Selfies for shy people: 7 ways to take a self-portrait without showing your face

Showing your face on social media doesn’t come naturally to everyone. It has taken me a lot of courage and quite a few years to show more of myself on my profile. You might be shy or you might like to retain some sense of anonymity whilst still having a public profile on Instagram. There are clever ways to bring the human element to your images without giving up your identity.

  1. Using props

The strategic use of props is a clever way to conceal your face. They can add a styled element to your image and can help tell a story and show some of your personality, depending on the prop you use. It also helps with having your photo taken because it helps you to not feel so exposed and vulnerable if you are holding something. There are so props you can use, from flowers to the camera itself, here’s some inspiration!

Hats are always handy when you don’t have your game face on! Source:  @pattischmidt

Hats are always handy when you don’t have your game face on! Source: @pattischmidt

Flowers make a beautiful styling addition. Source:  @pattischmidt

Flowers make a beautiful styling addition. Source: @pattischmidt

Books are always a handy prop, and very handy if you don’t want to show your little one’s face. Source:  @pattischmidt

Books are always a handy prop, and very handy if you don’t want to show your little one’s face. Source: @pattischmidt

Take advantage of your long locks if you are lucky enough! Source:  @alexandriaslens

Take advantage of your long locks if you are lucky enough! Source: @alexandriaslens

You can even use your camera whilst taking a ‘selfie’ in the mirror. Source:  @naaaasyi

You can even use your camera whilst taking a ‘selfie’ in the mirror. Source: @naaaasyi

TIp: Note the use of the mirror too, another handy prop!

You can use both the camera and a mirror! Source:  @mygreyhome

You can use both the camera and a mirror! Source: @mygreyhome

There are so many more props you could use…experiment and have some fun!

2. Crop the frame

This is an obvious one but you can simply crop your image frame to suit how much you want to show. You might want to crop the frame at your shoulders down so your face remains hidden, just get your legs out or only show your hands interacting in the frame. It is whatever you are comfortable showing and what you are trying to convey to your audience.

A beautiful, personal bumpie without showing your face.  @bethanympoteet

A beautiful, personal bumpie without showing your face. @bethanympoteet

Check out our blog ‘Top tips for nailing that hands in frame shot’ for more inspiration on how to include your hands.

3. Turn your back

Your positioning to the camera can be instrumental in revealing yourself to the viewer without revealing too much. Unlike the theatre, turning your back to the camera, perhaps to a view or scene, suggests a reflective moment you are inviting the viewer to join in and engage with.

A reflective moment in a field of flowers and ‘butterflies. Source:  @kutovakika

A reflective moment in a field of flowers and ‘butterflies. Source: @kutovakika

Even though you can’t see Steph’s face in this capture, you can feel the sense of excitement and wanderlust. Source:  @memyselfandsteph_

Even though you can’t see Steph’s face in this capture, you can feel the sense of excitement and wanderlust. Source: @memyselfandsteph_

4. The looking down capture

This is a very popular way to be present in your images but not be too present so to speak…and curate a beautifully styled image too. From holding tea cups or flowers to capturing a fabulous floor, take the opportunity for the viewer to see what you see from a your own perspective.

A morning tea view good enough to drink! Source:  @my_lifestyle31

A morning tea view good enough to drink! Source: @my_lifestyle31

Flowers are always handy too! Source:  @my_lifestyle31

Flowers are always handy too! Source: @my_lifestyle31

5. From a distance

Another easy way to add a human element to your image is to place yourself in a scene and invite the viewer along. Experiment with this by immersing yourself in a dramatic landscape, a field of spring flowers, an avenue of autumn trees or a beautiful wall. Strike a pose and have some fun!

Tip: Take note of your outfit. You can wear an outfit that complements the scene or one that will stand out against your backdrop, like Alexandra’s yellow raincoat! Also props like big hats, bicycles and umbrellas are handy for these captures too.

6. The bokeh effect

Play with the depth of field and focus on something in the foreground of your composition allowing yourself to be blurred in the background. Try lowering the f-stop on your camera or use the portrait mode on your smart phone to achieve this bokeh effect. This allows for human interaction in the image whist still remaining incognito.

Autumn leaves in focus. Source:  @r4s

Autumn leaves in focus. Source: @r4s

A lightbulb in focus. Source:  @visualsoflumina

A lightbulb in focus. Source: @visualsoflumina

7. Creative editing

You can get creative with showing yourself in your images with some clever editing. You are only limited by your imagination, and perhaps your Photoshop skills but this is definitely a skill worth practising. Just experiment and you never know what you might create!

Source:  @imagineamy_

Source: @imagineamy_

I hope this has inspired you to get in front of the camera and add a human element to your images, or perhaps given you some different ideas to add some variety, style and creativity to your ‘selfies’. I can’t wait to see what you create!

Happy faffing!

Marisa from @marisa.young xx

Community Manager for @creativelysquared


Please join us for our September 16 - 22 creative challenge ‘Human interaction’. Patti from @pattischmidt will be our mentor. She will be featuring her favourite entries and feedback on the @creativelysquared Instagram account. You can find Patti at @pattischmidt on Instagram. We invite you to join Patti and the rest of the Creatively Squared community to add a human element to your images. Hit the button below for entry information and full resources.