How to easily take high quality self-portraits with iPhone and iOS 5

Trying to figure out how to take a high quality self-portrait with the iPhone, and the low-quality front-facing VGA camera just isn't cutting it? One of the new features of iOS 5 is the ability to trigger the iPhone's rear facing camera with the Volume Up button, and that means it's easier than ever to get the perfect self-portrait. Here's how:

  1. Launch Camera app
  2. If the front facing camera is activated, tap the rotating camera icon in the top right corner
  3. For best result, put the iPhone in your right hand and turn it around
  4. Hold the phone out from your body while positioning your thumb over the Volume Up button. The iPhone's camera has a wide enough angle that it is not necessary to stretch out your arm completely. You may want to bend your arm a little so that the inside part of your elbow on your outstretched arm and does not appear in the photo.
  5. Look directly into the lens and smile (or not)
  6. Press the volume up button

If there's a mirror near by, you can even see what the camera is seeing on the screen and adjust accordingly.

Bonus Tip: If you're wearing headphones with volume control, you can hit the volume up button on them instead.

There you go! Now you're all set to take the perfect self-portrait! You can say goodbye to the grainy, front-facing VGA camera and only use the rear facing camera.

Now go snap some pics and update your Facebook and Twitter profile pics!

Leanna Lofte

App and Photography Editor at iMore. Mother, wife, and math instructor. Follow her on Twitter @llofte and send her apps to consider for review at

More Posts



← Previously

Want a FREE Jawbone ERA headset from TiPb?

Next up →

Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs biography, to appear on 60 Minutes

There are 39 comments. Add yours.

AmyLeon says:

O my goodness gracious!!!

Holly says:

I agree thanks Leanna for this is not in the 168 page book that comes with our Iphones & those of us just getting used to them.

Banjoe says:

LOL, Leanna. This post is funny.

Asdollah Mirza says:

I guess we are in desperate need of rumors or we'll end up with this kind of "useful info" till next spring!

Hung Well says:

Seriously? Every 13 year old kid on FB knows how to take a picture of themself.

USA Rocks says:

Read again, this time don't concentrate on moving your lips when you read. The tip is for using the rear camera and the volume up button which a lot of new iPhone users are not aware of.


Easy for Leanna to take a nice pic. I always look like a mule eating thistle.

Nick says:

well there is no real camera trick for attractiveness... sorry for ya my man...

Jiovanni Crespo says:

Actually you can just plug in the apple headphones and use the volume up button on that to take the picture. That way you don't have to hold the phone awkwardly in your hand.

Hfs3 says:

Wow....and with this, I am removing tipb from my bookmarks and no longer coming here for my iPhone news. The posts have become so completely useless and late to the party. MacRumors and AppleInsider ALWAYS break news before tipb, and their content is actually substantive. Goodbye tipb, it's been a good 3 year ride.

USA says:

Don't let the door hit you on your big ass!!!

Sketso says:

Look for some big boy pants while you're gone and we'll tell ya how well they fit when ya come back. ;)

andsoitgoes says:

THIS is why you're quitting?
Good. You're a useless human being anyway.
Not everyone is a tech genius, there are a TON of people who just got their phones and don't have any interest in a lot of the high end tech stuff, but "tips" like this are appealing to them.
I get sick of people posting here being so damn high and mighty. Not every post is going to be what everyone wants.
It's like school. They may be able to help kids who are more advanced, but at the same time they still need to cater to the lower common denominator.
I can't believe how dumb you are and how stupid You sound, kicking aside a blog for a post you think is inane.
TIPB will be better without you.

Happiicamper says:

second the motion on don't let the door hit u in the ass... if your sooo good start your own damn website

Ghost69 says:

Drama queen. Just leave, no one cares.

gregs87 says:

Well... it is filed under beginner tips....
I just took a self '"face palm" portrait using this. It worked.

Hung Well says:

If they don't know how to use the volume button then they probably couldn't find this blog and right now I'm very jealous of them.

andsoitgoes says:

Oh give me a break. It's easy to find this blog searching for iPhone news.
Many times people are not like many of us who search through and look at every single new iOS feature.
It's not like when you upgrade th iOS 5 it gives you a full walk through of everything new. The volume button shutter is not overly advertised.
Someone found it useful.
You didn't. So don't read it. The amount of GOOD news far outweighs the beginner talk.

Tui says:

this must be a joke, or she really wnts to teach how to take a pic ...a

fico99 says:

Very nice picture Leanna! Good tip!

Guest says:

With Spring finally carrying the i4s, I'm sure there are plenty of new users who appreciate this kind of information.

Cutehis23satx says:

It's all good leanna by the way great pic of a beautiful woman

Jjhdz7 says:'re very pretty.

Giet says:

It works, but sadly it will always have that "self photo taken with a mobile" feeling to it. But this is a tip a lot of people needed. I am amazed how few people know how iOS5 changes their phone at all. :)

Chris says:

Sheesh, back off of her. Good tip! It's an iDevice blog..with was new with iOS at one point..keep up the great work!

Alovejoyy33 says:

Do we still have zoom? I can't seem to get the camera to zoom.

Evan Gage says:

Haters gonna hate. I love that I can use my head phones to take pictures now. Its like using a remote shutter.

Ryan says:

ProTip: if you take a mirror pic, TURN THE FLASH OFF

Jauhari says:

Maybe the best idea is replaced Volume Up and use Apple Headphone and use Volume Up on the headphone... this tricks will make self portrait more better

Dominick says:

I have a feeling common sense went out the window with this post. I have a feeling that kids who are 9 know this all ready. I would hope the next time someone writes about this subject, they can go over some aspect of lighting. I would hope that this site would at least do something far better than this.

Dominick says:

Not everyone is going to like your work, you need to get over that. As a journalist, you are going to get criticism, how else are you going to grow as a writer.

Not says:

Where are the options for HIGH QUALITY?

aluminium gates says:

Yes, there are two light sensors, one in the the front and one in the back of these gates. So if you try to pass in wrong direction or pass without having put a token in machine, the gates close. The correct sequence to pass through is token-front sensor-back sensor. I think it's a typical example in many "digital logic" textbooks