Nikon Learn & Explore

Have Fun Shooting Selfies (Self-Portrait) Photos

Article updated October 2019

Self-portraits, also known these days as Selfies, are more popular than ever. In fact, the Oxford English Dictionary even added “Selfie” in 2013 because of its popularity in everyday language. Today’s cameras make it easy to take Selfies, with some models even designed to make taking selfies simple. With everyone sharing their images on social media, there’s an abundant audience waiting to see your next shot.

Photographers and artists are even creating entire careers out of self-portrait photography. Think about it—you’ve got an idea for a portrait but no one is around to model for you—so you become the model and take a Selfie.

Miho Comuro photo of a woman holding a Z 50 and taking a selfie photo

© Miho Comuro

The Z 50 mirrorless camera makes it easy to take selfies with its drop down touch LCD and Self-portrait mode.

Miho Comuro photo of a woman holding a Z 50 with the Self-portrait mode on, showing the woman on the LCD

© Miho Comuro

The Z 50's touch LCD lets you easily hold the camera in one hand, see what the camera sees and snap the photo simply by touching the LCD with your other hand.

How to take a Selfie with your Nikon camera:

  • The easiest and quickest way to shoot a selfie is to hold the camera at arms length with the lens pointing at you. Depending upon the focal length of the lens and how long your arm is, you may or may not end up with a distorted view of yourself.

  • You could also point the camera into a mirror to take a photo of yourself. Just keep in mind that any writing that may be on your clothing or the background will come out backwards. If you use this technique, remember to have the camera’s autofocus lock onto the reflection not the mirror itself, otherwise, the photo will be out of focus.

  • Select Nikon cameras make taking Selfies super easy. Some Nikon cameras have LCDs that flip up or angle so you're able to see what the camera sees.

  • The Nikon Z 50 mirrorless digital camera was designed to take selfies. The camera’s touch LCD flips down to take self portraits easily. Once you flip the LCD down, Self-portrait mode is selected. You can even capture movies as well as still images while in Self-portrait mode. For flexibility you have the option of using the touch LCD or the shutter button to snap your photos. You can also use the self-timer function if you want to give yourself a few seconds before you snap the shot.

  • All Nikon cameras—Mirrorless cameras, COOLPIX point and shoots, Nikon 1 cameras and DSLRs—have a self-timer option. Put the camera on a tripod or sturdy surface, frame up the shot, set the camera’s built-in self-timer and jump into the shot.

  • Use a wired remote cable release with your Nikon DSLR. This option is ideal if you’re going to be standing very close to the camera. Nikon makes the MC-30A (31.5 inches in length) or MC-36A (33.5 inches in length); or the MC-DC2 (3.3 feet in length) wired remotes, which are easy to use. Check your user’s manual to see which is compatible with your camera. Simply attach it to the camera, hold it out of sight, smile and press the shutter button on the remote.

  • Use a Nikon wireless remote. Depending upon your camera, it may be compatible with a wireless remote such as the WR-R10/WR-T10 or WR-1. The compact ML-L3 and ML-3 require a clear line of sight between you and the camera.

  • Use the Wireless Mobile Utility along with the WU-1a or WU-1b wireless mobile adapters or your camera’s built-in Wi-Fi® (if it has that feature). For the select cameras that utilize either built-in Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi via the adapters (check your camera’s manual to see if its compatible), you’ll be able to set the camera on a tripod or sturdy surface and use the app on your compatible smartphone or tablet to remotely take the picture.

  • Use a Nikon Selfie Stick. If you’ve got a compact Nikon digital camera weighing less than .88 lbs with its lens, you can attach it to the Selfie Stick, set the self timer, hold it out in front of you to snap the shot. Be mindful of where you are though—some museums and sports arenas have limitations on the use of Selfie Sticks. Nikon’s Selfie Stick collapses when not in use, has a padded foam handle and wrist strap for convenience.

Dixie Dixon photo of a dad and son with a Nikon COOLPIX camera on a selfie stick

© Dixie Dixon

An option for taking selfies with compatible cameras is the Selfie Stick. Simply attach the camera, set the self timer and hold it out at arms length to take a great selfie shot.

photo of a dad and son who took the photo with a Nikon camera on a selfie stick

With a Nikon camera on a selfie stick, you can use the self timer to take the photo.

3 Tips for Taking Selfies with a Camera:

  1. Shoot close up with wide angle views that include you. Close-ups are great but shooting a wide-angle view lets everyone see where you were when you took your Selfie. If your location is pretty—show it off!

  2. Be aware of your background. Just like when you’re shooting a portrait of someone else, you don’t want a tree or telephone pole growing out of the back of your head!

  3. Place your camera on a sturdy surface if you don’t have a tripod, such as a table or other sturdy object. The last thing you want to do is have the camera fall because it was precariously balanced on something not meant to hold it.

Dixie Dixon photo of a family with a Nikon COOLPIX on a selfie stick

© Dixie Dixon

Many Nikon COOLPIX cameras can be used with a selfie stick.

Family group photo, taken with a Nikon camera on a selfie stick

Using a selfie stick is great because the photographer has an opportunity to be included in the photograph, which is great for family photos.

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