Learn Digital Photography – The How and Why of Shooting Self Portraits

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If you are reading this article you are probably a photographer and by default a person who never has their own photo taken. Taking a self-portrait can be considered uncool but necessary. It is very simple to do. Here’s how.

If children are the most photographed group of people then which grouping is the least photographed? Is it grandparents, dads, moms or cousins? No idea? IT IS PHOTOGRAPHERS!

If you’re the photographer of the family, how many photos are there of you in the family album? How many groups are you a part of? None, a few, hardly any? Quite probably hardly any. Growing up in my family there were thousands of photos taken by my Dad. How many photos does he appear in? Not many. Besides the fact that he liked to avoid photos, he was the one always taking them. The same was true for my grandfather, an avid photographer, and now for it’s the same for yours’ truly.

One day when you’ve left this earth, is your family going to be looking through the albums wishing that they had more images of you? You may not like having your photo taken, which is probably why you volunteer to do the shooting.

Do you think it’s fair to those who love you to not to have a record of your life in the family? I’m not getting mushy, here but the reason most people own cameras is not to make money but to document their families and friends. So it’s time you got into the role of the subject and not the shooter. It is a mindset change you’ll need to make. Even if it’s only one on every special occasion. You owe it to them. I am the worst culprit, so I’ve no room to judge. I’ve only ever taken three self portraits. That’s all changed since my three daughters and wife got their own cameras so I guess I am off the hook.

Here’s a bonus exercise. You’re going to have someone take an image of you in your environment. Something that reflects who you are and what you like to do. If photography is your life, then have them take some shots of you with your camera in hand doing what you love. Simple, isn’t it?

Now don’t give them a lesson in photography. Just let them shoot, that is if they know how to hold the camera and press the button.

Wait, there is another part to this task and that is a self-portrait. This can be done in a number of ways.

1. Hold the camera at an arm’s length

Make sure you’re zoomed right out or use a wide angle lens and then shoot yourself. This is so that most of you is in the image if you don’t have long arms. Experiment to see what looks best. If you zoom in too close, it will be just part of you and you’ll probably have a big nose. Some digital compacts have a screen on a hinge that can be reversed so you can see yourself as you take it.

2. Look for reflections

Not just a large mirror on the bathroom wall. Shooting with the camera at arm’s length to keep it out of the photo helps. Look for other reflective surfaces such as sunglasses, shiny cars or windows.

3. Use the self-timer

This gives you the most control over the shot. A tripod is necessary unless you can find a stable surface. A small bean bag will give stability and protect the camera. You’ll probably need to shoot a few test shots.

So if you’re the only photographer in the family, make sure you take a few self portraits and get others to take a shot of you in a group at family occasions. Photography is about creating memories and if you’re not in any photos, you are not part of the memory. You owe it your family. Happy shooting!


write by Tucker

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