A selfie is a self portrait, so you must make the picture of yourself by yourself – just as a reminder, because some people think every picture of themselves is a selfie – it’s not ;). How does a typical selfie situation look like? You might have seen scenes like the following ones in the past ;):
The “selfie stick” is part of the equipment of many tourists and it helps to circumvent a typical issue: When taking a selfie, usually you want to show a lot of the surrounding, otherweise you are not able to show that you are in an exciting place. Most people use their mobile phones to make a selfie and these devices often have a medium focal length between 24mm and 35mm. A 24mm lens is a wide angle lens so that helps with selfies but the downside are unflattering (big nose) portraits. So mobile phone creators need to find a compromise to make their lenses useful for many situations.
The selfie stick helps to get more distance to the camera and get more of the surrounding in the picture. That usually works well so it’s an option to add some creativity to you selfies. You should not try to attach a big and heavy camera though ;).
What can you do if you use a “real” camera and you want to have more of the surrounding on your pictures?
Wide angle and fisheye selfies
Wide angle lenses and especially fisheye lenses have the advantage of adding much of the surrounding even if you hold your camera only an arm length away from you. The distortion of these lenses is something that you need to live with but I don’t consider that a real problem since a selfie is usually about having fun and some distortion can even make the picture funnier. On my Olympus PEN E-P5 and OM-D E-M1 I use the M.Zuiko 9-18mm wide angle lens or the Samyang / Walimex / Rokinon (identical in construction) 7.5mm Fisheye lens for extreme wide angles. On the Sony Alpha 6000 I also liked to use the SEL1018 wide angle lens in the past.
See some examples for ultra wide angle selfies:
Mirrors / reflexions
Using reflexions are also a good way to add some creativity to your self portraits. An advantage is that you don’t need wide angle lenses for this since you can experiment with your position and distance when taking the picture. In addition you add some complexity to the picture that can be really interesting, depending on the light it can even look like a double exposure. You don’t need to be the main object in the picture but can also be only a part of it. Another way is to merge with the subject like in the following pictures in the shopping windows with the suit or the figure. See some examples where I used reflextions for self portraits.
You can also use shadows to make self portraits. Like for reflexions the equipment doesn’t matter and depending on the position of the sun your own shadow will be bigger or smaller. Especially the evening sun is good to make yourself “larger than life” ;).