How to take the Perfect “Selfie”

Harmony. Captured in beautiful natural light in Downtown Lancaster

What makes the perfect “selfie”? How many times do you snap the same photo until you feel it’s perfect and ready to be posted online? 

There are a lot of ingredients needed and a master “selfie” taker knows the perfect recipe to make a stunning portrait. Of those ingredients, the most important by far is the “selfie” taker… the photographer! 

Okay, so now here’s where I fess up and tell you that I’m not actually describing “seflies” as they are typically understood. I’m not describing the act of you holding up your phone in front of your face, or attaching it to a telescoping “selfie” stick. I’m talking about a beautiful, crisp, well-lit, portrait taken by a professional photographer. 

With iPhone and Android phone cameras getting better and adding more effects and modes to simulate professional photography, the “selfie” has become ubiquitous. Every moment has become a “selfie” moment. But professional photography should not be forgotten. Why? Remember those ingredients I mentioned? Professional photographers know how to take all those ingredients and capture a perfect portrait for you. 

Let’s break it down. A photographer considers the following while capturing your portrait. 


The most important ingredient is light. Without light, there cannot be a photo. If you’ve ever taken a “selfie”, you’ve probably run into a number of issues. Maybe it’s too dark and your phone’s camera can’t focus. Or, you notice your image is very grainy or perhaps blurry. The result is a very low-quality image, and it’s often unflattering. Perhaps the sun is too harsh causing the photo to be much too bright and blown out. And, it causes you to squint in the photo or have deep, dark shadows around your facial features. Again, the resulting photo is probably not very flattering. The struggle doesn’t end there though. The lamp in the background is giving off orange-yellow light and coloring your skin. Or, your light source is directly behind you making you appear in silhouette.  

Professional photographers, like Chris Corrao: Stories & Portraits know how to get the perfect lighting for your portraits. Light that will be even and flattering. Light that will not be harsh or put you in silhouette. If there’s not enough natural light, a professional photographer knows how to use light tools like flash triggers and beauty reflectors to create the perfect conditions. The result is a high quality, professional portrait that depicts you perfectly. 

Meg. Crisp, natural light creates a beautiful portrait with a golden tone.


Now, let’s talk about angles. The classic selfie pose seems to be from above and with a tilt of the head. While a photo taken from a higher angle is often flattering, in the case of a selfie, you are limited to the length of your arm or the shaky selfie stick. The lack of range your arm or that selfie stick affords is extremely limiting to the creation of a great portrait photo. There’s not a lot of ways you can point that phone on your own that is flattering to you. We all have opened our phone cameras in selfie mode before we’re ready to be greeted by our unsuspecting double chins! 

Chris Corrao: Stories & Portraits is not limited when finding the perfect angle for your professional portrait photography. Photographers can be as close to you or as far from you as needed or desired and have a range of camera lenses that also completely change the distance and angle. Professionals know just how to put the right pieces together to make you look great. This is another great reason to ditch that cell phone selfie for a professional portrait! 


Very closely related to camera angle is your pose. We’ve all seen selfie takers in the wild endless moving their bodies, arms, legs, hands, and heads in a never-ending search for the perfect shot. And, seemingly they are never happy. 

Leave it to the professionals! Chris Corrao: Stories & Portraits knows how to pose you for a beautiful and flattering portrait. 

Spencer. Posed perfectly with a Steinway piano and presenting a very professional image.

While there are many more ingredients that make up a portrait photo that professional photographer like Chris Corrao: Stories & Portraits use in perfect measure to create your images, those are just a few of the most notable.  

Which do you choose? 

Everyone wants to look their best. Every morning many people spend significant time carefully selecting that day’s wardrobe, applying makeup, shaving… the list goes on. A photo is no different! Putting your best foot forward with a professional portrait will make a world of difference. The best example is during a job search. Consider the message you might be sending a potential employer with a dark and grainy selfie versus a stunning, professional portrait. It’s likely that you agree that the professional portrait makes the applicant appear professional, trustworthy, punctual, and general like they have it together. These are traits that every employer wants in all of their employees! Beyond a job search, there are so many reasons why a professional portrait is important to have. It helps you put your best image online on social media, on LinkedIn, on your dating profile, helps you land that role at the community theater (and looks great in the playbill!), makes you look fantastic when you’re ask to be a presenter at a seminar or conference, and the list goes on and on. Imagine what you could do with a new headshot! 

Are you ready for yours? 

Chris Corrao: Stories & Portraits in here for your “selfie” needs. Upgrade and update that grainy cell phone pic with a new, professional headshot portrait. 

Ready for your own photo session? 

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