The Best iPhone Camera Settings for Selfies (And Why)

The Best iPhone Camera Settings for Selfies (And Why)

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Man making selfie and using new portrait mode on the iPhone 8 - iPhone 8 Plus Silver hands-on in Apple Store. Selective focus and shallow DOF, close up view.
Selfies are a thing of today. With the iPhone, you could definitely get amazing results.

Today, technology plays a crucial part in almost everyone’s lives. To be more particular, different social media platforms have taken over the everyday lives of billions of people. 

Up to date, more or less 3.5 billion out of 7.7 billion people in the world have their own social media accounts. 

One of the most well-known features of the different social media platforms is that they allow users to post their self-portraits, commonly referred to as selfies—a word that has even made it to the Oxford dictionary due to its popularity all over the world. Besides, taking selfies and showing them off on social media has somewhat become a culture. 

To most people, a day would not pass without at least taking a selfie. This is because it has become a way for them to show off the things they have, which makes them feel good—like their new look, their proud moments, the fun they had and so much more. 

Taking a selfie may sound so easy but not everyone has mastered the art of doing so. Some are good at it while others fail to take even just a single decent one. Whether you are a professional or a beginner, sure enough, you should know some tricks to improve your selfie skills. 

This article talks about the best camera settings for your iPhone when taking a selfie. It also contains some tips and trips you can do to take superb selfies you can proudly show off on your different social media accounts. 

1. Use Burst Mode

Collage. Man Vaping an Electronic Cigarette. Vaper Hipster Smoke Vaporizer and Exhals Smoke Cloud.
The Burst Mode feature allows you to take several photos in a series.

These days, the burst mode feature of different iPhone models has become so popular. This is because it has become a great way to freeze fast-moving objects on the photos that they take. 

With the iPhone, the burst mode feature is possible using the front camera. This means that you can take a selfie even when there are a lot of moving objects at your back. 

Moreover, with the burst mode feature, you can take multiple selfies in a row with just a single click. You can also choose from the different versions of your selfies and pick which of them meets your standards. So, you can take exciting selfies wherever you are in as much as you are given a lot of options to try out with your selfies. 

2. Adjust Exposure Manually

One of the best possible ways that you can do to level up your selfies is by adjusting the exposure of your iPhone camera manually. 

Before you have to download a third-party app first you can adjust the exposure of your iPhone camera. Thankfully, you can already do it today without any third-party app (although you can still use a third-party app if you want). 

To adjust the exposure of your iPhone camera manually, simply tap on the area of your camera screen where your subject is located. A yellow box with a sun and a slider will appear. Swiping up the slider will increase the exposure of your photo, swiping down will decrease the exposure. 

3. Keep the Focus on You

Smartphone camera screen interface social media application. Iphone User interface photo frame design camera. Flash, hdr, live, quality, time, stabilization ui icons. Vector mock up illustration
Keeping you focus will allow you to capture sharper images.

You are taking a selfie, so obviously, the focus should be on you and not with anything else. Keeping the focus on you is crucial when taking selfies. The thing is, maintaining the focus on you can be quite hard when you don’t lock it. But, how will you lock your iPhone’s camera focus then on you alone?

To keep the focus on yourself only, you can just simply press and hold the part of your iPhone’s camera screen where you can see your face until the letters AE/AF Lock will appear. This indicates that the focus is already locked on you. 

So, you can now move your phone around without worrying that the focus will be on something or someone else. To unlock the focus, just tap anywhere on your camera screen. 

Now, if you want a better focus beyond your front camera’s capabilities, you can instead use your rear camera, get a tripod, and invest in clip-on lenses for iPhone. You can always start with one clip-on tele lens or telephoto, fisheye, and wide-angle lenses altogether so you can experiment better.

4. Maximize the Flash

Using the flash when taking photos, especially when it’s a selfie, is generally not a good idea. This is because using it will give you an overexposed photo with almost all the details getting washed out. 

But of course, there is always an exemption to these. 

