How to Take a Selfie on iPhone

Instructions and tips on how to take a good selfie

What to Know

  • To take a selfie, select Camera > Switch Camera (to choose the front camera) > Photo or Portrait > Shutter.
  • To enable mirror image selfies, go to Settings > Enable Mirror Front Camera (on iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and later) or Mirror Front Photos (iPhone X and earlier).

This article will guide you through the essential tips for taking selfies on an iPhone. A self-portrait shot might seem straightforward, but it can be challenging to get the right light, background, and mood.

How to Take a Selfie

Follow these basic steps to take your first selfie on an iPhone. Later, we will cover the powerful in-camera settings and a few common-sense tips to improve your self-portrait skills.

  1. Select the Camera icon on the iPhone homescreen.

  2. Select the Switch Camera icon to choose the front camera.

  3. Select Photo or Portrait. The Portrait mode and the Portrait Lighting features blur the background for more creative selfies.


    • In the Photo mode, tap the double-headed white arrows to increase or decrease the field of view.
    • In the Portrait mode, tap the shutter button when the Depth Effect box turns yellow.
  4. Position your face and tap the Shutter button or press either volume button to take the selfie. The camera app can warn you to move further away when the phone is too close to your face.

  5. iPhone saves the selfie in the Photos app on your iPhone.

    Camera app, Photo, and Portrait highlighted on iOS


    For a selfie that's exactly like you see yourself in the front-facing camera frame, go to Settings > Enable Mirror Front Camera (on iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and later) or Mirror Front Photos (iPhone X and earlier).

How to Use the iPhone Camera Settings for Better Selfies

The default iPhone Camera app might seem barebones at first. But it hides many features you can use to optimize your selfie. So, here are the best ones you can combine to take perfect selfies:

  • Use the six Portrait lighting modes for more inspiring selfies.
  • Adjust the Depth-of-Field (the focal length slider) to blur the background and focus on your face.
  • Take advantage of the 3 or 10-second timer delay to pose and take an automatic selfie.
Natural Light, Depth-of-Field (f) icon, and Timer icon highlighted in iPhone Camera app
  • Move the Exposure slider manually (in both Photo and Portrait mode) to adjust the amount of light on the face.
  • Choose the Square photo (in Photo mode) for selfies you want to upload to social media.
  • Activate the Flash (in both Photo and Portrait mode) to highlight your face for low-light selfies.
Exposure, Square, and the Flash icon highlighted in the iPhone Camera app

iPhone 12 and 13 have a default lens correction feature that uses an algorithm for more natural-looking photos. You can experiment with the results by switching off the feature from Settings > Camera > Turn off Lens Correction.

How to Take a Good Selfie

You can remind yourself about the basic rules of selfies with an acronym like LCP (Lighting, Composition. and Posing). Tips to take good selfies can fill a few books, but here are the essentials to follow.

Clean the iPhone Camera Lens

Dirt and stains on the camera lens glass can stop all the light from coming through or create dust specks in your selfies. Use a lint-free soft cloth to clean the glass before you take a photo.

Choose the Right Background

The ideal background will keep the focus on your face by cutting away distractions. Choose a location that isn't cluttered and a background color that complements the dress you are wearing for the selfie.

Shoot in Natural Light

The ideal natural light for selfies is soft and diffused. For flattering results, take photos during the golden hours in the morning and evening, so the light is softer. You can also stand near a window to diffuse harsh light and allow it to bounce from the surrounding walls.

Face the Source of Light

Always face the source of light, as harsh light behind the face can create unwanted shadows. For best results, the light source should be near eye level to expose all angles of your face and avoid shadow circles under your eyes or chin.

Use the Grid for Better Compositions

Select Settings > Camera > Composition > Grid to enable the Rule of Thirds Grid on the iPhone camera. You can better position your face by placing the important features in your selfie at the intersection of the four lines to draw the viewer's attention.

Experiment With the Back Camera

The right focal length can make a huge difference to your selfie. Also, some iPhone Pro models have more powerful rear cameras. Though it's difficult to focus yourself within a frame with the rear camera, you can use the timer to experiment with still selfies or action poses.

Use Earphones or Earbuds to Reduce Camera Shake

Tapping the screen for the Shutter or using the side button can introduce camera shake. Instead, place the iPhone on a level surface in selfie mode and press either the plus or minus volume button on the earphones for a snap.

  • How do I take a selfie without touching my iPhone?

    Use an app like SmileSelfie to take pictures automatically whenever you smile at the camera.

  • Why can't I zoom in while taking a selfie on my iPhone?

    You can't zoom in while in Portrait mode. If you want to zoom in while taking a selfie, you must use Photo mode.

  • How do I take a selfie video on my iPhone?

    To take a video on an iPhone, open the Camera app, slide to Video, and use the red button to start and stop the recording. You can also take photos while recording the video.

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