How to take a Selfie

How to take a Selfie

Nikki Parkinson Life 85 Comments

Ok, so there are a LOT of things that bloggers do in their day-to-day blogging life that make most “normal” people smirk. Or even laugh out loud.

For starters, we’re usually super-glued to our smart-phones, ears acutely attuned to distinguish a Twitter alert from a Facebook notification. That’s a skill, right?

Put us together in small or large groups and an outsider looking in would wonder how a conversation was actually taking place … because we’re all talking to each other while looking down at said phones.

Bloggers are also extremely fond of taking photos. Of other people and things but also of themselves.

This particular photo genre has been lovingly termed “The Selfie”.

Taking of Selfies is, of course, not limited to bloggers.

It was actually fashion designer Alex Perry, who three years ago, insisted that our photo together actually be a Selfie. He grabbed my camera and said, “this will be better”.

alex perry and me

Sure Alex, I’ll be in a selfie with you πŸ˜‰

He was right. It was. The angle (from above) is way more flattering.

I’ve been utilising and implementing the Selfie ever since. And last week a Facebook reader asked me to write a post about how to take them … so here I am.

Now, as someone who is creating visual content throughout the day – and often that content is based on items I might be wearing or how I’ve done my hair or makeup – the Selfie has become very much a part of my blogging life.

Which amuses my teenage children no end.

I use one of two devices: my iPhone or my Canon G12 camera.

iPhone tips

  1. Yes, it’s easier to reverse the lense on your iPhone camera so that you can see yourself as you’re taking a photo BUT the quality of the photo’s resolution is not so good this way. Practise taking the photo without seeing what you’re taking. You’ll have to “guess” where the camera button is to take the shot but after a few attempts, you’ll get the hang of it.
  2. Taking a photo with your phone while looking into a mirror is a popular option. This works equally as well for close-up face shots or long outfit shots. It just depends on your mirror options. I get probably a little too excited when I come across a great well-lit, full-length mirror in a hotel as this kind of prop is lacking for me at home. I have actually put in a request that we find a decent mirror that I can move around the house to catch the light at any time of the day. This was met with much mocking from Mr Styling You. Consider your phone case as part of the photo – it will be a feature so maybe change the case from time to time. Like your handbag πŸ˜‰
  3. If doing an outfit shot and wanting to feature all the outfit, use an app like PicFrame to create a montage that includes a full length shot and two close ups of accessories or details.

Who does it well?

Melbourne blogger Carly Jacobs (aka Smaggle) knows how to work her iPhone camera for selfies and has written a handy dandy post about how to be awesome at Instagram.

Smaggle rocking the mirror selfie shot

Smaggle rocking the mirror selfie shot

Whether it’s in a car or in front of her bathroom mirror, Sydney blogger Danimezza rocks an iPhone selfie.

Danimezza working the reverse phone selfie

Danimezza working the reverse phone selfie

Camera tips

  1. I’ve love that the viewer on my Canon G12 can be flipped and turned so that I can see the Selfie I’m taking. Unlike the iPhone, this doesn’t affect the quality of the photo. I used this a lot when getting photos of me with other bloggers at Blogopolis recently.
  2. You can still use a camera such as this if you’re looking to do a mirror Selfie too – I just take off all my strap and case attachments so it’s clutter free.
  3. Practice angles – both close up and how you stand for full-length mirror shots – so that you know exactly how to get your best look quickly and easily.
  4. Shoot in the best light possible. Have that early morning or late afternoon glow beaming towards your face. Or, shoot with your face facing towards a window. This applies equally for when using your phone too.

Who does it well

Western Australia-based fashion and lifestyle blogger Karen Cheng does the camera selfie SO well. Her photos are clean and well lit. And she uses just a point and shoot.

Karen Cheng

Blogger Karen Cheng has a signature selfie style on her blog that really works.

