Photo courtesy of

One thing that is missing in photography, and I discovered this many years ago, is the photo of the photographer. You spend all your time behind the camera, taking pictures of your family and friends, and you are never in the photo. What photo does your family use if you pass away? Or, even how do you promote yourself, when no one knows what you look like?

It is important to have pictures of yourself, so you can promote your photography business. If you have thought of different ideas of how you want to have your self viewed, then the next step is to figure out how to do it, without someone else’s help. Let’s go through a few ideas so you get it right, and you can actually have fun at it.


Of course the first thing people think of when doing a self portrait is using the “Self timer” built in to the camera. That is one thing that can work for sure, but have you thought about the issues with using the self timer?

Self timer mode on cameras

Usually with a self timer mode on cameras today, you have 2 options: have it shoot in 2 seconds (that may not work), and then 10 seconds. And if you use the 10 second timer, that last 2 seconds will give you a sound of faster beeps so you know it’s coming soon. That is the best one to use, if you want to use the self timer.

However, this is inconvenient and can lead to a lot of frantic running, adjusting, and posing. That’s why I highly recommend you purchase a remote shutter release, which won’t cost too much and will allow you to fire your camera from a distance.


Nikon’s remote shutter

These remote shutter buttons will work so much better. Check in to your favorite camera store to see how much they cost. It’s not much. The real beauty to these little devices is that you can get yourself all set up, and when it’s the right pose, the right settings, the right time, then you just push this button.


When taking photos of yourself, you could include things that you really love or interests you. If you are in to art, you could include an art piece in your photo. If you want to just show that you are a photographer, then be creative with the photo, but, don’t be strange about it. People will want to see a normal photo, nothing scary, and something that is impressive.

Here are some photos of self images that I thought were good:

Photo by
Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of Makbet666 (

3- Watch your background before you take the picture

The photo above shows how awful it could look if you don’t watch the background. And then a corrected photo.

Sometimes it is something you just don’t think about when taking self portraits, but the background can ruin a good photo. So watch for that.

4- How should you dress for a self portrait?

Do you want to look professional in your self portrait? Do you want to dress casual? These are the questions you should ask, and then make sure you dress the part. Think that thousands of people may see your picture. How do you want to look for that?

5- Look at your photos upon completion

You are biggest critic. You need to look at the finished products and critique the photo. Is it how you want it? Is it better than you expected? Then if it is not how you want it, then you still have time to fix it.

More ideas of self portraits:

Triple portrait by Norman Rockwell


african american girl looking at camera
Photo by Misha Voguel on

#49 of 50 subjects of Photography. HOW TO TAKE A SELF PORTRAIT: We have the last one on Thursday (Wednesday is Photos of the Week). And it has been a challenge to give you good content on 50 subjects. I invite you to look back at the past blogs to learn what you can of the 50 subjects:

All 50 of these subjects will be done by this Thursday. If you want to learn about any of these subjects, feel free to go back to past blogs, within this website.

I hope you don’t think that the best way to do a self portrait is with your cell phone doing a “selfie”. I don’t know why, but, I hate those. So… amateur. Let us learn the right way now to do a good self portrait.

Step 1 – find your self timer control on your camera…. do not take a selfie with your cell phone. Do it right.
  • The first thing you need to do is find your “self timer” on your camera. Do not just take a selfie. We want you to do a good creative photo of yourself. I don’t know of any camera that doesn’t have a “self timer”. Check your camera’s instruction manual if you can’t find it.
  • If we are going to do this right, let’s put it on a tripod. That will make the camera stay steady, and also you don’t need anybody else to help you….. haha.
Use a Tripod, a camera man’s best friend
  • Now use the proper lens for your camera. If you are using a DSLR camera or the smaller camera, use a lens that is about 50 mm or in that range. Do not use a wide angle lens to take your portrait. If you use a small telephoto lens, you will not have a distorted face. So important you get the right lens.
Sigma actually makes a “portrait lens”. It is designed to give you the perfect portrait.
  • Trying to figure out which aperture to use? I remember when I took portraits as a profession many years, the best aperture was either F5.6 or F8. Ideally at this setting you will have the whole head in focus with the depth of field. Like I used to say: “Don’t you want their ears in focus too?”
  • Finally, look through your camera, pre focus, and set your aperture at least, or go manual so you get the right aperture, and who cares what the right shutter speed is, tell yourself to hold still.
This is what it would look like to do a “good self portait”

That’s really it. If you want to try different poses to be creative, then go for it.