How Many Selfies Are Too Many Selfies?

I’d love your thoughts on selfies (or self portraits if that sounds more agreeable). The other day, I wondered if I was taking enough of them. Then immediately was embarrassed for thinking such a thought. I’ve been instagramming since 2013 — the year the selfie was recorded as a global phenomenon. As I write this, I’ve shared 2424 posts, and if I scroll my feed, my face doesn’t show up very often. Interestingly, I end up showing my face on Instagram Stories quite a bit more — not as selfies, but in footage of me talking about the Tall House.

It’s got me thinking: am I not showing up enough in the record my own life? Will my kids have pictures of me with them? Pictures of me participating? Or am I spending too much time behind the camera? Does it matter?

Then my thoughts travel here: Why are some people so comfortable with selfies while others avoid them? Do people who think they are beautiful share more selfies? Do people who feel unattractive share less selfies? To me, it feels more complicated than that, because I’m confident, and I like the way I look, but I rarely think to take a selfie, and I hesitate hitting publish every time I’m about to share an image of myself. I think I worry that it will seem like I’m vain or begging for compliments. Then again, it feels great when you share a picture of yourself and people comment saying nice things — which seems like a reason not to hesitate, right?

What’s the story? It makes me wonder if there are patterns we’ll see as people look back and research the selfie phenomenon. Are there certain months or seasons where people are more likely to take selfies? Are there personality traits that determine how many selfies someone takes? Do certain Enneagram Numbers or Zodiac Signs take more selfies than others? Are there patterns regarding access to types of cameras or equipment or education? Is it an introvert/extrovert thing?

Related: how many selfies is too many? If you took and shared a selfie daily for a year, would you find that to be an interesting record? Or would it feel narcissistic? Would it be more palatable if it was done as an art project? (We don’t seem to have any issues with artists making self-portraits.) And what if you take selfies regularly but don’t share them? What’s the motivation there? Simply a record for your personal use?

I also think about people who were hesitant about selfies a decade ago, but have learned to embrace them. It’s a whole skill! There are dozens of tutorials on how to take take a “good” selfie with advice on camera angles, lighting, filters, etc.. Have you ever tried to improve your selfie skills?

What’s your take on selfies? Do you take them often? Do you take them at all? Do you share them or keep them to yourself? Have you gotten more comfortable taking selfies after a decade or so of Instagram and camera phones? Or less comfortable? If you like taking selfies, do you use filters or do you like to keep them as is? If you don’t like taking selfies, what keeps you from doing so? Like me, are you aware of how often you’re taking (or not taking) them? Would love your thoughts.

112 thoughts on “How Many Selfies Are Too Many Selfies?”

  1. Here are my selfie rules:
    1. Every day is too much
    2. You must not have duck face
    3. If you post a lot of selfies on insta, don’t feel the need to post a bunch or words, too. Basically a selfie is usually a photo you actually like of yourself… So post it, an own it!

    I sound like a jerk, don’t I…

    1. You don’t sound like jerk at all! I love that you have selfie rules. Maybe I need to write a second post on this topic and poll everybody about their self-imposed selfie rules and guidelines.

      Also, I’m not totally sure what duck face is.

  2. As a reader, I love seeing the author’s pictures show up in their blog posts and instagram feed. I think it gives another peek into their life, and helps you feel like you “know” them better in a way, vs always just seeing photos of the other people, places, and things in their lives. Also, I’m sure your children will treasure the photos of you, and even more so your grandchildren. I love looking through the old photos of my grandparents to better understand who they were, what their life was like when they were younger – to me they are treasures that I can hold onto forever!

  3. I love them, always have, and they’re my solution to the fact that when it comes to family, I’m usually behind the camera. I want to remember ME as I was, not just my kids. And I want to have something to show them. If other people don’t like it (and I really don’t think I go overboard) they can always unsubscribe :)

  4. I rarely take pictures at all – even of my kids! I just never got into the habit, I guess. I don’t really know why, I enjoy photos immensely. Most years we have a lot of pictures from something specific, like a vacation or a birthday party, but almost no pictures of everyday life. So before I start trying to be in more pictures, I’m trying to learn to just take pictures of our everyday life in the first place.

