Creative Self Portraits Anyone Can Create
Photographers are usually most comfortable behind the lens, focusing their camera on other people and subjects. But taking self portraits, or "selfies," can be a lot of fun.
If you're ready to turn the camera on yourself, here are ideas for self portraits that anyone can create. You don't need fancy camera equipment or incredible photo editing skills to create images like the ones shown here. I'll tell you how I made each shot and give you ideas on how to create your own fun self portraits.
(All self portraits on this page by Lisa Howard)
I'm the kind of photographer who loves to snap candid photos. I prefer to capture real life as it happens, so I rarely ask people to stop what they're doing to take a photo. I just keep snapping pictures while they're doing whatever they're doing.
Capturing yourself in action has traditionally been a challenge for photographers, but with wearable cameras such as the GoPro Hero, action selfies are now easier than ever. And you don't need to be an extreme athlete to have some fun with action shots. Simply riding a bike or jogging to the park can create fun pictures. Depending on what type of action you're capturing, you can use a hand-held monopod with a remote, put your camera on a tripod on timer burst mode, or use an action cam such as the GoPro HERO or Contour ROAM to get images of yourself in action.
To get the photo above, I attached a Contour ROAM2 camera to the handlebars of my bike, set it to take interval photos, and started riding. Since I was riding on city streets, I had a lot of photos with telephone poles and electric lines in the background, but this one with the palm trees and fluffy white clouds against the blue sky was a keeper.
More Active Self Portraits - Capturing action shots of yourself
My Favorite Camera for Active Self Portraits - Contour ROAM2
I love my Contour ROAM2 camera. It's small, lightweight, and can be mounted on just about anything. Little action cams like the Contour ROAM and the GoPro HERO are extremely popular with athletes who love capturing point-of-view video while they're participating in sports, but the camera also features a time-lapse still photo function. Simply switch it on and the camera will automatically take a photo every 1, 3, 5, 10, 30, or 60 seconds. You can wear it on a helmet, mount it on a bike or other sports gear, or attach it to just about any flat surface. The ultra-wide angle lens makes self portraits easy.
Some people say a self portrait needs to include your face. Others say a close-up image of your hands or any other body part will do. I think you can create quite compelling photos without including your entire face or body.
For the image above, I placed a compact Panasonic Lumix TS4 on the kitchen table using my Joby Gorillapod, a flexible mini tripod. Then I sat at the table, held a mirror in one hand behind the camera so I could see the LCD screen and I zoomed in on one eye until I had the focus I wanted. Then I released the shutter.
After I took several frames and selected the one I liked the best, I converted the image to black and white in Photoshop Elements and increased the contrast. To give it the effect of a black and white sketch, I then added some grain and chose rough pastels from the Artistic Filter menu.
Using special effects such as those found in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements can add more interest to any self portrait. Try playing around with different filters to see which ones you like best.
Who hasn't taken a self portrait in a mirror? Practically everyone tries it at one time or another because it's just fun. But mirrors aren't the only surfaces that can be used to create a fun photo.
I wanted to do something a little different with the "standard mirror" photo above, so I used the medicine cabinet to create a second reflection. You can also use multiple mirrors to create an infinity effect that makes it appear as if your image goes on and on forever.
In addition to mirrors, you'll find that the world is full of reflective surfaces if you simply start looking around.
Once you start paying attention to all the objects that create reflections, you may never be able to look at the shiny office coffee pot, a restaurant teapot, a calm lake or even a puddle of water in the same way.
More Reflections - Try these ideas for self portraits
Ideas for Self Portraits #4 - Clone Yourself - An easy way to show different sides of your personality
Everybody has different sides to their personality and different roles in life. You might be a mild-mannered teacher during the week and a champion skeet shooter on the weekend. Or perhaps you're behind a cash register all day, but spend your free time in the garden. All of us are multi-taskers with a variety of skills, interests, duties and obligations.
For instance, I am the family chauffeur. I drive the kids to their doctor's appointments, swimming lessons, Girls Scouts meetings and gymnastics classes. It seems like I'm always driving somebody somewhere! That's why I chose to do this self portrait in front of our family van. But I am also an animal lover, a photographer and a scuba diver. This self portrait tries to capture all these sides of my personality in one photo. I shot this with a Canon EOS 7D mounted on a tripod. There are many other things I could have included, but I chose these four as aspects that were easy to represent.
