Blog TipsPhotography

Creating a Self Portrait & Why You Need to Get in Front of the Camera

By Feb 12, 2014July 8th, 201457 Comments

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In the day of selfies, it might not be as hard to get in front of the camera as it once was, but it is definitely just as important.

I’m not one for taking photos of myself and I’m not a fan of someone else taking  a picture of me either, but as I get older I am coming to appreciate the fact that I need to have more photos of me around.

I don’t know what it’s like at your house, but I am the major picture taker at mine. My kids are not into family photo stuff, so it generally falls on me. If I’m the one always taking the pics, then I’m not in them.

How to take self-portraits

Creating a Self Portrait & Why You Need to Get in Front of the Camera

Here are a few reasons why you want photos of you, even if you really don’t like to get in front of the camera.

  • Pictures tell a story of your life, something to leave your kids. They might need proof that you were cool once upon a time.
  • You won’t always look as good as you do now. (Hey, maybe you’ll look better!) Whatever the case CAPTURE IT!
  • Don’t you love seeing old pictures of when your folks or grandparents were young? It proves they had a life before you came along.

I recently had a 30 minute one on one phone call with Barbara Niven, a television and movie star. She is also a media coach. She gave me some video tips that will work just as well with still shots.

Her pointers to me:

  • Set the camera slightly above your head so you are looking up a bit. This lessens dark circles under your eyes, and helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It also helps with chin issues.
  • Facing natural light is a must.
  • Not too close to the camera, getting a little bit of your shoulders in the shot is important.

Click It Up a Notch.com has some great pointers as well.

Why It’s Important as a Blogger to Take Self Portraits

  • Your readers want to connect with you.
  • You need a photo on your “About me” page and hopefully one on your sidebar.
  • It makes you seem like a real person. When your readers feel connected to you they keep coming back to read your blog. I know I am more likely to stick around and even come back if I have a face to go with the name of the blogger. By taking regular pictures of yourself, your readers will feel like you are a dear friend.
  • And I might add, it helps to identify bloggers at conferences.

Christmas with the fam

How to Take Your Own Self Portrait

  • Set your camera on a tripod or sturdy surface.
  • Use a remote or timer to set up your images. If at all possible, have it take several shots in one burst so you don’t have to keep getting up to re-set your timer.
  • Get near some natural light. Remember, you want those nice soft shadows.
  • Turn to a 45 degree angle.
  • Have your eyes facing your light source. (Think catchlights.)
  • Remove any distractions that may be in the picture that aren’t there to help tell your story.

Me in Window Seat

Fun Self Portrait Ideas

Here are some fun and cool self-portrait ideas:

Think about using props, especially if you are a…

  • Photo blogger: Read a photography book, have your camera in the image.  (You can use a mirror to capture your camera.)
  • Food blogger: Read a cook book, in your apron, high heels and pearls (Isn’t that how you cook?)
  • Lifestyle blogger: Take one topic your blog about and find a creative way to show it in photos.
  • Social Media blogger: Typing on your laptop/computer or checking your cell phone.
  • Mom blogger: Have your kids in there with you.

All great ideas, don’t you think? In the day of selfies it’s time to get in front of the camera and have some fun!

Just do it!


If you enjoyed this post on the Creating the Perfect Self Portrait, then keep reading. We have more!

About laurielyons

Laurie has been a wife for too many years to count. She is the mother of three mostly grown children. Her last year as a homeschooling mom will come to an end in 2014. Life is changing for this entrepreneur turned blogger and author of her first E-book. She often feels like the odd man out in the blogging world because she is in her fifties, but her love of social media and writing keeps her hanging in and always learning. You can find Laurie on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and her blog, Beyond My Blue Door, where she writes about life and the many lessons learned along the way. Oh, and she can hardly wait to become a grandma!


  • It’s so true. Getting a picture taken of yourself can be so awkward, but as a blogger I’ve been so thankful that I’ve had it done professionally recently, so I can use it on my social platforms!

  • As I’ve grown older, I am embracing more photos of myself than I did before. I always hated having my photo taken! You are right when you say it is important to have a photo of yourself in the sidebar of your webpage. It does give readers a real person to connect to and I’ve seen my pageviews go up beacuse of it! Thank you for sharing!

  • Great and fun ideas, thanks!

  • Kim says:

    I love these tips. I really need a better About Me picture. I have a brand new tripod sitting next to me as I’m typing this that’s still in the box. Thank you for inspiring me to finally want to use it!! #sitsblogging

    Kim This Ole Mom

  • Laura Martin says:

    Great tips. Thanks!

  • Charlotte says:

    I love this. I’m not one to take pictures of myself either, but I had that very same thought the other day. When I’m older, I won’t have much to remember the gaps between years. Like you, I’m always the one behind the camera; I’m a little camera shy and feel awkward having someone take pictures of me but I have to stop and just take pictures when I am in a moment I want to remember. Because life is just too fleeting, isn’t it?

    Thanks for this. And you have such a beautiful family 🙂

  • Adrienne says:

    I need a tripod. Great tips Laurie!

  • Chris Carter says:

    LOVE that picture of you Laurie!!! And I really do appreciate these tips… I am never EVER in pictures!!! First of all, because I am the one taking them! And secondly, I HATE the way I look in pictures. There are few I would even think to publish…

    You’re right though. I need to. For all the reasons you shared.