  5. Since having a daughter, I’ve been more deliberate about getting in front of the camera rather than staying behind it. I love looking at photos of my own mom when she was my age and especially cherish the photos of us together from my childhood. Pictures hold a special magic for me and I never tire of looking at them. I hope my daughter will see how much both her father and I love her when looking back through the story of her childhood in photos.

  6. I take self portraits daily but they don’t often end up online. I feel they most often reflect the person I see when I look in the mirror. Moreso than photos taken by others. I love to look back and see what I was wearing and what hair and makeup I was into at any point in the past. And I love looking at pictures of my mom by herself in days long gone. She had many photographer friends and so has some fantastic shots of her as a young woman. Like this one: I post self portraits on instagram about 2 or 3 times a month and they are usually well received, by friends who want to see me (and I want to see them too). I enjoy looking at others’ self portraits and don’t find them narcissistic at all!

    1. “I feel they most often reflect the person I see when I look in the mirror. Moreso than photos taken by others.”

      I totally get that. I like how you put it into words.

  7. I want to do this better. I work to capture my kids as they are: messy and in the moment. I don’t know why it is that I insist that pictures of me be any different.

    1. I think you’ve nailed one of the things I struggle with, Jessica. I’m so hesitant to capture myself “messy and in the moment”, I think I’m afraid it won’t be beautiful. What a dumb fear! Life is beautiful!

  8. I feel so uncomfortable taking photos of myself, but I’m more comfortable doing that than I am having others take photos of me. I’m REALLY uncomfortable having others take photos of me. And don’t ask me to pose! Ugh, that’s even worse! I agree with an earlier comment that you made when you wrote that you feel more connected to blogs in which the bloggers post photos of themselves. I feel like it’s an important part of connecting with your readers… and I hardly ever do it. On Instagram I’ll take plenty of photos of myself with my kids. That’s not a problem. I guess I feel less conspicuous that way. Like you, I feel comfortable in my skin, so I think I really need to get over this, but I don’t have an answer to how much is too much. :) Great discussion!

  9. I have kind of noticed that there are fewer pictures of you on your blog than I would expect, Gabi. That’s fine, if that’s how you roll, but if you want to post more photos of yourself I’d say you’ve got LOTS of room before I personally hit overload.

  10. I am the photographer of the family and therefore I am not in a lot of photos. I have to ask my husband to snap a picture of me with our children or it doesn’t happen. Most often though the camera settings are off or the image is not very nice because he just doesn’t know how to work my fancy camera. It’s tough but I’ve vowed to try to get more shots of myself with my kids. I also think I avoid taking photos of myself because getting really close up expands my flaws and I don’t want people to think I’m overly in love with myself!

  11. loved this. and super honored xo I wish I would have taken more selfies in my 20s. I think we need to document our lives so if we are very lucky and get to be an old person, we can look back. Look backs are the best. xo

  12. Pingback: Finally Friday. | Life, Love & Garlic

  13. When I look through the thousands and thousands of pictures I take each year, there are not many of me, and even less than I like! So, I feel like I should hand my camera to my husband (or kids!) more, just to increase my chances…

  14. such an interesting topic! to me, Instagram is for how the user sees the world. so if people show up in photos, it’s the people the photographer sees, not the photographer. to another commenter’s point, you “show up in your own life” by allowing yourself to be photographed by others. so I often find frequent selfies to be narcissistic, mostly because they’re outside *my* definition of how Instagram should be used. which is a bit silly of me!

    that’s my point of view on selfies, but reading other commenter’s thoughts about how they view them is helping to expand my views on selfies :)

  15. My mom passed away last summer. As we were preparing a picture slide show for her memorial, I was struck by the small amount of pictures we had of her alone. A fair amount of her with others, but hardly any selfies. I wish now we had more… To capture her isolated beauty. I think it’s a wonderful idea to ‘show up’ in the photo memories, especially for our loved ones’ sakes. So my kids know I was actually there, not just behind the camera.

