The Art of Self Portraits
It’s been a great month of shooting self portraits, experimenting and trying new things and we hope you managed to get in the frame at least once (but hopefully more!).
We’re both strong believers that self portraits should be something all photographers do on a regular basis. Not only are they a way to show everyone that you existed, they are also a form of self expression, time just for yourself and your creative side, and are a great way to learn and practice techniques that you can use when shooting other people.
We love self portraits so much that we’ve put everything self portrait related here for you in one convenient place to reference back to!
Self Portrait Creativity Exercises:
Round Up of Some of our Quick Self Portrait Tips:
(for heaps more tips, check out THE ART OF SELF PORTRAITS)
If you're taking portraits with your kids, set a time limit and stick to it. If you tell them it'll take 5 minutes then go ahead and get all set up and ready and THEN have them come in and be done in 5 minutes. If you make it painful they won't want to participate.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
One of the easiest ways to get started with self portraits is to come up with a series in a certain area of your home. Something that will not require a ton of thought and will yield consistent results each time. Choose a window, a well lit corner, your front door, your bed...it doesn't matter where really, just choose an area with easy light and that will always be available. Then commit to taking a photo there at certain intervals (once a month is always a good place to start). By using the same location with consistent lighting, it'll be easy to set up your camera each and every time and you'll be more likely to actually make the image because you'll already know what's involved.
If you're feeling nervous or shy about being in front of the camera, think outside the box! You don't need to shoot your face. Start by capturing your shadow, your hands, just your feet, or find a beautiful landscape or background and immerse yourself in it.⠀⠀⠀
SCARED TO SHOW YOUR FACE? We get it, it can be really hard at first. It's just you and your lens and that's vulnerable! One easy way to get started is to shoot into the mirror with your camera blocking your face. It'll force you to start looking straight ahead but isn't quite as intimidating as staring straight into a lens. Have fun and play around with texture on the mirror (fog, mist) and remember that you can use what's in the reflection of the mirror to help tell your story.
Self portraits are your chance to create and let it all out! You aren't creating them for your clients or your family or friends. You don't have to please anyone but yourself! This is your chance to let go of the rules, the technicals, the pressure to create an amazing picture, and just let it all out! Turn up the music and dance around, experiment, try new things, jump on the sofa, shake your hair, be weird, laugh at yourself and just create! Create something just for YOU!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Don't be discouraged when editing on the number of images that you immediately delete. Sometimes I'll have 100 images to go through and only keep two or three...especially if children were included! Everyone makes funny expressions, and body parts don't always look right, especially if you're posing yourself with no one directing you, but if the end result is one image that you love that YOU ARE IN, then it's all worth it!
Want your kiddos in your self portraits? Let them help you set it up! Ask them where they'd like to sit, what they'd like to do, if they want their face in it, etc. Then, set it up and don't nitpick. Enjoy the moment, laugh, tickle, run around and be ok with what you get. Any self portrait - even if it's not perfect, is better than no self portrait at all! I have many self portraits that I didn't love at the time, but looking back years later, I'm so thankful I have at least a few images with my kids at certain ages.
So, you want to take self portraits (we have you convinced), but you don't have enough time, or the light isn't ideal, or you can't get a spare moement without kids clinging to you. You know what? We are working moms and we 100% get it! Hear me now.....IT DOESN'T NEED TO BE PERFECT. I know, I know....we're told over and over again that we should strive for perfection and that each and every image we produce should be portfolio worthy. But, your kids don't care! Do you think when they find that print 30 years from now they are going to look at it and wonder why you didn't have perfect rim light? NOPE. They are going to say, "hey, look at Mom (or Dad!) and how she's wearing that comfy sweater that I remember cuddling into." Yes, a self portrait can be very conceptual and can be fine art, or it can be a quick snap that shows your kids you were there with them and that you mattered too.
This 39 page e-book will take you from wondering where to start with self portraits to falling head over heels in love with them! This is everything Jenny and Kelly have learned from taking hundreds (maybe thousands???) of self portraits both alone and with family members.
Included in the e-book:
Why take self portraits?
How to set up your camera
Our top tips
6 self portraits with pull backs and explanations
8 before and after examples
A thorough list of ideas of what to shoot
4 exercises to get you going on your self portrait journey
Inspirational photos to keep you motivated and to provide ample idea sparks