Jeannie Thiessen’s Approach To Creating Stunning Self Portraits


If you’ve ever contemplated taking a self portrait you know the worry, stress, and hesitation it can create. Each month the 365 Photo List includes a self portrait prompt as a challenge for us to overcome those worries.

Creative Team Member Jeannie Thiessen has taken on the self portrait challenge with complete energy and amazing creativity.  Each month I look forward to seeing her photo post to the gallery. Through the last eleven months she’s created an amazing collection of photos.

Jeannie shared with me some of her process and what she’s learned in that process.



Me: Jeannie, you take stunning self portrait with such creativity and great technical quality. How do you get such great shots?

Jeannie: I always use a tripod. I have learned a great trick that makes my tripod a must.

  • I decide where I will be standing.
  • I place something on the ground to mark the spot.
  • I set up my tripod.
  • I take my camera back to my spot which is marked and use auto focus. I focus on the tripod.
  • Then put it on manual focus and return my camera to the tripod. Now the distance for focus is set.
  • I set the 10 sec timer or I use my wireless remote and take the shot.


Me: What a brilliant technique! I love that you move the camera to get the focus distance. So creative! What else have you learned in your eleven months of taking self portraits?

Jeannie: I’ve learned to be much more comfortable in front of the camera. I also have learned to be less critical of myself and the features which I don’t love.

Taking self portraits actually gives me a great deal of control over what I want in a photo and what I don’t want in it. We are all beautiful.




Me: You are right. We are all beautiful. That’s such an amazing benefit of taking thoughtful, self portraits.  What’s your best advice for someone who wants to give self portraits a try?

Jeannie:  My best advice is to start by taking a self portrait of a part of you or a feature that you love. We all have something we must like about ourselves. Try to focus on that to start to help you to be more comfortable in front of the camera. It’s amazing how much less conscious you become about your flaws as you practice self portraiture. It actually can be fun and creative. After practicing self portraiture for almost a year I can say that I have decided to love myself more and worry less about what people think of me.

It’s become very freeing.



Me:  Wow! You are truly an inspiration. I have loved watching how your photos sometimes include your face, sometimes they are just your hands or feet. I can see how working in small parts helped you to gain the confidence to include more of you in a photo. I love when you include your beautiful smile!

Here is just a taste of Jeannie’s beautiful work. You can see more in her CY365 Gallery






Read even more tips for taking self portraits you’ll love. 

Do you LOVE Jeannie’s photos? Let her know in the comments below!


  1. Love your photos and super-love that focusing tip. Almost all my self portraits have a perfectly focused background :)

  2. Your photos are definitely inspiring Jeannie! Mmmm – tripod – not my friend, but you have given me the incentive to try it again! Thanks for the tip on focusing – love it!

  3. Jean Graham

    Jeannie thanks for the tips. Like Katrina, I have loved your self portraits and look forward to seeing them each month. You are so creative!

  4. Jeannie your self portraits are always creative and inspiring. Thanks for sharing your tips. I plan to use my tripod more and to try your focusing tip the next time I take a self portrait.

  5. jennifer matthews-jameson

    Love Love Love this !!! Your self portraits every month are an inspiration get over the “selfie fear”. Great focusing tip. I would never would have thought of that, what a great idea !!!

    Wonderful blog post Katrina and Jeannie !

    Thankyou ladies

  6. So simple to set up but so effective. Thanks fit the tips and examples. Well done.

  7. Love love love you and your self portraits! Wonderful post!

  8. I love all your photos! You are unbelievably creative in the way you photograph everything, including yourself. Thanks for the tips!

  9. These images are so inspiring. I am the family memory keeper and am in very few of the photographs. I am going to take this inspiration and begin to capture ME in the frame. Thanks so much.