  16. I always love to see photos of you Gabby. It makes your blog more personal and I always admire how effortless and chic you look. And I love your Alt Summit outfit photos. Thanks for sharing. I think it takes courage to be vulnerable like that but the reward is huge – you have an enormous following of women who can identify with you because you have put yourself out there.

    Now, to selfies in general (I’ve never heard the term selfie before but I’m whole hog rolling with it like I’m so in the know): I agree, we need to take pictures of ourselves. We need to be present. One thing that I am terrible at is taking photos of just me and not of me and one of my precious babes or husband together. We need to have our own identities in addition to being mothers and wives, and standing infront of the camera and saying that I am important enough to have my own photo is part of that. There, now I’ll have to go take a self portrait sometime today. :)

  17. Love this thoughtful post. I am super into selfies, as embarrassing as that might be. I follow a lot of actors and comedians, and they seem to be taking them constantly – maybe that gives me permission to do the same? As a professional photographer, I have always thought of taking pictures as sending love letters to our future selves. As much as I might find flaws with myself now, I know that some day I will look back and think I was young and beautiful — I want to have a record of what I might think that of.

    Your thinking, of what you should be recording now, in order to have a memory of it later, is exactly what compels me in all of my work. You are gorgeous and photogenic! Take as many selfies as you want. There’s no rule to what you should want to cherish about your life. This face, this body, you get just one trip in them, and you are welcome to enjoy and celebrate them in whatever way you like! It’s a wonderful example to the rest of the world when someone appreciates themselves, in my opinion.

  18. Pingback: Creative Genius: Meet the Blairs | Enterprise Web Reviews

  19. Pingback: Creative Genius: Meet the Blairs | Clarks Web Reviews

  20. Pingback: Creative Genius: Meet the Blairs | Jerrys Global Discounts

  21. Pingback: Creative Genius: Meet the Blairs | Alex Discount Mall Web Review

  22. Pingback: Creative Genius: Meet the Blairs | Charles Global Mall Web Review

  23. Pingback: Creative Genius: Meet the Blairs | Johns Web Reviews

  24. Pingback: Creative Genius: Meet the Blairs | Darrells Web Review

  25. I haven’t read all of the comments, but this is something I’m passionate about. (Being in the picture, not necessarily selfies.) My mom died when she was 57 and her kids were 15-30. Every picture we have of her is beautiful, even (especially?) the one with her hair in curlers and the one where she’s wearing a housecoat. I’m so glad she wasn’t a person who wouldn’t let anyone take pictures of her.

    I’m not particularly happy with my body right now, I’ve had some health issues and gained some weight. But I know that when I am no longer here, my kids will be so happy to have pictures of me from this time in my life. So I keep taking selfies and letting people take pictures of me.

  26. My toddler loves to get hold of my phone and start snapping photos. She has taken dozens of my backside as I’m working in the kitchen, and they are so unflattering! I delete them in droves. But occasionally, I keep just a few because this is actually her perspective of me. However dumpy and unkempt I appear, this is actually how I look, and she loves me as-is. They’ll never be posted on social media though!

  27. There’s a great article by Rachel Syme called “Selfie” (on Medium, I think?) about the history of the selfie, how taking selfies is a feminist act, and I look at it so differently now.

  28. I think about this too, because I have always taken a lot of “self portraits” (can we have a new name for selfies, geez!) going back the last 20 years back when I had to hold out my arm on a disposable/film camera. For me, it was a great confidence builder, being a shy/non-confident teenager. I have never liked other people taking my photo though and not having control over my image makes me so nervous. The care I go through to make sure I never post unflattering photos of others IS NOT RECIPROCATED to me haha!