Sydney blogger Sarah from A Beach Cottage works her DSLR like nobody’s business. Yes, mostly she photographs her amazing interiors and beach vistas but she’s also the queen of a mirror selfie, especially one that shows off her beach cottage.

sarah a beach cottage

Sarah from a Beach Cottage works a DSLR selfie that also showcases her Beach Cottage interior. Love that.

How about you? Are you a Selfie Master? What tips do you have for young Selfie players?

How to take a Selfie


Thanks so much to everyone who played along with my Saturday blogging linky last week. Sharing your blogging knowledge with other bloggers and potential bloggers really is how this blogging world best goes round.

Remember if you want to join in, just add your link below. Please fill in the box where it says “name”: STYLING YOU: A blog post. That way your blog gets a plug and if you include the title of your post, you’ll attract readers interested in the topic.

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  • Evelyn (cottoncandydiva)

    I totally take back what I said in my original comment about ‘mirror selfies’ being tacky! I’ve warmed to them now…just, whatever you do don’t put your flash on! I know you don’t Nikki, but there’s some that do and then you get the lens flare in the mirror or an overexposed pic!

    • Good tip – and try to avoid using a flash at all with your photography. Shoot with good lighting from the start and the photo will always be better.

  • Ahhhh great post! I take my selfies for my LBD project while standing in the street, running around a tripod – lots of smiles from neighbours and passing traffic.. Mortifying yes but the things we need to do to get the selfie right!

    • I never knew they were selfies Cheryl! Wow. You do it so well. Have you written a “how to” post about this? x

  • Thank you for this post! Just found it and not a moment too soon – my selfies can only be improved. Just linked this on my blog as I had to resort to my 5-year-old taking a pic of me yesterday as change rooms so small (and without mirror?) I had no way of squeezing into shot. Sadly, think he’s a better shot than me. And downloading Pic Frame asap… x

    • Hahaha … and these kids they’re growing up to be way better photographers than us!

      • and don’t get me started on the 3yo’s ability to navigate ipad, pod, phone, laptop etc. she changed my screensaver from a pic of both her and her brother to just herself. evil, but have to admire her style.

  • Hi Nikki,
    Thanks for this fabulous post. Can you please give me and my ‘Plus Size’ friends some advice on how to take nice selfies without looking hideous and displaying 15 chins. I’m about to start my family lifestyle blog and plan to take a lot more selfies, but the idea scares me!

  • Di

    Not having an iPhone, and not being a ‘cell phone kinda gal’, I use a small pocket camera and a tripod to take my selfie fashion shots. BUT, there are also extenders one can purchase that give you a longer arm so to speak when taking photos….. I think they are about $50. That’s the route I plan to go next so that I can put the tripod away.

  • Oh dear, I am a selfie shocker…. so needed these tips. Have just snapped off a few and it’s reminded me that I really must find my lost lipstick!!

    • Seana, sometimes if I’ve got a bright lippy to pop on it deflects from my otherwise unmade-up face. Good ploy!

  • I still feel like a total goose taking selfies…but it has to be done! Oh the life of a blogger…! Loving all of these tips and tricks. xx

  • The arm outstretched angle is the best selfie ever – see that photo next to my comment? Selfie!

  • bbeingcool

    Ooooh – I am no good at the selfie… Not many of those around… In fact – there are not many photos of me around at all!

  • Penny

    I have go go gadget arms which helps. Long limbs come in very handy. I love Saturdays and all the blog linking.

  • vegemitevix

    Very timely blog post Nikki, but what if you have an Android smart phone? We have Instagram on Android now, but what other apps can you use to do the montage thing etc?

  • Janelle@AWhiteFarm

    I’m still on my L plates in this blogging world and find I’m still a tad selfconcious with the selfie (well, from the knee up!) BUT I do LOVE seeing other bloggers selfies, just makes things more personal and fun? Thanks for the tips Nikki, I best be off to apply some lippy and practice!? xx

  • I would give anything for a (clean) full length mirror in a well lit spot! It may have to be a pre-requisite in my next house!