You might think you don't have the skills to create a photo like this, but it's actually incredibly easy if you have Photoshop Elements. You simply need to put your camera on a tripod, take photos of yourself in different positions, and let Photoshop help you merge them together.
See the video below for complete (and EASY!!) instructions on how to do this.
How to Clone Yourself with Photoshop Elements - Watch this video to learn how to make a self portrait like the one above
Creating a self portrait like the one above is very easy with Photoshop Elements. You don't need any advanced editing skills. If you can drag your mouse to highlight an object, you can do this. Watch the video below to see how easy it is.
Ideas for Self Portraits #5 - Include Others - Creative self portraits can include other people or pets
There's no rule that says you have to be the only subject in a self portrait. In fact, there are NO rules about what or who you can include in your self portrait. If you can convince a pet, child, friend or loved one to participate in your photo session, you'll have twice as much fun.
I have a cat who likes to jump up on my back when I bend over to brush my teeth. For this photo, I got my camera ready, lured her into the bathroom and bent over the sink as if I were going to brush my teeth. Sure enough, she took the bait and jumped up.
I started snapping pictures as she rubbed up against my head and walked around my back. When I reached up to pet her, she started chewing on my fingers, providing me the opportunity to snap this photo where both of us are making funny faces.
If you've got pets, think about opportunities for catching them interacting with you. Does your cat like to walk across whatever novel you're reading? Set up a tripod and grab a good book. Does your dog sit and stare while you make your lunch? Be ready with your camera.
With kids, try to get a shot of you reading together at bedtime or snuggling on the couch while watching TV. With a good tripod and a remote control, you can capture tender moments you'll always treasure.
More Inspiration for Your Selfies
Get advice from a pro
This page only has a few ideas to get you started, but if you're really interested in taking selfies, you might want to check out Art of Self Portraiture, a book available from Digital Photography School.
Divided into seven chapters, the book covers tools, lighting, composition, focus, post-processing techniques and inspiration, and provides you with some self portrait projects to practice and hone your new skills. It includes over 50 great examples of self portraits and provides plenty of tips on creating your own images.
Selfies Are Easier with a Good Tripod - An invaluable tool for every photographer
Every photographer should own a tripod. They're great for eliminating camera shake at slow shutter speeds, and if you want to take self portraits or jump into any shot with your family or friends, they're essential. I use a Dolica ST-500 tripod. It's extremely lightweight and inexpensive, but sturdy enough to get the job done.
A Handheld Extendable Monopod is Also Useful - Camera extenders make self portraits easy
If you don't like the bulk of a tripod, an extendable monopod is another good option. They're small and easy to carry, so you'll always be ready to shoot a self portrait wherever you are.
For Cool Underwater Shots, Try a Waterproof Case - Here's on inexpensive option
I own two rugged waterproof cameras (see the newest waterproof cameras here) and love having them as a backup to my DSLRs. But if you can't afford a waterproof camera, this inexpensive case is a cheap alternative. You'll have a lot of fun discovering a new world of photography underwater. Underwater camera bags are also available for DSLRs. You can check out my review and see some sample photos here: Does An Underwater Camera Bag Work?
Adobe Photoshop Elements is Great for Editing and Organizing - The perfect photo editing software
Adobe Photoshop is the preferred software of many professional photographers, but for average folks, the $500+ price tag is a little too rich. Fortunately, there's a more affordable alternative - Adobe Photoshop Elements.
Elements has many of the great features of Photoshop, but is available for less than $100. Of course, it can't do EVERYTHING Photoshop can do, but you'll still find many advanced image editing functions in this feature-rich software. It's also great for tagging, sorting and organizing all of your photos.
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Did You Get Some New Ideas for Selfies? - Please sign the guestbook
GetPhotographic on January 06, 2014:
Great lens. What I like best is that you are obviously enjoying yourself tremendously!
blestman lm on May 28, 2013:
Great lens. The ideas you share are very personable and add flavor to the self portraits
Gayle Dowell from Kansas on April 27, 2013:
These are all great ideas for self portraits. My daughter has done the photoshop cloning photo before. It turned out great!
