When All Else Fails, Shoot Yourself
The one subject you can always shoot is yourself. Well, that’s assuming you have at least something to set your camera on that is fairly level and that you can run quick enough to get into the picture before the shutter clicks.
I marvel at my kids, who can turn their cell phone camera’s on themselves and take pictures. There is a whole generation of self portraits out there that are shot from above their head looking down on themselves, one arm showing, the other arm looking as if it’s been lopped off because it’s the one holding the camera. I’ve tried and I just can’t get the hang of it. That’s okay; I don’t want my photo’s to look like everyone else’s anyways.
It took me a long time to get comfortable enough in front of the lens to do self-portraits. I began to get over my phobia of it when I was doing my 365 project and one of the weekly theme’s was “Mid Day Portraits”. I could only find a couple of willing subjects (Thank you, Lydia, and my family!) to do portraits of so I ended up having to use myself as my subject. By this time I had acquired a tripod, remote, reflectors, and off camera flash so my entry into the world of self-portraiture took a giant leap and landed in……..the world of “how on earth do you pose yourself in front of the camera?!”
After watching a few workshops on CreativeLive’s website (take a peek on the right side of this page and you’ll find the link) I have begun learning how to pose others, and myself, in more flattering ways. Not to say I have it down, but I can practice on myself in my back yard until I feel the neighbors beginning to question my vanity or my obsessive-compulsive tendencies!
Once you get beyond feeling like you’re standing in your bathroom posing for the next time you win a competition and have to be crowned the winner, it’s not all that bad. I would venture to say it’s kind of fun! I have complete control over cropping away the negative aspects of my profile, getting rid of elements in the picture that are less than flattering, and producing an end product that I might even think is okay to let out beyond my grasp. Sort of like posting it here on an online blog where 3 or 4 people may see it!
I’ve actually learned a few things by doing this exercise that I’ve been able to apply to the portrait work I’ve done. I can see how silly a certain pose may appear on camera and learn that it’s not a good choice to have someone else pose in that way. I can see how light plays off hair, how it effects facial features, how I can work to position a face so that the light plays off it in a more flattering way. I understand more completely how natural framing of my subject can help flatter them, or hide things they just plainly don’t want the camera to capture.
My camera, my tripod, and my remote are my best friends when it comes to learning more about portrait work and my venue is self-portraiture in my own back yard. It’s a winning relationship that results in a fresh new crop of portraits that my husband can put on his desk at work. Nice, isn’t it?