  • Francesca Esposito-Rose

    Wow, I love this blog post, thanks so much Nikki! I had no idea there was so much involved in taking a “selfie” ! Until now, I had no idea there was even a name for taking a photo of yourself. LOL. I need to get into more visual content and I’m loving your blog – you’re keeping the rest of us “visually” hip. I love that your teenagers have an opinion about you doing what they do. ha ha xx Francesca

    • I know Francesca! But really it’s just a matter of having a little fun with it!

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    This is a great post Nikki ,I am not that good at taking a selfie ,but I will practice what you have told us and I’m sure I will be taking a “selfie ” like a pro.I must admit Sarah from abeachcottage does do Pictures well,they are always amazing quality and she gets the light right and your not too bad either all your “selfie’s ” are good quality too.Great topic!

    • Sarah is an inspiration with her photography – love it! She’s pretty good herself too!

  • Love this post, Nikki. I’m forever getting rolly eyes when my kids see me taking selfies. I still haven’t mastered it. But it’s fun practising!

  • shehascuteshoes

    I do get mocked for my love of mirror selfies and my shoe selfies.

    Pish posh.

    I look fabulous. While those who mock are busily editing out their profile pics and moaning about seeing double chins they don’t generally have in real life πŸ˜›

    Um, my selfies hide mine πŸ˜‰

  • Thanks for this one. I need to work on my selfies.

  • Jessica

    Here’s a hot tip: when taking pictures in the bathroom ALWAYS make sure the toilet seat is DOWN. It amazes me how many people don’t ever think of this but it ruins it for me. The photo above says to me: I just took a dump before I took this photo. πŸ™‚

    • I hadn’t even noticed!

      • I would go one step further and say make sure the toilet can’t even be seen. My pet loathe about bathroom selfies. Was first thing I noticed about top pic. Couldn’t even look at the person, had to scroll away from it!

        • But I’m so sparkly and pink! πŸ™‚ I never normally have the toilet in there but it’s the only decent place to take photos at my parents place. I always say hi to the toilet in my caption. πŸ™‚

      • It’s actually referenced in the photo on Instagram. It says ‘Hi toilet! I see you!’.

    • HA ha! Mine has the toilet seat up IN THIS POST! Ah Smaggle… being innapropriate since 1983.


  • workingwomenaustralia

    Taking a selfie from above is GENIUS. Removes some chins πŸ˜‰

  • spot on post Nikki

    I am also adding in that apart from the whole selfie thing for social media, in my case it’s actually helped my confidence and helped me to just love me more…for the first 18 months I didn’t put my face on my blog at all and people asked if I was real haha…now I go for it and don’t care…that’s a great feeling to find when over 40 lol πŸ™‚

    …and may I also include the self-portrait of one’s shoes as a selfie, hahaha, I am a master at that…

    oh and my younger kiddo has us in stitches ribbing about selfies…

    • I love shoe selfies … they are perfect for days like last week when I still looked grey even with makeup on!! Love your point about growing your confidence through selfies.

    • Lisa Mckenzie

      Your Gorgeous Sarah,and that’s a great tip to improve our confidence by taking” selfies”,especially over 40!!

  • I use my phones photo editing software with selfies, it successfully chops off my arm πŸ™‚ and more often then not, doesn’t end up looking like a selfie.

    • I’ve been using my camera’s photo editing software more too – quite easy and makes such a difference!

  • I always get a but embarrassed doing a Selfie but sometimes I just really like my outfit or hair & I think I need people to see this! I usually do the whole take pics of different parts & then put them together into one ( picstitch is my fave app for this). Thanks for the tips Nikki. I always struggle with the full length Selfie, I just can’t get them right! As for angles, from above is always your friend πŸ™‚

    • For Instagram to “fit in” a full length selfie, take a full shot and use it as part of a 3 image montage using picstitch – or I use picframe. It will run the length of the square image and then you can have two feature/accessory images on the right hand side. Does that make sense?

