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10 Tips for Taking GREAT Photos of Yourself (for any occasion)

Tips for taking great photos of yourself

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Are you struggling with figuring out how to take great photos of yourself? Maybe you want to be posed, but not look like you’re posing. Or maybe you want to look relaxed and natural, but when a camera is in your face you stiffen up. Do you have this struggle? I know I did.


As much as I have traveled and taken thousands (upon thousands!) of photos, I have picked up some tips and tricks for making myself look natural and comfortable in front of a camera. So now I am here to share that knowledge with you! I’ve put together 10 of my top tips for taking great photos of yourself, enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚


10 Tips for Taking GREAT Photos of Yourself

(for any occasion)


Three Sisters Falls Trail San Diego


1. Set Your Camera to Continuous Mode 

Almost every camera (even entry level) will have an option to switch to continuous mode. When you set your camera to continuous mode, you can take multiple shots within just a few seconds. By doing this you increase the chances of getting one you like. I put mine on the highest setting which is 10 frames per second. 


2. Take Multiple Shots Rapidly with Camera Phone

If you only have a phone camera, don’t worry, I have tips for you, too! Ask whoever is taking your photo to press the shutter release button (the button that takes the photo) repeatedly. This way they are taking multiple photos, instead of just 1 or 2.


The cool thing about camera phones is they are able to take multiple photos very quickly. By doing this, you are able to achieve a similar effect as continuous mode on a camera. 


Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral - Tips for taking great photos of yourself


3. Add Movement

I love movement in photos! When a camera is pointed at me, I tend to freeze up and look awkward and stiff. But by setting the camera to continuous mode and then adding movement, it makes my photos look smooth and natural. 


Angles Wall Los Angles - Tips for taking great photos of yourself


My favorite ways to add movement:

  • Walking
  • Twirling
  • Raising my arms
  • Touching my hair


I honestly do this all the time! All of my favorite photos are usually when I am adding some sort of movement to make it look more natural. Just be sure to use tip #1, and keep the camera on continuous mode. This way, when the shutter button is pressed down, it will capture all of your movements. 


Wiscasset, Maine - Tips for taking great photos of yourself


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4. Don’t Look Directly at the Camera

Try to avoid facing the camera straight on. It is rarely flattering, and is instead preferred to tilt your head slightly to give your features depth. Now this isn’t a hard rule or anything, and it really just comes down to personal preference. I also tend to not look directly at the camera. I like that “oh my gosh I was just over here looking cute and having a good time when you just so happened to take this amazing photo of me” kind of look. Is it completely fake? Oh yeah, 100%. But hey, I think it looks nice. ๐Ÿ™‚ 


So here’s what you do: with the camera in continuous mode, slowly look up, then down, then side to side. Basically what you want to do is look anywhere but directly at the camera. Because of continuous mode, the camera will capture every movement you make, and I guarantee you will find a winner. 


Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral - Tips for taking great photos of yourself


Cienfuegos, Cuba - Tips for taking great photos of yourself


5. Know your Angles

This one is tough because it varies per person.You might already know what works for you, but knowing your best angles ahead of time will save you time and disappointment. Sometimes you might feel rushed or camera shy when put on the spot. By knowing some of your favorite angles, you will already have some “go to” moves up your sleeve.


Homework for discovering your “go to” moves: 

  • Look at favorite photos of yourself – Do you notice a pattern? Do you like certain angles best? Do you like certain ways you smile? Try to remember them and replicate them for next time!
  • Look at favorite photos of others – What is it about that photo you like? Is it the angle? Is it the location? Is the the clothes? Try to find what is appealing to you, and emulate it for next time!


Also a favorite is to create angles with your body! This adds an element of dimension to your photographs. The easiest way to do this is to bend your knees when sitting, or rest your foot up against a wall. Check out all those angles I am creating!


Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada - 20 Photos to Inspire You to Visit Moraine Lake


La Roma, Mexico City - Tips for taking great photos of yourself


Bonus Tip: Taking a photo from a slightly upward angle will make you look taller and thinner #CameraMagic


Some of my favorite “go to” moves and angles:

  • Sitting with my knee bent
  • Lean against a wall and bend my knee
  • Look off into the distance
  • Touch my dress
  • Touch my hat



6. Wear a Hat

Speaking of which, wearing a hat instantly makes a photo look great! Don’t have time to do your hair? Don’t sweat it. Add a hat and you’ll instantly look put together. No one is the wiser you were actually having a bad hair day. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I also just love hats, and find they make the perfect travel accessory. 