Your iPhone’s camera flash comes handy when taking selfies in low light scenes. Actually, it was not long ago when the front flash feature was added to the different iPhone models. It just started with iPhone 6S. 

Unlike the flash of other smartphone brands, the flash of your iPhone is very clever. How? Well, for starters, it analyses the natural light from where you are in. This will enable you to have the right tone for your screen so that your photos will not appear washed out. 

To turn on the flash feature of your iPhone, click on the lightning bolt icon that you can see on the upper left corner of your camera screen. Choose your preferred setting and you are good to go. 

Just make sure everything will work well when you are using the flash when taking selfies. 


If you want an even better flash, you can invest in a selfie ring light. Unlike your iPhone’s flash, you can control its brightness, which is great if you change locations constantly. Another cheaper yet ideal option would be a universal clip-on spotlight if you want a torch and selfie light in one!

5. Use the Filters

Person apply digital filters to image in Instagram application on a brand new Apple iPhone 5S. Instagram is a mobile social networking service, launched in October 2010.
The filters allow you to adjust your images and add effects to it.

The selfies that you take will not always flatter you, especially when you have skin issues. Not applying any filter is such situations can really make you are flushed face very noticeable.

(We meant no harm in here, there is nothing wrong if you are suffering from such issues. That is totally normal. We just want to give you options on how you can take better selfies.)

You can apply the filter before or after taking a selfie. By default, your iPhone offers you around nine default filters to choose from. So, feel free to try these different filters out and choose which among them fits you well. 

If you are not aware of it yet, your iPhone’s front camera has a lower resolution than your back cam, which makes your selfies look grainy, particularly in low light scenes. Using filters can make a difference in such scenarios. 

6. Use the Portrait Mode

The advantage of having newer iPhone models is having access to a great camera feature, which is the Portrait Mode. The Portrait Mode is available for iPhone X and newer models only. Using the portrait mode will give you high quality and ultra-clear selfies while keeping your background blurred. 

To activate the portrait mode feature, swipe from your camera options at the bottom part of your screen. Choose Portrait. An additional feature of using the portrait mode is that it gives you real-time tips that will let you know if you are way too far or too close. 

If you are an iPhone 8 plus and X user, well you can take another advantage that comes with portrait mode. You are given extra lighting setting choices, which you can use to enhance your selfies. You can choose from a studio light, contour light, stage light, and stage mono. You can use these extra features by using the dial at the bottom of the viewfinder.

7. Go Live

If you have an iPhone 6 plus or any other later model, then you have access to the Live Photos feature of your camera. What exactly is this Live Photos feature?

The Live Photos feature is a combination of a photo and a video. Literally, it brings a photo come to life by allowing you to record the movements before and after you take a photo for a few seconds. 

To turn on the Live Photos feature of your iPhone’s camera, click the multi-rimmed circle in the upper center of your camera frame. When highlighted yellow then, it’s on.

In case you have taken a Live Photo, you can open it still on your Photos app. You can swipe between the selfies you have taken. You just have to make sure that your selfie is really focused on you since there are times that your iPhone’s camera will still shoot while it is trying to fix some issues that it encounters. As a result, you will have blurry selfies. 

8. Do Not Touch the Screen

Smartphone video time lapse sunset from a smartphone set on a tripod.
Securing your camera is very important to avoid camera movements.

It may sound a little bit inconvenient, but tapping the on-screen shutter might give you blurry selfies. It is crucial that you keep your iPhone steady in order to get clear and crisp selfies. 

Therefore, to keep your iPhone steady, you can choose from the following options:

  • Use the Self Timer

By default, you can choose from either a 3-second delay or a 10-second delay. Using the timer gives you the time to relax and check out whether your framing is right before the shutter will fire away. 

Before clicking the shutter button with your chosen timer, make sure your phone secured on a sturdy tripod for iPhones. It should be placed somewhere steady for it not to fall and of course, to keep it in its place as well while you are taking a selfie.

  • Use the Volume Button

The latest iPhone models are bigger than ever, which makes it hard for anyone to take a selfie by using the shutter button. Luckily, Apple has made it possible to take photos using the volume button.

