Next week on the RAW Live Facebook Group / Google+ Community the challenge is to shoot a “Self Portrait”. To help you all out I thought it would be best to give you some tips to get started. Try something different don’t take a selfie in the bathroom with your phone, unless you can make it hilariously funny.
The Gear you will need
Before we kick off with the tips and some awesome self portraits to inspire you, I thought it best to run through some gear you will need.
- Tripod. This is no necessary as you can rest your camera on just about anything but a stable surface or tripod will make your life so much easier.
- Remote. Most cameras have a self timer which can be set at 2second or 10second but you still end up kind of guessing when it will go off so if you have yourself a remote shutter release you’ll be able to control exactly when the shutter goes off. Wireless ones will make it so much easier but you can still work around a wired one.
- Lighting. Photography is all about capturing light, even though you are shooting yourself think about how you want to light yourself. Natural light, reflectors, speedlights, or get really creative and use candle light or a lamp.
- Tethering. If you want to instantly see what you photo looks like tether your camera to your laptop. That way you will instantly know what it looks like with out having to move out of position. Again this isn’t required but it does make it easier.
The important tips
- Don’t try so hard to look cool
If your trying to be funny, then go ahead and do whatever, but if you are trying to get a good self portrait don’t try and be something your not unless you are a really good actor. The camera never lies. Give your self portrait some thought about how you are going to process it, and what you want to portray.
- Don’t force emotion
There’s nothing like a fake smile to make a photo look awesome. HAHHA ok emotion is tricky it’s the stumbling block for many models and actors, so practice practice practice. It helps to draw on your experiences, if you want to be happy think of something that makes you happy, if you want to be say think of something that makes you sad if you want to look confused think of “2546852 x 3246941 / 36” that ought to do it.
- Tell a story
A self portrait is a quick look into your mind. It must represent you in someway. Think about how you want to convey a message of who you really are.
When your shooting a portrait of someone lighting is everything, when you are shooting a portrait of yourself the same applies. If you are using natural light don’t go out at midday on a bright sunny day and take a quick snap. Use the golden hours where the light is nicer, if your using artificial lights then think about how you want to light it, one light, two lights, hard light, soft light etc….
- Use your environment
Your self portrait doesn’t have to be up close. If your in a stunning landscape or the location you are shooting in lends to your story incorporate it.
- Learn from your mistakes
Review each photo and see what it is you can do better. Look at the light, emotion, does it convey the message or story. Change what doesn’t work and be critical. The chances of you nailing the shot in the first frame is pretty slim so just keep working at it.
- Get creative
Composition is everything. Try new angles, try new crops, photography is art so think about ways in which you can mix things up.
- Try something new
Experiment, I can’t say this enough, you can learn a lot about photography if you turn the camera on yourself. If it wasn’t you in front of the camera what would be the wildest idea you could come up with? Now shoot it and see what happens.
Details are powerful and can tell a story. You don’t always need to see someone’s face.
- Watch your background
You background is almost as important as you are in the self portrait. If it doesn’t relate to your story use a shallow depth of field to blur it out or change where you are shooting.
- Have fun
Self portraits are a great learning experience, so get out there and have some fun with it, if you push yourself you’ll learn something new.
So to help you I’ve scoured the net to find you some inspiration to get your creative juices flowing.
The challenge doesn’t start till Monday, but I thought it best you start to think about what you’ll want to do. If you want to get involved join either the Facebook Group or Google+ Community. I look forward to seeing your shots.