Mommy from The Fabulous Midwest on April 13, 2013:
Awesome lens! I love the pic where you cloned yourself. Too cute!
PaulMaxwell on April 12, 2013:
Very funny lens with new ideas for self portraits.
thingz1 on April 12, 2013:
Yes, I did, and I'm adding a link to this lens from my own on selfless portraits. Thanks for the creative info.
geosum on April 11, 2013:
Great lens. Lots of neat ideas. I've got it bookmarked.
lamborghinicommander on April 11, 2013:
you created a nice lens, i like it
LisaDH (author) on April 10, 2013:
@Easyprofits007: Both make great cameras. I own a couple of Canon DSLRs and a waterproof Nikon compact. Each one has its own strengths and you can't go wrong with either one.
If you're looking at a new DSLR, what you should consider is which one has the features you want now, as well as the lenses and accessories you might want in the future. Once you start buying lenses, it's going to be hard to change brands.
And don't rule out the competitors. Popular Photography has chosen a Sony for two of its recent Camera of the Year awards, and Pentax makes the most affordable (and well-rated) weather-sealed DSLR on the market.
Look for the camera that will fit your needs now and in the future, not for the brand name. You might be surprised.
tfsherman lm on April 08, 2013:
What a fun, creative lens. Thanks! Maybe I'll try something now besides plain old headshots.
lionmom100 on April 07, 2013:
A very nice lens. I had never considered doing self portraits.
Easyprofits007 on April 06, 2013:
Great ideas, I have always wondered about the Canon Rebel T1 camera and I have trouble deciding on which camera to get should I get a Nikon or Canon... I Can't make up my mind?
CheckrdRed on April 04, 2013:
Cool! cauze I loves drawing self portraits. Thanks U!
Leah J. Hileman from East Berlin, PA, USA on April 03, 2013:
I love seeing what all can be done with a camera, a program, and imagination. Well done!
MensAffairscom on April 02, 2013:
Wow amazing lens. Thank you for your ideas, I will try it out
anonymous on April 02, 2013:
Can't wait to try some of these ideas! How fun!
bethann21 on April 02, 2013:
What a great lens! So much fun.
Art Inspired on March 31, 2013:
Thanks for sharing your creative ideas. Make it a creative day!
mattcut on March 30, 2013:
so much gorgeous natural creative beauty in one lens - thank you for creating this lovely lens !!!
glowchick on March 30, 2013:
What a fun lens! I loved all the different ideas, very well done :)
Bartukas on March 29, 2013:
Very nice and great lens! nice ideas thanks for sharing
anonymous on March 29, 2013:
the clone is so cool. thanks for sharing.
sue826 lm on March 28, 2013:
nice ideas - creative. Nice lens
John Norman Stewart from Cottonwood, CA on March 28, 2013:
Great lens. Thanks for sharing....:)
RinchenChodron on March 28, 2013:
This was lots of fun to see what you can do with a self-portrait. Have to go try some. Thanks - excellent lens!
Legenden on March 28, 2013:
Nice lens! :D
FancyThatUSA on March 26, 2013:
some cute ideas. I like the cloning that's really fun
nicey on March 25, 2013:
You have written a good lens, Well done!
Please,how can I change my captured picture into a jpeg etc ?
Your reply will be appreciated .
BorednBroke on March 25, 2013:
I love the clone minivan photo. very cool!
Ana Dilber on March 25, 2013:
A self-portrait may be a portrait of an artist, or a portrait included in a larger work, including a group of self-portraits. It is said that many painters include representations of specific individuals, including themselves, in the paintings of religious figures or other types of compositions. In such paintings was not portray people like themselves, but the facts that were known at the time the work was performed, creating a conversation piece as well as a public test of the skills of the artist.
Michey LM on March 24, 2013:
I like the clone yourself...
poldepc lm on March 24, 2013:
TheBLU26 on March 24, 2013:
Great one! Love your DIY ideas and creativity!
tokfakirmiskin on March 24, 2013:
Big Thumbs Up from me!
lesliesinclair on March 23, 2013:
Super job for doing the unusual and tell us how you did it.