    • Laurie says:

      That’s what I’m talking about! Hey, I’ve seen some pretty great pics of you. Totally get in front of that camera~

  • I love these tips and really need to be better about showing more pictures of myself in my blog. It really does help connect a friendly face with the name.

  • ThePearLady says:

    Great tips…maybe I’ll use them when I’m drunk…erm, brave one day. ;D

  • ThePearLady says:

    neat tips…IDK when I’ll utilize, but maybe I’ll get drunk enough ….erm, I mean brave, one day. ;D

  • I totally agree, it’s important to have pictures of yourself as a blogger. If only I didn’t despise having my picture taken… Getting my picture taken is way down there with visiting my dentist. But yeah, I need to face my fear.

  • Melissa says:

    I am doing a self portrait project this year. I just posted my February pictures. Granted, I did commission my husband to take the ones this month but I did my own the first month 🙂 I have a link if anyone wants to join in on the fun! Self portraits are SO important!

  • Self portraits, yikes! But good info! Thanks a bunch!

  • Laina Turner says:

    Needed advice…I’m bad at anything photography related.

  • Laurie says:

    Best of luck to you! It’s really not that bad…

  • So true, so true, so true. A few year ago I felt like a narcissist taking all these selfies. But last year I threw that thinking away because in this business picture stories sell. That’s just it. Nowadays people want to “see” more than they do “read” about your life. One of the things I see a lot of people doing to “make it easier” to post all these pics of themselves is hash-tagging it with a popular tag. It could help you feel like you’re not the only one. 🙂

  • Denise Laird says:

    Great post! Thank you for sharing your easy to remember tips.

  • Great tips. Just need to do them lol… got to make my self take some more photos!

  • Oh man I have to admit I dont like taking pictures of myself guess I need to work on that! Thanks for all the tips

  • What Great Tips!! Thank you.

    Woot! Woot! Wednesday ~ Advocacy in medicine means change

  • Ashley says:

    Once again, thanks for the great tips!

    Ashley, Married to the Game

  • Diane says:

    After some really stressful years I became horrified of how much I was aging. There is no way I want to take selfies. Is it pride? Probably. My husband and I have only a few photos together…mostly because I delete most of them because they aren’t ‘good enough.’ I can’t say I was ever crazy in front of the camera before….but now….Yikes! Until I hit my early fifties, people usually thought I was 20 years younger than I was. It felt good. Now I look my age. And…in the blog world…appearances matter. Well…I guess it does everywhere in our culture. I applaud you for being an overcomer in this area. And thanks so much for the reminder to ‘get over’ myself.

    • Laurie says:

      It’s harder as we get over to let people take pictures of us. I’m not a fan of very many of photos that I’m in but I think they become more valuable over time.

  • Laurie says:

    It’s important for the future, I think, to have photos of ourselves.

  • Gary Kerr says:

    Great advice,I really liked this one . This was so inspirational.Thanks for sharing your experience here.It developing such and inspiring work.

  • Nicki Lewis says:

    What great tips. I am the one always taking the pics. Still can’t even get my hubby to smile in half of them lol I am going to save this page and practice

  • Great tips! As someone who hates getting in front of the camera, I am guilty of not having many pictures of myself. The last time we went to Disney, I paid extra for a photo package so the family could have pics with me in it. I hated it at the time and while I still don’t like looking at myself in pictures, I’m glad we have some family shots.

  • Sinner Ella says:

    I haven’t read past the first portion of the post, yet. I have to comment on the importance of photo and especially video documentation of our lives.
    As of today, it has been one month since the passing of my father. When planning his memorial service, I found a TON of photos from when I was younger and when he and my mother were in highshool. What I wasn’t able to find , were hardly any photos of him and my mother together over the last probably 10 years. I also wasn’t able to find more than a few photos of my mother with me, my brother, or with my kids.
    My parents were high school sweethearts. They were together for 36 years and married for just shy of 34. That is the total number of years equal to my entire life. That’s 36 years of late nights, date nights, softball games, family game nights, day trips to the park, birthday parties, holidays, and days spent falling asleep on the couch watching crappy Stephen Segal movies. That should have been enough photos to fill a house. It wasn’t.
    My children are 11 & 14. I’m almost 34. My brother is 25. My mother is 53. My father was 54. I have a total of maybe 3 hours of family video or video of my father taken by friends at work. To me, his daughter, and to my children, 3 hours is NEVER ENOUGH.
    I miss his voice and his laugh, most of all. I know many of my family and our family friends do, as well.
    I can’t stress the emotional importance of photos and videos of yourself and your family and friends, enough. I don’t care how much you hate having your picture taken or how much you can’t stand hearing or seeing yourself on video. Suffer through the photos and videos, if for no one else, for your children, your spouse, your friends. But do it because, when the time comes that you are no longer there to be with them, they will need those pictures and clips of the sound of your voice to help them along in the healing process.

    • Laurie says:

      Truthfully, I keep asking my kids what they will use at my funeral for the slide presentation. There aren’t a lot of pictures of me, not at our house anyway. Video is good too, because of the sound. My brother passed away 34 years ago, when he was 18. There are home movies of him but none with sound. I wish there were.

  • Abby says:

    Great advice and there are some tips here that even I – as a savvy selfie taker – could definitely use for spice up the pics on my blog!! Hehe 🙂 thanks for sharing this!!

  • Thanks for the tips!I am guilty of not taking enough photos and it’s something I need to work on.