Fellow bloggers often ask how I am able to capture such crisp selfies with my DSLR camera. The most important thing you need for a quality DSLR mirror selfie is good lighting, followed by the right equipment (you’ll find a quick summary of my gear at the bottom of this post). I have been receiving shipments from Stitch Fix for over a year and photographing every one of them in my bedroom mirror. After receiving 19 fixes and taking thousands of photos, I have definitely learned a few tricks along the way. Today I’m happy to share my very best trick for capturing a mirror selfie with my Canon camera.
The most difficult part by far is getting a shot that’s in focus. When I was just beginning, I shot every single photo blindly into the mirror. About 1 in every 20 photos was in focus. A small fraction of the few shots that were properly focused were well-composed. Many of the images were throw-aways because only half of my body was in the frame and half of the photo was occupied by the wall beside my mirror. It was bad, people.
Since then, I have learned a wonderful trick! To begin, you want to use Live View on your camera body. By default, all Canon camera bodies are set for you to capture photos through the viewfinder (the tiny little rectangle you have to peer through to take photos). It is possible to override this setting.
To change your camera to Live View, push the button with a white graphic that looks like a camera. You will hear a click, and the LCD screen will display the scene in front of it. My thumb is covering the button in the above photo, but if you look at the next photo, you will see the button and (more importantly), my Live View image displayed on the LCD screen.
Once the camera is in Live View, you can take a photo as usual. I shoot in manual mode and I can still adjust the shutter speed, ISO and aperture as needed. The settings are still displayed in white text on the LCD screen.
Focusing takes about 2 seconds while the camera is in Live View. A white rectangle is displayed in the center of the screen. That is the area that the camera will focus on.
To set up your shot, push the shutter button halfway down and hold it there. The outline of the rectangle will change from white to green. This means that your shot is in focus. I usually take a moment to readjust the camera as needed to compose the desired shot. This is particularly valuable when the center of my image has very little contrast (such as a solid color blouse). In those instances, it is very difficult for the lens to focus. I often aim my view finder to focus on an area with with more contrast (such as a black watch on my pale wrist or the print on a colorful skirt that I might be wearing). The lens is able to focus on high-contrast more easily. Once the focus is set, I keep my finger on the shutter button, adjust the camera angle slightly to get the desired shot, then push the shutter button all the way down to capture the photo.
About My Camera Gear
I personally shoot with a Canon Rebel T3i paired with my favorite lenses (either the 50mm or 40mm … more on that later). Canon no longer manufactures my camera, so if I had to purchase a new one on the spot, I would go with the Canon Rebel T5i (shown in the image below). I am SLOWLY learning how to use a flash but that is an entirely different ball of wax. Click on any of the camera gear images below to purchase them on Amazon.
Crazy For Photography
We love sharing information about our favorite photography tools and techniques. Click any of the images below to read more in our Crazy for Photography series on the blog.