CherylsArt on March 23, 2013:
Moe Wood from Eastern Ontario on March 23, 2013:
This was a fun and informative how-to. I got lots of tips for taking some self portraits. I'd like to try the jumping over the camera one but with my luck I'd fall on it. LOL
anonymous on March 23, 2013:
I love seeing how others express their creativity and then share that creativity with others. Terrific lens and great ideas! (Love the underwater pic!) Best wishes!
anonymous on March 23, 2013:
I would have never thought of all of these interesting and creative ways to take a self portrait. This is a really smart lens.
seosmm on March 23, 2013:
Great idea. Very creative :)
Gardener Don on March 23, 2013:
Being the guy that prefers to show my back end to the camera (as in my profile pic) I can't see myself doing this, but I did enjoy reading through your page her.
OrganicMom247 on March 23, 2013:
brilliant, thank you for the tip.
LiliLove on March 23, 2013:
Awesome! Love your ideas for self portraits, very creative! Looks like a lot of fun.
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on March 23, 2013:
Really creative. Enjoyed your lens. What a fun thing to do.
Zhivko Stanev from Bulgaria on March 23, 2013:
ok, that's a funny idea for a lens.. It worked out absolutelly perfect. Your ideas are original and interesting. You have my like too. :)
elkim on March 22, 2013:
These are really great ideas, you got quite creative. Sure beats taking a cellphone shot in the bathroom mirror!
LisaDH (author) on March 22, 2013:
@HealthfulMD: No ebook yet. Maybe I'll have to think about one. :-)
Kirsti A. Dyer from Northern California on March 21, 2013:
Where is your camera tips ebook? I realized when I dropped the photography course I was going to take this year that I could just browse through your camera and photography lenses to learn a lot. (Would probably prefer an organized book though)
webscribbler on March 21, 2013:
I keep trying to avoid posting a photo of myself online. But, I suspect that I am shooting myself in the foot by not doing so. You've given me some good ideas. Hopefully, in the not too distant future folks will finally have a face, or part of a face, to put with my name.
jlshernandez on March 20, 2013:
I never really thought about it but you sure gave me a lot of good ideas that I may try. Thanks for sharing.
Ben Reed from Redcar on March 20, 2013:
Great idea's - thank you.
Jennifer Lawyer on March 20, 2013:
I am not much of a photographer--and I hate to be in the pics!--but you have given me a lot of inspiration here!
omegaraj on March 19, 2013:
Till date, my only option of self portraits used to be using the reflection in the mirror, but after looking at the snaps in your lens, I will have more options and methods of shooting myself :)
Max_Graime on March 19, 2013:
These are all great ideas! I think I've done at least one of each. LOL
Brandi from Maryland on March 19, 2013:
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this lens and all of your creative self-portraits! My favorite is the "clone yourself" idea...any chance you know how to do that in real life? I could use a few clones to help me get everything done around here! :)
wyzeguru on March 19, 2013:
it's all me me me when it comes to self portraits! What do you mean that's the whole point! I don't know how i'd have got on with cameras that had no timer!
EmmaBrown1 on March 18, 2013:
These are all great ideas, but I believe I like the "Clone yourself" the most :) I should try it sometimes.
Vicki from USA on March 18, 2013:
Thank you for sharing your ideas for self portrait photography!! Yes, I got a lot of new ideas from you! This looks like SO much fun. I really like the cat on your shoulder and how you cloned yourself. I am going to take pictures of myself soon (after I lose a FEW more pounds!) "modeling" my aprons for my Vintage Aprons lens. If I use your ideas, I will be sure to post a link back to you. Great work!
sparkling-squid on March 18, 2013:
This is really creative and artistic.. one can go on and on exploring different ways of portraying oneself.. this is cool stuff.. good job..
Aibrean82 on March 18, 2013:
There are some really creative ideas here! I might just play around with them a little. Always fun to try something new!
EllieHarper on March 17, 2013:
Awesome self portrait ideas. I particularly like the cloning one.
Wayne Rasku on March 17, 2013:
This is great! I teach photography to middle school kids, and they will love some of these ideas. Thanks.
Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on March 16, 2013:
Great ideas for taking self portraits. I took one with me looking through the camera at my bike's rear view mirror. I was hidden by the camera but the mirror was a nice frame.
dellgirl on March 16, 2013:
What a great lens you have, I like what youâve done here. Thank you for sharing this, itâs really helpful.
