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|Category:||Portraits and People|
Why You Should Have A Go At Self Portraits - Here are a few suggestions on why you should shoot a self portrait and how to make sure you get it right.
Photo © cattyal
Something newIf you're usually someone who only shoots one style of photography, having a go at a new genre can not only be fun but educational. It can also fuel you with inspiration, giving you new ideas to have a go at. As you're photographing yourself there's no pressure to get it right first time either as there's no one else to please but yourself.
Something for a rainy dayWalking around in the rain, shooting landscapes isn't fun so instead of getting wet, set up your gear at home and have a go at shooting self-portraits. You never know, you may find you enjoy it enough to take your gear outside, once the rain's stopped, to shoot some self-portraiture outdoors.
In your own timeAs you're not working with any one else, you can shoot your photos when and where you want. It also means you can play around with the set-up as much as you like without having to worry about your model getting bored. You don't have to worry about time ticking away either which is something you have to consider when working with a model as they could have another shoot to get to.
ExperimentAs you don't have a model to direct you can experiment with different poses and expressions much more easily as you won't have to spend time trying to get explain the idea you have in your head to someone else.
InspirationIf you're stuck for ideas, have a look at other self-portraits people have taken but do remember you're trying to create an image that's about you so take inspiration from others but don't copy them. Take time to think about what you want the portrait to say about you and what you can use (props) and where you can shoot it to help achieve the right message.
Think about mood and feelingThe feel you're trying to create for your portrait will change where it's shot, the expression you use and the pose you create. If you want a portrait that feels happy, for example, you won't choose a dark, colourless alley as your shooting location.
BackgroundsIndoors, especially if you're new to self-portraits, a plain wall or a sheet of plain fabric will work well as a background. Outdoors, consider the colours and textures that surround you. If the background is too distracting however, you won't be the main focal point of the shot so it's important to get the balance right.
PosingIf you're shooting straight on portraits you may find a stool, covered in material, will give you something to lean on and ensure you're in the right position every time you take a shot.
Do experiment with your shooting position too as switching to ground level or shooting from above, for example, may sound like a small change but it can make a big difference to the overall feel and interest of your shot.
FocusThe problem with shooting a self-portrait is your camera can end up focusing on the wrong thing if you're behind the camera, setting up then move into frame to take your shot. Switching auto focus on and using something in your place, say a light stand, will mean you can set the shot up then switch places with the object to take your shot.
A remote trigger is handy as you can fire the shutter from your sitting position but if you don't have one, just set the camera's self-timer. You can also try setting an aperture that gives you a greater depth of field so you know you'll be in focus when you move into frame. You'll also need a tripod so your camera is supported while you take your shot.
Continuous shootingSwitching to this mode will give you the chance to alter your expression and tweak your pose between frames. It's a mode most cameras now have, including the Nikon 1 model which also features Smart Photo Selector that shoots 20 high-resolution images almost instantly then saves your best five. Shots are recommended based on facial expression, composition and focus, which will help you pick the best self-portrait.
If you have a series of expressions / poses you like, try turning them into a triptych – an image that consists of three different images that usually relate in some way.
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