    Nowadays on Instagram I post selfies on days when I have to do my hair or makeup because it is rare during the pandemic, I like doing that as a record of my life to some degree. I post a lot of other photos of things I find beautiful so it is a good mix and a lot more varied than a lot of the accounts I pay attention to who at this point seem curated to death. They are beautiful but it is all becoming one note to a certain degree. Sometimes I wonder…how many more times can I see your bathroom?

    I think people see selfies as vain sometimes or don’t have the confidence to put their face on the internet for some reason. Most “regular people” (non-bloggers) tend to only post pictures of themselves with friends/family/dogs and their whole feed is nothing but that. Interesting that is feels all or nothing! Maybe the line is drawn by whether you are an artistic person or not. Artistic people seem to need to capture life in a different way.

    Anyway, I’d say to up your selfie game, would love to see more of your face! That post election selfie in the blue turtleneck sparked some major joy!

  29. This is a great question. I don’t have many photos of myself with my mom because she felt more comfortable behind the camera. I love photos and wanted to do better, so I actually take photos with a photographer at least once a year (sometimes twice because almond blossom season in central CA is worth photographing). It’s a couple hundred dollars to do so, but I get SO MUCH enjoyment out of it, and it means I have at least one family photo (and one of my husband and I, some of the kids with each of us, each other & on their own, etc.) per year.

    I take photos with my phone as most people do, and we use Social Print Studio and make a poster of our favorite moments of the previous year’s Instagram shots to display, but that’s all I really do with my phone photos. The photographer-taken ones are everything, and I know my boys will have a lot of great shots as they grow up.

    Additionally, we have a big chunk of grandparents and great-grandparents in the 77-87 year old window (10!). I push to get photos every few years with our extended family, and now that we’re beginning to lose some of them, having a great photo with them is extra precious. I say, take the photos!

  30. I totally just thought of this when I noticed a weird spot on my face and wanted to show the dermatologist. I had to go through like 5 years of pics to find a good selfie that showed the “before”. Definitely makes me think about why I don’t. I think not being on social media for the past 5 years has something to do with it.

  31. I think it does matter. My mother suffered from body dysmorphia and refused to be photographed. On the rare occasion that her image was captured she would cut herself out of the frame. Only a handful of photos survive of her with me or my sibs past our infancies, and all we feel the lack.
    I’m the photographer in our family but make a point of asking someone else to also capture so I can be included.

  32. I came from a family of 7 kids,, raised on a dairy farm. Mom didn’t take many pictures, she was always
    working and money was tight. The kind of pictures I long for are of my parents! I wish I had pictures
    of them doing their daily things, even of my mom cooking or gardening, of my Dad on his tractor,
    baling hay, sitting in church, any of those things. The pictures are all of us kids and now that I am
    nearing 70 and have time to really look at pictures, those are the ones I wish I had.

  33. Patricia Ginda

    As an older person, pre share all your life on social media I’ve always wondered at the self centered appearance of constantly taking pictures of yourself day after day. Curating a look, finding the perfect pose. You see tots posing like cover girls in fashion mags…there something wrong in that…they appear mature beyond they’re years. Does anyone really look like the picture they present? Filters to blur/augment the real self… Would you be surprised to meet the real person behind the screen of all the gorgeous people you see on social media. So,I think all these selfies maybe aren’t a good thing.

  34. When I was in the Peace Corps, I took THOUSANDS of photos. I’m in only a very small handful of them…and most of those were more formal photos. I really treasure the ones I’m in (especially the more relaxed ones). I live alone, and I’m the primary photographer in my extended family. I have very few photos of myself. I don’t take many selfies, but have tried to take more when I travel. Otherwise, I have hundreds of photos of the beautiful places I’ve visited but none that show I was actually there and an active participant in the trip (especially hard when traveling alone- I’m very hesitant to ask someone else to take my photo for me…and I’m not a very good selfie taker).

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top