Self Portraits

Self portraits (pictures you take of yourself) are an interesting though very challenging way to take a picture. You can get your model to take greater risks and do goofier things than normal because you are your own model.

The purpose of the portrait is to make the subject (you) look good or to reveal something about their personality.

Taking the picture

  1. You need a steady spot to rest your camera. It should be safe, and secure. A book shelf, chair, book, locker shelf or table all might work for this.
  2. You need to know how to run the self timer on your camera. On most cameras it runs for about 10 seconds to let you get back into your own picture.
  3. You should probably use a small aperture to give maximum depth of field. It's hard to precisely focus a self portrait so you want as much of your picture as possible to be in focus. If you can't adjust your aperture, set your ISO to a high value.

Ideas for the picture

  1. Angles
    • Take the shot looking straight at the camera.
    • Take the picture where you appear to be looking at something outside the frame of the shot.
    • Take a shot where you are looking at something in the picture, possibly something in your hand.
  2. Emotions
    • With each angle or pose you try, shoot a number of pictures each showing a different emotion such as joy, surprise, anger, embarrassment, etc.
  3. What part of you to shoot
    • You don't need to shoot all of you in a self portrait. Leaving part out can add mystery and intrigue.
      • Shoot with part of your face concealed by a scarf, book, wall, hand or other object.
      • Shoot with the camera on the ground so your face is obscured.
      • Shoot from the side so you only see part of your face.
      • Shoot a picture of you from the back, possibly at a table looking studious.
      • The top of your head may be interesting if you have a lot of hair or if you have very little hair.
      • Cover your eyes with a hat to make yourself mysterious or maybe frightening.
  4. Locations
    • Library: Through a book shelf, beside a book shelf, peering over a bookshelf, sitting at a table or computer looking studious.
    • By a window. This gives you opportunities to play with the light such as over exposing or creating silhouettes.
    • Against a plain backdrop. This gives a stereotypical portrait studio feel to the picture.
    • In a stairwell shooting up or down.
    • In a corner or other area that naturally frames you. A corner could be walls coming together but it could also be bookcases or something else that creates a nook.
  5. Mirrors
    • These sound obvious, but try to use mirrors or other reflective surfaces such as pots and pans, windows, or even polished floor tiles.
  6. Props
    • Use items that say "me" to the world They should explain who you are in some way.
      • Hats
      • Scarves
      • Toys
      • Books
      • Glasses