How to Effortlessly Take Your Own Photos

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Whether you’re a traveler, blogger, Instagram guru, aspiring model, or any other type of content creator, we all have one thing in common: photos are vital to success! However, asking strangers, family, or friends to take 100+ photos of you in different poses can be anxiety-inducing. Plus, you’re working on their availability – and with their skill level.

While my boyfriend has been an awesome Insta-hubby, he’s not always around. Nor are my best friends or anyone else I’d rely on. So, as I’ve started to create more content and work with brands, it was time to think more outside of the box. You know what they say, if you really want something to get done, you have to do it yourself!

As a result, a lot of the photos you see on my Instagram and blog were actually taken by yours truly! I used to find it embarrassing and awkward, but I’ve since found confidence in my ability to create some magic on my lonesome. So in this post, I’m revealing my secrets so you can do the same! Call me your fairy godmother!

Bippity, boppity boo, let’s get into it.

Let’s Talk Equipment


I don’t subscribe to the idea that you need a high-tech DSLR to create quality photos. With Apple’s new innovations – Portrait Mode, Live Photos, etc., creating content with your phone has never been more simple. Although I may invest in a higher-tech camera later, I’ve decided it’s not necessary at the moment. I’ll stick with my iPhone X, thank you v much! The two snaps below are ones I took with my regular, degular, cell phone.

Tripod & Shutter Remote

A tripod is actually the most vital part of this process. Wanna know a secret I’ve never told anyone until today? I used to take my photos without a tripod. The most recent time I shattered my phone screen (1 time out of 4 by the way), it was because I was trying to prop my phone up to take photos in a parking garage. I didn’t even get mad – I had to laugh at the absurdity of it all.

These days, I’ve learned my lesson. This tripod with a Bluetooth shutter remote has since been my best friend. It can hold your phone vertically or horizontally, and can be adjusted by height. The three legs do a nice job of keeping it sturdy as well. Believe me, $23.99 is a cheap investment to make versus a $200 screen replacement.

A quick aside: Not only is a tripod perfect for your self-made photoshoots, it’s also an awesome thing to bring to parties and vacations with others. I’ve used it during my last two beach trips, and it’s been a hit with my friends!

Shooting: Choose A Background

Now that you’ve got your equipment handy, you’ll need to choose a place for the background of your shoot. This can be at home, or in public – depending on your comfort level. I recommend starting at home to practice, then becoming confident enough to venture the streets. Here are a few things to think about while you get started:

  • What will your outfit look like? For example, if your shirt is floral print, you’d probably want to stray away from busy backgrounds (e.g. a striped wall).
  • Will the lighting be good? A forest might create photos that are too dark. However, a white wall may be too bright. One day, I attempted to take photos in a cool alleyway. Although the lighting seemed good, it appeared extremely dark and useless in the photos – even with editing. I ended up on the roof of a parking garage that day instead! That’s why it’s good to have backup locations.
  • Will it be crowded? How will this impact your confidence to shoot alone, as well as the ease of shooting without unwelcome photobombers?

Or, you can set up a background at home! The photo below is from a campaign with a lingerie store, where I used my fluffy comforter and flowy curtains for the desired aesthetic.

Get To Shooting!

It’s time to kick yourself out of the nest and learn to fly. The best way to learn your angles, poses, how to set up the tripod, etc. is to begin. Choose a time slot, give yourself at least an hour, and get to it. Here are the tips you’ll need:

Get Multiple Shots

You can either use your self-timer, or use the Bluetooth shutter remote. I prefer the self-timer because I don’t have to press a button, or worry about the remote being visible in the photo. However, some people prefer to use the remote to avoid running back and forth between the tripod and your standing place. Keep snapping, while checking periodically to see what adjustments should be made.

Get Weird

It’s okay to try multiple poses, even weird ones you’d never imagine. After all, you’re probably the only one who will ever see these!

Use Movement

A raised leg, a hair flip, or a strut can go a long way in making something unique!

Try Angles

Yes, constantly resetting the tripod can get tedious. But it’s worth it for a perfect shot, no? Try different things. Put the tripod high, put it low, angle it up or down, etc. You might get a pleasant surprise.

Get Inspired

Find some great examples on platforms such as Pinterest or Instagram to create something out of your comfort zone. This is also a GREAT way to find poses!


Don’t trespass on private property, watch your surroundings, don’t fall off of a cliff or walk into oncoming traffic. Just be mindful. A picture isn’t worth your life, or getting arrested.

Edit, Edit, Edit.

I could write an entire separate post on this subject matter, so instead I’ll keep it short and sweet. VSCO, Snapseed, and Lightroom are great editing apps. Download them. Play with them. Learn them, and get to creating! I think you’re ready!

The Marissa Daily receives commission from sales using affiliate links on her website. Your patronage is what helps to keep her blog up and running! Isn’t that cool? Thank you so much!


  • Marissa Strang

    Marissa Strang is a full-time lifestyle and travel blogger based out of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area. Travel is her number one passion, and she is on a mission to empower others to make travel a reality for their own lives as well. She’s a strong believer that everyone can experience the joy of exploring the world, no matter the way they look or their socioeconomic status. Marissa creates one-of-a-kind city guides, destination inspiration, and budget-friendly travel hacks for aspiring travelers, especially young travelers and minorities. By creating travel content through her blog, The Marissa Daily, she strives to help others make lifelong memories - one destination at a time. Her journey as a blogger for the past 3 years has led her to visit amazing places and build an engaged travel community that she cares for deeply. One of the principles Marissa lives by, and encourages others to abide by, is that when you look like your passport photo, it’s time to book a trip. Let's go places.

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