  • Great list, Nikki!

    The one thing I’d add, is that if you’re doing the arms-length phone selfie, by all means look at the screen to focus it and frame it up, but then look at the camera lens when you take the pic. I think selfies of people looking down at the phone screen look slightly odd. But that might be just me… πŸ˜‰

    • I’m guilty of the sideways’ eye shot but I look better as I have an eye lower than the other and this seems to minimise it a bit πŸ˜‰

  • Haha. Dani certainly has the Selfie nailed. She was giving tips at the Blogopolis after party, too bad we’d all had a couple of beverages and it was so dark we needed the flash…. Errr, cringe! For me anyway, she always manages to come out looking fab.

    Can I just say that I adore the fact this post exists! HA.

    • I know. Right? Cannot believe I’ve written a post titled “how to take a Selfie”. Great comments from everyone else too – with more pointers!

      • My favourite is the + button. The day I discovered that I was the happiest kid in the world. {Maybe tell your teenagers it’s time for another eye roll at THAT. Haha}

  • Mummaducka

    I am a shocker at the selfie, so I rarely do it! I have once taken about 30 photos trying to get the right angle and light! I just want that double chin to go magically away- so I have known for a long time that a shot from above does the trick, and to make the girls seem bigger in necklace/scarf shots( another of my battles-if only that double chin would travel south and belly north!) above -with arms close to achieve cleavage! or from underneath- to achieve bumpage, not straight on is the way to go!

    • I mastered it so I could avoid chin “issues” … I get much ribbing from my children about it!

      • Another tip for chin *issues* (despite how small I am, my chin is weak) is hold your tongue to the roof of your mouth.

  • Cotton Candy Diva

    I would say yes…I am quite good at taking a ‘selfie’. Sorry if I offend anyone with my next comment, but I think photos of yourself where you see your camera/phone in the mirror are tacky. When I take a selfie in front of the mirror, I look at myself in the camera’s live view screen before taking the photo to see if it looks OK, then I will take it looking down the lens.

    When it comes to outfit shots, I use my SLR, auto timer and my tripod. Before I hit the timer, i focus the camera on something next to where I’ll be standing, then once I have pressed the shutter point the camera to where I’ll be….then run lol

    • No offence, Cotton Candy Diva … I actually don’t mind them – adds a little something … but each to their own. And yes, I do the outfit selfie with a timer and tripod but that would be more for my blog images, not my social media images.

      • Cotton Candy Diva

        You’re right, it is up to personal preference. I think why I don’t like mirror selfies is because most people look at their camera, so it kind of looks weird. again each to their own though.

        I use my compact camera for ‘out-streached arm’ selfies of my friends and I or just of myself because I love that it has face recognition. it beeps when faces are in focus, so it’s a big help

  • Great post! I’d also like s full length mirror in my house with good lighting!

    I have two additional tips with the iPhone:
    1. The + volume button on the side of the phone also takes a pic – much easier to find than the one on the screen.
    2. If you just want your face/hair/shoulders turn your phone around so the camera is pointing at you, not the mirror. You can see the screen in the mirror, and no phone in your shot!

    • Oh, Tasmin … thanks for the +volume button tip. Doh! Never knew that.

    • your second tip – that’s what I do. I can line myself up with what I see in the mirror.

    • I didn’t know that about the volume button! Thankyou for sharing πŸ™‚

    • Haha. And here I was thinking I was the only person using the mirror to preview the better camera Selfie. πŸ˜‰ Nice addition to the post!!

  • Carly Findlay

    I have taken a couple of selfies on my trip abroad as I wanted to capture me in a tourist destination. I have become better at it – but these tips will help. Danimezza takes gorgeous selfies.
    I hope you don’t mind in the link up this week I’ve posted to my speech- which is so much about the way blogging has helped me. Ps – I got a High Distinction for my Masters thesis about blogging – woo hoo!

    • Absolutely, Carly … in the olden days we would have had to ask a stranger to take a photo of us!