If you love portrait photography, this article is perfect for answering any questions or doubts that you may have!

If you want to take gorgeous portraits, this article will give you all the information and insights you need.

The goal of portrait photography is to create an image that shows the character, emotions, and/or personality of the subject. The best portraits are those in which the photographer can capture the uniqueness of the individual or group.

Types of portrait photography

There are many different types of portrait photography, each with its own unique challenges and rewards. Here are just a few of the most popular portrait photography genres:

Couples/wedding portrait

Family/group portrait

Maternity portrait

Self-portrait (Selfie)

Boudoir Portrait

Black and white portrait

Fashion portrait

Surrealistic portrait

Conceptual portrait

Artistic Portrait

High key/low key portrait

I will write about the other types of portrait photography, as well as composition techniques, in future blog posts.

Couple posing for a photo at the beach

Self-portraits (Selfies) 

The era of selfies has come to stay! It is now very common to see people whipping out their phones and taking pictures of themselves, wherever they are.

A selfie is simply a self-portrait, usually taken with a smartphone or a digital camera. They have become extremely popular in recent years, thanks to social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

Selfies are typically taken from a close-up, head, and shoulders perspective. But they can also be taken from a full-body perspective, or even from an aerial view.

To take your selfies to the next level, follow these tips on light, angle, filter, and setting. This way you can make the most out of your phone camera.

Whenever possible, choose natural light 

Achieving optimal lighting conditions is one of the more complex aspects of selfie photography. If you're outdoors, make sure the sun is not in your face, as this will cast harsh shadows on your features. The best time to take a selfie outdoors is during the "golden hour" – that is, the hour just after sunrise or just before sunset, when the light is soft and warm. If you're indoors, find a spot near a window where you can get some natural light.

Couple kissing with sunlight right in the middle of them

Find your most flattering angles 

Another challenge is finding the right angle. Most people tend to take selfies from below their eye line, which can make your nose look bigger than it is. It can take you a couple of time-consuming shots, but when you find your perfect angle, you'll be left in no doubt. A general rule of thumb that applies to any face is to place your phone camera slightly above your face and tilt your chin down slightly. This slight elevation will make you look slimmer. Play around until you figure out which profile you're most comfortable with. There's no limit to how many selfies you can take, so keep shooting until you find your perfect angle.

Filters - Yes or no? 

This is a matter of personal preference. Some people love using filters on their selfies, while others prefer to keep things natural. Use the right apps without over-editing

The perfect app for editing your photos varies in taste. If you're looking to edit your photos, some of the best options available are Afterlight, Facetune, Perfect365, VSCO and Adobe Photoshop Fix. Just be careful not to overdo it with the editing – sometimes less is more. A small amount of filtering can make your selfie look creative but going overboard will cause it to seem fake.

Group selfies

Group selfies (also known as usies) are becoming increasingly popular, especially among young people. They're a great way to capture a moment with your friends or family.

Taking a good group selfie can be tricky, as you need to make sure everyone's faces are visible and that everyone looks their best. It can help to have someone else take the picture for you, so that you can all be in it.

Another option is to use a selfie stick, which will help you get everyone in the frame. Just make sure everyone is okay with being photographed before you start taking pictures!

Profile photos 

The most crucial aspect of this article is how to take the best profile pictures for any social media platform, such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok.

Keep in mind that Instagram, Whatsapp, and nearly all social media profile pictures are round. This means you will have to crop out a fair amount from the photo. To be safe, make sure you're in the center of the image and there is some space around you.

Colors help to arouse emotions. Use the color of the clothing and the background to reinforce your message. For a more formal look, use subdued colors and simple backgrounds.

Use soft light with warm tones if you want to look confident.

Personal branding photoshoot with Gaby Guzman. She's sitting on a one-person couch and smiling to the camera

In order to take the best selfie possible with your cell phone, use the rear camera. Except for a few high-end phones designed for selfie lovers, the front cameras of the phones of ordinary mortals are worse than the rear ones.

To be able to take pictures with the rear camera, use a tripod. If you place your camera on a mini tripod, you can place your phone wherever you want and take a close-up or full body shot. If you don't have a tripod, find any stable surface to prop your phone on. Set the timer for however long you need, most phones offer time options. This is especially useful when taking self-portraits.

The background is very important if you want to take better selfies with your phone. The only thing that should be in focus in a portrait is the person being photographed- not the background. It doesn't matter if there's a tree, a bed, or another face in the background; none of it should take away from the main subject.

Therefore, choose a background that won't take away from your self-portrait but might even add to it. But subtlety is key here - you don't want the background of your photo to be too distracting. A full or half-length shot gives more context to the image, and therefore the background becomes more important. For example, look at this image with an effective background:

Beautiful woman looking straight to the camera



If you want to take beautiful selfies indoors, get closer to light sources. If it's daytime, stand near a window. If it's nighttime, hold your phone close to a light bulb--but never under the harsh glare of a ceiling lamp. Table or floor lamps are more advisable because they create a softer and more flattering light on your face.

It is very important from which direction the light comes from, it is not the same a side light than a light from a ceiling lamp. The light coming from a ceiling lamp is harsh and not very flattering. It casts pronounced shadows across the face, particularly under your eyes, making wrinkles and blemishes more visible. The front light shows more details, and the side light adds volume.

On the other hand, the most suitable light for portraits is usually soft or diffused light, which is more homogeneous, as it is more flattering to the face. Also, mobiles tend to work better with diffused light than with hard light. If you want to know more about diffused light or about lighting in general, in this mega guide you will find all the tricks, tips and inspiration.

To recap

Here is a quick recap of the main points to keep in mind when taking your next selfie:

  • Make sure your face is well-lit and visible against the background.
  • Look for good lighting. Outdoors, near a window, with a spotlight, whatever lights up your face well. Ring lights are very flattering for portraits.
  • Raise your camera above eye-level and turn your head to the side for your most flattering look.
  • Stick to cleaner backgrounds or those that will assist you with conveying a message without being disruptive.
  • Use portrait mode or keep your background simple and uncluttered, unless it’s conveying a message about what you’re doing.

If you follow these tips, you can take amazing profile pictures that will make your social media presence more impressive.

Written by

Hello! I’m Janel Kilnisan, living and breathing photography in the vibrant city of Miami. My camera is an extension of my heart, capturing life’s whimsical moments with a magical touch. My photography is a dance of wild, feminine grace, celebrating each unique story I encounter.

Want to capture your own extraordinary moments? Connect with me on my socials or book a session and let’s create memories together.