  10. Thanks for the focusing tip! I definitely want to try that out, but am unclear exactly how to go about it. So you press halfway to auto focus on the tripod and then you let go and switch to manual focus and that will keep the distance for the focus? Thanks for clarifying! :)

    • Jo, what you mentioned in your comment is exactly what I do. Once you try it, it will make more sense…Sometimes it takes quite a few shots but be encouraged, it does work.
      If it’s too frustrating, I also will sometimes place an object in the place of me and autofocus on it, switch to manual and then place on the tripod and take the shot. Have fun!

  11. LOVE YOUR WORK!!!! :)

  12. Jeannie –

    I love your photos, as always. The focusing trick is just brilliant!

  13. Sharon Burrows

    You know I just love your photography and your self portraits are always so creative!

  14. Simone Ruf

    Well I definitely learned something! The tripod trick is great. I was using a tripod but couldn’t figure out how to focus on myself… you just gave me an aha moment. Thanks so much and I always love your take on the prompts.


  15. Linda Stroud

    I also love your photos. Thanks for the tip on focusing! I’m going to try it. I also admire your knack for lovely lighting. You inspire me to keep trying to become a better photographer.

  16. Tracey Gehring

    This is a great article – thanks Jeannie!! I’ve been wanting a tripod forever now, and now I want one even more!!!! (0ne that will hold my Nikon that is, lol)I’ve always loved your photos, thank you for the inside look at how you accomplish them! It’s very appreciated :D

  17. Thanks for sharing the focusing tip. I usually put something in my place to focus, set the timer and then run and knock it out of place. It never even crossed my mind to change to manual to hold the focus. Your method seems a lot more humane! Thank you!

  18. Jennifer Fogle

    Jeannie I can’t wait to try your focusing tip with the tripod! I’m a big fan of your work and I look forward to seeing the beautiful images you post. Thanks for the inspiration!

  19. Hi Jeannie, I’ve always loved your creations, whether they be your photographs or scrapping. I’m a big fan and miss seeing your work. I have to come visit here more often!

  20. I absolutley LOVE this post! So many great ideas and such creativity. I hope you do not mind that I shared it on my business facebook page at ! My followers will enoy this post :)

  21. Thank you so much to all of you for your kind comments. I had no idea I was an inspiration to so many…

  22. Thanks for sharing, both the focusing tip and your amazing photos. Really inspiring

  23. Kelly Buss

    Jeannie- Each picture you’ve created is such an expression of you. I love getting to know you more and more through your self-portraits.

  24. Ann Carlson

    Jeannie ~ Love this feature on you and your pics are always so great! You do a great job with selfies and you make it look so easy. Your photography and the things you share about yourself are so inspiring! Thank you:)

  25. Very clever technique for seft-portraits. I will definately keep this information somewhere readily available!

  26. Awesome self portraits! I love that your shots are outside of the box, and your tips on using the tripod are very helpful!

  27. Awesome self portraits!! I love all the tips and I’ll give it a try, I love taking pictures of parts and portions, but it’s very difficult to leave the critical thoughts apart :(

  28. Jenny Reid

    Your photos are such a inspiration, I would never thought of techniques like yours, so original. Keep us inpsired

  29. Thank you so much for this great tip!! Only been doing selfies with my iphone since I couldn’t figure any other way – your tip is amazing!

  30. I love your shots Jeannie and thank you for sharing them and your technique. I am afraid of my tripod, but will try to approach it with more confidence…

  31. Faith Haynesworth

    Your images always look like they were taken by a professional…in fact I remember asking you if you were :D I want to thank you for sharing your techniques for us all to grow in our photography. I LOVE your creativity!!

  32. Wonderful photos! And great tip to try. Thanks for sharing.

  33. I am in learning mode so I guess one of the things I need to get for doing self portraits other than doing them with my IPhone is a tripod. Can you take self portraits without one?

    • You absolutely can! It can be a little trickier, but do able. Try placing your camera on a really steady surface and finding something to focus on where you will place yourself. Then use your self timer and run to get in place!

  34. Thanks Jeannie for the inspiration – just posted my first self portrait.

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