Renaissance Woman from Colorado on March 16, 2013:
I love your creativity and the lengths you will go to get a fun photo. Great ideas and self portraits. By the way, my cat, Pip, does the same thing whenever she gets the chance. You have inspired me to engage in some interesting photo moments today. Thanks!
Jen from California on March 15, 2013:
Great pictures and ideas! I'm going to try the cloning with my son.
PinkstonePictures from Miami Beach, FL on March 15, 2013:
Love photography and I particularly like the cloning option.
Virginia Allain from Central Florida on March 15, 2013:
I love the variety you offer here and particularly love the underwater photo! Sure beats all those lopsided photos I took with my phone held at arm's length.
MusicMadness LM on March 15, 2013:
Great pics. You've inspired me to get me T3i out and take some of my own.
Vera-S on March 15, 2013:
Great ideas. Fun lens
Kim from Yonkers, NY on March 15, 2013:
Cool lens & great Ideas. ne day I'll have to try that cloning thing. (but then I hate taking pictures.. maybe a time lapese through the eyars would be better)
anyway I've added it to my https://hubpages.com/art/masterpiece-gallery-theat lens
anonymous on March 15, 2013:
Awesome photography ideas! I love great pictures but haven't started doing much of my own yet.
blessedmomto7 on March 15, 2013:
I love the "clone yourself" portrait w/ the minivan! Great lens!
petertraoassi2 on March 14, 2013:
Thank you. I am really into iPhoneography and your tips are great.
Close2Art LM on March 14, 2013:
great ideas, very fun and unique
thegreenninja on March 14, 2013:
I love these self-portraits!
nick-gondoras on March 14, 2013:
NewUsedCarsSacramento on March 14, 2013:
Most of the people love doing self portraits, thanks for sharing the ideas.
JeffSawyer on March 14, 2013:
anonymous on March 14, 2013:
Pretty Cool Stuff!
MichaelDubrovnik on March 14, 2013:
Those are great ideas!
rattie lm on March 13, 2013:
What fun! terrific lens. Well done!
mcspocky lm on March 13, 2013:
I love the one where you cloned yourself. Now I want to try it! :D
DebW07 on March 13, 2013:
I love the clone idea and I'm going to try it! Very interesting lens with lots of great ideas!!
anonymous on March 13, 2013:
anonymous on March 13, 2013:
WindyWintersHubs from Vancouver Island, BC on March 13, 2013:
Congrats on your Purple Star! These ideas are inspiring and proves you can take a good photo of yourself.
Kathy McGraw from California on March 13, 2013:
What fun!!!! Adding your own photos, and telling how you got the shot, and what camera really brought it all home. We will be in an onlin photo class you might like in May, with your creativity you are a perfect addition ;) Will send you info.
Laurabpeterson on March 13, 2013:
love this lens! I love the ideas you have, love the photos, love that you shared your great tools. (Brilliant marketing too!). Thanks!
anonymous on March 13, 2013:
You are obviously very creative. Great lens
poldepc lm on March 13, 2013:
great lens, thanks for sharing...
Blackspaniel1 on March 12, 2013:
floppypoppygift1 on March 12, 2013:
Wow- the clone shot is my fave. Fantastic work and ideas here! Cheers~cb
Sara Krentz from USA on March 12, 2013:
I've been in a creative rut lately. You've inspired me to play around with self portraits : )
Bill from Gold Coast, Australia on March 12, 2013:
Lotsof fun and unique ideas in here. Great Lens! I love photography and having photos that are a little different so I am going to try some of your techniquesfor sure. :-)
Annamadagan on March 11, 2013:
I absolutely love this lens! I'm big on self-portraits, so this is definitely my thing. I really enjoyed the video that showed how to clone yourself. Thanks a lot! Blessed, of course. :)
hmommers on March 11, 2013:
Yes, I got new ideas from you. Thanks. Very inspiring lens :-)
anonymous on March 11, 2013:
I have a self-portrait from Christmas - my reflection in a Christmas ornament!
Deborah Swain from Rome, Italy on March 11, 2013:
this is really inspiring stuff...wonderful!
Rosetta Slone from Under a coconut tree on March 11, 2013:
What fantastic ideas. You look like you're having so much fun in those photos!