The size of newer iPhone models is just enough for you to grip it properly and position it in such a way that your thumb of your left hand or the index finger of your right hand is angled aptly to click on the up volume button when taking a selfie. Using this technique also keeps you away from accidentally falling your phone. 

  • Use Your earphones

Are you aware that you can actually use your earphones to take photos? This is true if you own an iPhone 6 or any newer iPhone version with an audio jack. 

All you have to do is to connect your earphones to your phone before or after opening the Camera app. After that, you have to press the volume button of your earphones to take a photo. 

If you don’t own a pair of earphones or your old ones are not working anymore, you can check out these traditional wired earphones, which as a 3.5mm audio jack. Meanwhile, if your newer iPhone doesn’t have an audio jack, you can use lightning earphones. Instead of connecting to a non-existent audio jack, you can connect it to your iPhone’s charging port.

  • Try Using a Selfie Stick

Since we are talking about taking selfies, using an iPhone selfie stick really comes handy here. Aside from it does not require you to hold your camera, you are also given the opportunity to take a selfie from a wider angle. This is very helpful when you want to include a beautiful landscape in your background. 

Most probably, you already know what a selfie stick is and chances are you own one at that. Using a selfie is way better than extending your arms when taking a selfie and end up with a “my arms are reaching out to the camera” selfie look.

Want the best results? You can invest in a selfie stick made of aluminum and compatible with GoPro cameras. One good example of this is the CAFELE selfie stick. It’s lightweight and it even has a remote shutter button you can detach from its body. Some selfie sticks, like the Mpow selfie stick tripod, even come with a fill light and a remote shutter button.

  • Use a Mini Tripod

One of the most underrated photography tools is a tripod. Using an iPhone tripod when taking a selfie is very convenient. This makes your camera very stable, so you can capture a wider angle or do whatever pose you want. 

You can find cheap yet good quality tripods these days. You can invest in a gorillapod if you like taking selfies outdoors. A flexible iPhone tripod will let you take photos anywhere since it can grip on fixtures like door handles or tree branches.

You can even choose to buy a remote butter button with a mini tripod for taking a selfie. But if you really can’t afford one, you can just improvise one simply, put your phone somewhere steady. You can also opt to buy a remote shutter button instead, secure your iPhone in a eye-level area, and set your camera on a timer.

9. Experiment with HDR

If you’re new to iPhone photography, you might be wondering what this HDR or High Dynamic Range is. 

Basically, HDR is the process to which your phone takes three different pictures with three different exposures—an underexposed photo (too dark), an overexposed photo (too bright), and a third photo that is just right. These three (or in newer iPhone models, more than three) different pictures will then be combined into one sharp and crisp image. 

More often than not, an HDR photo comes with more vivid colors and more depth of field. HDR, though, is not always as good as it sounds. There are scenes wherein HDR won’t really work well. Ideally, it should be used when you are taking selfies outdoors. 

It is recommended to turn on Auto HDR most of the time. With the Auto HDR mode, the camera will automatically switch to HDR mode once it senses that it is needed. 

To turn on the Auto HDR mode, click the HDR option at the upper part of your camera screen. Once clicked, three options will appear—auto, on, and off. Click Auto to activate the Auto HDR mode.

If you want to save the normally exposed copy of your selfies, simply go to Settings > Photos and Camera > Keep Normal Photo. 

10. Use the Camera Grid

Unnamed dinner takes a photo using the rule of thirds at Moom Kapao fast food restaurant on Katchanaphisek road in Bangkok
Grid Lines will help you figure out where your subject should be placed.

Composing yourself is hard. Composing yourself in front of the camera is even harder. 

Thankfully, iPhones have these so-called gridlines. These grid lines will help you compose your selfies easier by helping you figure out where should you be placed. 

If you are familiar with the rule of thirds, then most probably you already know where these grid lines are used. The rule of thirds is all about dividing the frame into nine equal squares where your main subject should be placed where these lines intersect. 

