set off the shutter (or self timer, depending on what you’ve set up!).

Don’t mind me just walking off into this curtain…

Eyes right!

Often in selfies, people look at the screen rather than the lense. A lot of people do look directly at the lense but even then you can find that you don’t seem to be looking straight out of the photo. For my phone I find I need to look slightly below the lense (or slightly to the right if it’s horizontal) to appear to be looking straight in the final photo. Work out where you need to look to get your desired effect. Looking away from the phone when you take the shot can also help it to look less like a photo you’ve taken yourself!

With a blank backdrop like mine the focus really is all on your pose and expression! I liked the way the curtain folded around me, although it was sometimes annoying!


Think about what you want people to be drawn to. Is this portrait about you, your expression or the things around you? 

For my photographs I shut my curtains, giving me a nice blank (if rather creased!) backdrop. It’s also great that they reflect a lot of the light from my window (remember this is all about ease! No setting up fancy lighting!)


Have fun with it!! Different expressions, poses (remember, your hands are free now!), whatever edits or filters you fancy (although I haven’t done anything to mine yet) And maybe even props! I love how well my giant tent- I mean jumper! Worked in my pictures. They were very spontaneous (I thought my hair had a lovely texture to it and wanted to get some photos!) So I never really thought of a purpose but if I was to set something like this up for a purpose I would try and convey whatever message I was thinking of through outfit and expressions because they can make all the difference to your photographs without needing lots of tiring preparations. 

To summarise:

You can set up your very own photoshoot in just a few moments if you have…

1) A smartphone,

2) Something to prop it up on (preferably against a window to make good use of natural light),

3) Self timer setting,

4) A curtain for a backdrop,

5) You!!! This is a self portrait; let your personality shine through ♡

This is all about having fun! Being chronically ill, setting up a tripod often takes it out of me, this way I have some pictures I’m rather fond of without needing to put myself & my body through all of that setting up stress!
Some more photos, as you can see they’re really varied even though the whole setting is the same.
Back to the subject of having fun, I enjoyed a bit of time on snapchat after taking the other photos :”)

Do you like to take photos of yourself?

For a time, I hated photos of myself but being able to do self portraits made me feel a lot more comfortable in front of other people, feeling like I knew (a little more) What I was doing!
Let me know if this has encouraged you to set up an easy photoshoot of your own (although I know even this isn’t within everybody’s reach if you’re poorly ♡)
Sakara x📸


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