Self portraits have been a large trend amongst photographers lately. I see new self portrait groups pop up on Facebook all the time and I see photographer's self portraits on Instagram all the time. For myself and many others, I know being in front of the camera is a much scarier place then behind it. We feel so at ease behind it while guiding our models but in front of it, we feel awkward and unattractive. This has to stop so I have put together some useful tips for photographers who want to jump in front of the lens!
But why? Many people ask why we do these and why not just hire someone to take photos of you. There's a vast difference between having someone take a portrait and you capturing a moment of yourself. We all see ourselves differently. This is one reason I personally take self portraits, I am incredibly hard on my self so I take them in a search to love myself through the flaws I see. Another reason I take self portraits is because I want to be in photos with my children. They're growing up so quickly, I want to be able to look back and see a photo of me holding each of them when they were small enough to hold.
Another reason is many of us find it theauputic to capture raw moments of ourselves. Grief for instance, maybe you've been through a divorce or you've lost someone dear. I've seen some profound images based on sadness, images that made me cry along with them. These raw and real moments can be a simple step in a healing recovery. Happiness is another amazing intention. A joyful laugh in the midst of chaos can make such a beautiful piece of art.
Get creative and have fun with it.
- DSLR Camera
- Remote control (I found this inexpensive one on Amazon)
- Tripod (My husband gifted me this one)
- Window Light
- Random focal point (could be anything like a vacuum, dresser etc)
Set your intention for how you want to look and the feeling you want to portray. A few popular ideas are movement, headshot, no makeup, cuddling your children/spouse etc.
Self portraits are art, you're saying something with every one you decide to publish. Be very direct with the emotion or moment you want to highlight.
In my personal self portraits without my kiddos, I choose an outfit with texture and something that I wouldn't normally wear out. I hoard certain dresses that I have found over the years to bring out a soft, bohemian vibe and they almost always have a low back. I love backless dresses but I don't wear them out a lot because of having to go braless. I use this as an opportunity to be vulnerable yet still controlling how they are presented.
Be sure to pick an area in your home that has great window light. Don't stand too close to a window though, this creates extremely harsh highlights, take a few steps back and that'll be perfect.
In the self portraits I take at home, I always simplfy the background. Moving any thing that might distract the photo from my purpose for the photo.
In my photos with my children, I keep it casual, I don't normally change. I want to capture a true moment of my life at home.
Messy hair, no makeup, and yoga pants.
No matter how you decide to dress and style yourself, be you. Any part of you.
Set Up your Camera
Attach your camera to your tripod at the height you will be. I like to put a marker in the area I think my head will be. If I'm sitting, I use a vacuum and focus on the top of it. If I'm standing I focus on the wall behind where I will stand. If you have someone home with you, you can always use them in your place also. There is a little bit of trial and error so don't get discouraged. Make sure your remote and base are set up. Mine slides onto the top of my camera and then I hold the remote and click when I want the photo taken. I always have to make sure and hide the remote in my self portraits, which can be hard at times.
I know other cameras can hook up to wifi and you can download an app which allows you to see what your photo will look like! How cool is that?? I wish my camera had that. Check your manual to see if your camera has wifi ability.
Once your all set up, go over and sit or stand and take a test shot. Go check to make sure its in focus, being careful not to disrupt the camera.
Have Fun with It
Now It's time to shoot. I usually will take a series of 5 or 6 photos. Then I go look to see how they're turning out. This is your time to adjust and changes, it can be tricky sometimes so be patient.
This is definitely my favorite part. It's exciting to figure out your favorite angles but also going outside your comfort zone.
I challenge you to push yourself. I challenge you to find beauty in any flaws you think you have.
Another idea to play with is slow shutter speed; lower your ss down a lot and then go twirl around. These images will be flowy and different. I love to try things I normally wouldn't because why not?? You're by yourself. If they don't work out, then throw them out, no one has to know.
Get creative. Grab your kids or your significant other and capture those sweet, fun or crazy moments.
Please let me know if this article helped you, and I would love to see your self portraits.
Hope to hear from you soon!