To turn on the gridlines of your iPhone, go to Settings > Camera > Grid Lines. 

11. Crop When Needed

In case you want to remove something in your selfie, you can easily do it by cropping your photo. 

Simply open the photo that you want to crop and click Edit and then tap the crop icon. With the crop option, you can also rotate your selfie in order to get the best possible angle that will work well for your selfie. Finally, crop out the parts that you want to remove.

It is alright to have other objects in your selfie as long as it is for everyday use only. But if your selfie is meant for something more professional, then you have to crop out the unnecessary details in your image. 

If you are going to use your selfie for really small images, then ideally, you should not have any background in order for you to stand out. You can choose from either plan or solid colors at that. 

Meanwhile, if you are taking a selfie that you can post on Instagram, then you should shot in Square Mode so that you will no longer need to edit or crop your image in order to fit the size that Instagram requires. 

You can find the Square Mode by scrolling along the bottom part of your camera shutter. 

12. Check Your Camera Lens

:New Iphone XS smartphone model in close up.Newest white Apple Iphone 11 mobile phone & other phones with touch screen.Top expensive wireless gadget to stay always connected
A clean lens will give you clearer images.

You should check your camera lens from time to time to make sure it’s clean. A clean lens will help you capture stunning selfies. In case your lens had a speck of dirt or dust in it, you should clean it right away with a lens cleaning tissue. 

To keep your clean camera lens longer, make sure you do not put any of your fingers in front of the lens. 

In addition, you should also not place your phone in dusty places in order to avoid any dirt from entering your lens which can affect the quality of your selfies. 

13. Find the Right Angle

The angle from where you are taking your selfie could do magic just like in any other form of photography. 

Taking a selfie from a very low angle might end you up with an undesirable profile of your face. Some of these undesirable profiles include weary-looking eyelids and non-existent double chins. On the other hand, taking a selfie from a very high angle could lead to weird, out of style poses, which might make you the laughing stock of other people. 

Ideally, you should take a selfie by holding your phone in your arm directly in front of your chest. This will result in a 90-degree angle between your upper body and your arm. After that, shift it at around 15 degrees to the side. Your arm should be in line with your shoulder. Finally, move your arm up by about 10 degrees.

This angle gives you an additional beautiful dimension. This is because a little glimpse of your background is shown behind the top of your head. In doing so, you can use the hand which you are most comfortable with when taking a selfie. 

14. Edit Your Selfie

Unlike before, the latest iOS update already allows you to make minor or major manual adjustments to your photos right in the photo app. 

Once you click on the Edit option, you will be served with a wide range of editing options—from adjusting the exposure, cropping, adding a filter, altering the highlights, shadows, and contrast, and so much more. 

You just have to explore them one by one and figure out how you can make use of these editing options to improve your selfie. 

When editing your selfies, always make sure that you are doing it just right. Do not overdo or under-do it. Not unless you want a trash-worthy selfie. Therefore, keep the editing at a minimal level so that it will still look natural and not over-edited. 

With just a few taps, you can already come up with incredible selfies. 

15. Let Your Selfie Tell a Story

Keep in mind that a selfie is considered a conventional photo of you. This means that you should make your selfie more interesting and not bland at all. If possible, give your selfie more color by letting it tell a story. 

What does this mean?

This means that your selfies should have some character or personality to make it more appealing, especially when you are uploading it online. 

Instead of taking a selfie with your formulaic straight smile, why not try some reaction shots, right? Reaction shots are far more interesting. You can even step it up and buy a photography backdrop equipment and change your background frequently without leaving your house.

You can also try putting more emotional input to your selfies rather than doing some fake or scripted shots. 


Selfies have indeed taken the world by storm. Its popularity is expected not to end soon. 

Taking a selfie is not just about how you look but is also how you set up your camera. Your iPhone has one of the most powerful cameras. With the right knowledge, it could give you amazing selfies. 

Do you have anything that could help others take beautiful selfies? 

Share it with everyone else in the comment section!

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