El Nicho, Cienfuegos, Cuba - Tips for taking great photos of yourself


Is this starting to feel like information overload? Don’t worry, I’ve put together a PDF of this list so you can take it with you! Just click the below image to download. ๐Ÿ™‚

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7. Wear a Dress (or skirt!)

I have found that dresses are great for photos! When in a dress, I am able to instantly feel less self-conscious about how my body appears in photos. I am also quite girly and just love wearing dresses anyways. So hey, it’s a win win!


New Orleans, Louisiana - Tips for taking great photos of yourself


8. It’s All About the Lighting

You might have heard this before, but it is so true! Lighting is crucial. The key to capturing a great photo, verses a “just okay” photo comes down to lighting. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but you want to avoid shooting when it’s the most beautiful outside. This is typically at mid-day when it’s super bright and sunny. This type of lighting is considered “harsh lighting”. Harsh lighting, or shooting at mid-day, creates shadows that are unflattering.


It’s more ideal to shoot when the light is softer; such as sunrise, sunset, or when it’s overcast.


Recap: Ideal times to shoot:

  • Sunrise
  • Sunset
  • Overcast days


Horseshoe Bend, Utah - Tips for taking great photos of yourself


9. Use a Prop!

I love using props! They make me feel more comfortable and relaxed in front of the camera. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Cafรฉ/restaurant – I love taking photos at a cafรฉ because I’m usually sitting down and it makes me feel more relaxed
  • Flowers/plants – For flowers I always go for real ones, but after killing (almost!) all of my plants, I am a fan of faux greenery now. (I actually recently used this fan palm leaf on my Instagram)
  • Balloons – The ones pictured below are these oversized round balloons, but I am also a big fan of the ones with confetti inside. I also love using balloons for holiday photos like I did recently for Valentine’s Day using the love balloon and these heart shaped balloons
  • Confetti – Even though it can be messy, I love using confetti! Especially when they’re shiny like these silvery confetti stars or these gold ones
  • Have a picnic – I really love picnic photos, and it’s also a fun way to spend an afternoon. ๐Ÿ™‚


New York City Balloon and Yellow Cab - Tips for taking great photos of yourself


10. And Lastly, Have Fun and Smile! 

I know, I get it. Trying to capture that “perfect” photo can be stressful sometimes. Especially if you’re working with a sponsor or just trying to get it exactly right. But here’s the thing, I’ve been there, and I have found that when I just play around and have fun, I always get the best photos! 


It’s like, the more I stress over it, the more that stress is shown in my photographs. So relax, be a little goofy, and have some fun with it!


Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine - Tips for taking great photos of yourself


And lastly, I know a lot of people like the serious, model-y look, but I like my photos to look bright, vibrant, and cheerful. You know what they say, you’re never fully dressed without a smile!


I prefer to avoid the “say cheese” types of smiles. Instead, think of a funny joke, or better yet, goof around and have fun with your photographer! Natural smiles are way more engaging than fake or forced ones. ๐Ÿ™‚

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P.S. I know what you’re thinking; but Tiffany, I don’t have a boyfriend or friend to take all these awesome photos of me. Neither do I…well at least not all the time (sometimes I do). Read this post on how to take amazing photos when traveling solo. ๐Ÿ™‚


Wiscasset, Maine - Tips for taking great photos of yourself


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Read More: 

7 Reasons Why Mirrorless Cameras are Perfect for Travelers


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Tips for taking great photos of yourself


Do you have any tips for taking great photos of yourself? Spill the deets in the comments below!

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Welcome to Lavender Vines

I’m Tiffany, a travel lover, small business owner, and expert-level cat cuddler. Sharing the love of Jesus is one of my favorite things ever, hence why I started this blog! You’re gonna find loads of goodies on this site, but one of my fav’s is my brand spankin’ new free ebook on your identity in Christ. Cut to the chase – Jesus thinks you’re pretty cool – but my ebook explains just how cool you really are. It’s kinda amazing.

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  1. Ilona

    This is a great article. I am struggling with finding pictures of myself that I like and I am very grateful for your advise. Next time, I will set my camera into shutter mode so I can take lots of pictures and then select the best one. I always feel very awkward when I pose and I feel like that’s a great way to get around it.

    Also, I think that a hat definitely helps. I bought one last month in Colombia and absolutely love it.


      I am so happy you found it helpful! I hat is a total game-changer isn’t it? I wear one in a TON of my photos!!

  2. Kelsey

    This was so helpful! Definitely going to try out your posing tips. Thanks for sharing! ๐Ÿ™‚
    – Kelsey


      I am so glad this was helpful!! and PS your blog and Instagram feed is GORGEOUS! ๐Ÿ™‚


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