How to Take a Good Selfie (And Have Fewer Photos to Organize)

Part of photo organizing is taking better pictures to begin with. Better pictures = fewer pictures = fewer to delete.

I enjoyed a day in Philadelphia recently, and was just playing around with my camera on the waterfront in front of the Ben Franklin Bridge, and thought these pictures really show how taking a few seconds before you shoot can help you get the best shot.

By the way, I am NOT a photographer, so these tips that I’ve learned from the pros can work for anyone.

The first shot could be the best, but often it’s not. I got the landmark in my photo, but it oddly looks like it’s going right through my head. Steve Martin, anyone? But more importantly, I’m standing in full sun, looking mostly into the sun, so I am squinting and have very harsh shadows and angles on my face. And with a nose like this, I don’t need any harsher angles than I’ve already got!

How to take a good selfie outside

OK, so to get a better picture, I’m going to take about 10 steps to my right, where I see there is a grove of trees providing a little shade. Better, but the shade is a bit dappled, uneven. I’ve also found that by simultaneously pushing my jaw out from my neck, and looking slightly up and to the side of the actual lens, it looks more natural, and I look more awake.

How to take a good selfie outside in shade

Let’s try again. Better, but now I’ve got some random dude jogging through as a photobomb. It’s not always possible to keep random people out of your shots, and yes, you can remove them, but I just don’t have time for editing like that.

How to take a good selfie avoiding photobomb

Trying again to find a good spot of sunny shade. Is that a thing? Yes. Yes it is. And maybe a different tilt of my head would better hide the acne that I’m dealing with?

How to take a good selfie in the shade

Nailed it. Still got the landmark. The scene isn’t cluttered. And the light is juuuust right. I might have actually waited for a cloud to pass over to get this one. Sometimes waiting for a cloud is a totally legit thing to do, especially if it’s an important shot.

How to take a good selfie outside

These were just for fun, but you can see what a difference just a teensy bit of planning makes.

Knowing these few tricks can also help you when other people are taking photos of you. Pro tip…I take a photograph of someone else standing where I think I want the picture set. Then I look at the test shot and adjust what needs to be adjusted. That way, if I hand my camera to a waiter or someone else to take the shot, I’ve already set up the background, the lighting, and the framing.

You don’t have to be a pro to take better pictures. And once you take better pictures, you’ll have fewer photos to organize, and more time to enjoy them!

What would you like to know about how to organize photos?