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10 tips for taking better selfies on your smartphone

Simon Gilbert
5 min read
Taking a selfie outdoors

Anyone can improve their selfie game by keeping a few key things in mind

As many as 92 million selfies are taken every day. That’s a lot of selfies. Whether you want yours to stand out from the crowd, or you just want to capture your best side for friends and family, there are plenty of easy-to-follow tips that can really help elevate your shots – here they are.

Tip 1: Face a light source

Your selfies will look dull if you aren’t facing a light source. Whether you’re using a dedicated lamp in a room or taking a selfie outside in the sunlight, you, the subject of the photo, should always face the light source for the best results.

You should also avoid direct shadows over your face – nothing ruins a perfect selfie like a huge shadow. It’s not easy to avoid shadows on a sunny day, so here’s a tip: wear a hat to avoid hard shadows and dark circles under your eyes or chin.

Tip 2: Avoid screen flash

Basically, stay away from the flash. Using the flash can only highlight the center of the subject and doesn’t brighten up the entire scene. For a selfie, that could mean a part of your face becoming overexposed, or you might end up with the infamous red-eye effect.

Tip 3: Try portrait mode

Most front-facing cameras have portrait mode. It blurs the background and focuses on the main subject, delivering professional-looking photo. If your phone does not have portrait mode or you forget to use it, you can use Google Photos afterwards to add background blur to your photos.

Tip 4: Play with different camera angles

We have all seen Instagram accounts that look the same: the same photo, same look, over and over. A big part of that is the camera angle.

Start by keeping the camera up, put your chin down, and try several angles until you find one worthy of posting on your socials. Try different poses, too. There is no magic formula, but just try snapping a few with a little bit of variety, then pick the best one.

Tip 5: Clean the lens and use a selfie stick

Your selfies may look smudgy if your phone camera lens is dirty. So, get a cloth and give the front lens a good old clean. It’s simple and effective. And, selfie sticks can help reduce camera shake, which in turn can reduce unwanted motion blur.

Video calling family on a Nokia smartphone

Tip 6: Put your camera over your head

Want to show off your holiday destination or a new outfit? Try holding your smartphone camera over the top of your head. This will help get your torso, and your surroundings in the frame. Again, a selfie stick can help here.

Tip 7: Use the timer

Pressing the capture button can inadvertently cause your phone to move just that little bit. And as we know, we want a steady camera for the best results. So, try using your phone's selfie camera timer to capture the perfect selfie moment. Look for the timer option in your phone's camera app and choose between 2s, 3s, 5s, or 10s timers. That way, you can focus on posing, framing, and keeping the phone steady.

Tip 8: Be confident

Don't stress about anything before taking a selfie. Even with excellent lighting conditions, a capable camera, and sufficient equipment, you can't take a great selfie if you don't feel confident about yourself. Some people feel they don't have a photogenic face and stay away from snapping selfies, but if you approach it confidently and experiment with camera angles, you’re already on the winning side. So give it a try, and don’t put pressure on yourself – you can always delete the shots that you don’t like.

Tip 9: Use photo edit apps

If you're not fond of the default filters on your camera app, Google Photos offers a selection of tools to brush up your photos – and it's installed on most Nokia phones by default. And if you want to try new things, there's no shortage of capable photo editing apps in the Google Play Store. But don't go overboard with filters, stickers, effects, and frames – subtle tweaks and enhancements tend to produce selfies that stand the test of time.

Tip 10: Smile, but normally

Your best angle or ideal lighting condition won't matter if you take selfies with a fake smile. We know, it isn’t easy to give a natural smile on demand, but there is a trick you can try. Rather than freezing your smile in place, try looking down, away from the camera, and relax your face. Count down from three, look up, smile, and snap away. This can help produce more natural smiles than locking those facial muscles.

Selfie tips summary

All in all, great selfies come down to three things: the environment, the camera, and the subject. Make sure you’re well lit, do what you can to reduce camera shake, and come at it confidently. Remember, selfies, like any other type of photo, are about trial and error. Experiment to find your best angle and the optimum camera settings.

Did these tips help you? We’d love to see the results! Post your selfies on Instagram with the hashtag #ShotOnNokia and let us know what phone you used. Happy snapping!

HMD Global Oy is a licensee of the Nokia brand for phones and tablets. Nokia is a registered trademark of Nokia Corporation. Google Photos is a trademark of Google LLC. Google Play is a trademark of Google LLC.

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