So many family photographers, of every skill level, are hesitant about taking their own self portraits, because they feel awkward or unsure of just how to get a shot done right. Self portraits require us to study ourselves in much the same way we study the living and nonliving subjects we photograph on a daily basis, and its this self examination that can lead to hesitation. The great thing about good self portraiture, is that it can either expose a side of us to others that they might not already know, or reveal the favorite features that you are already aware of in the best light.
Use these tips to get comfortable with self portraits, help you take better self portraits, and then get you started taking portraits that are more and more creative.
Tell Your Present Story
We always want to look forward and back, but portraiture is all about telling the story of our lives that is happening now. Look at your present story and think about what people see of you now, what you are interested in and doing now, and what you want everyone to remember about you in this moment. Use these ideas to set up your setting for a photo that expresses and narrates your present story.
Think About Composition
Just like you would set up any other shot, it is important that you consider composition with a self portrait. Maybe you don’t want a portrait of your face, but just some of yourself included. This is perfectly acceptable and gives the viewer another way to look at you, your life and your work. Consider the location of the photo, the lighting and then position yourself alone or with props that tell the story about yourself that you are trying to convey.
Plan Out the Shot and Come Equipped
Not every self portrait is going to be spontaneous, and if you look at some of the most famous ones, they were all planned out well ahead of time and the photographers were equipped and ready for them. Prepare to snap the perfect shot in much the same way you would any other. Observe locations, watch the light and ensure that you have all the equipment necessary to take the best shot you can. Think of things like remote triggers, timers and additional lights when necessary. Even having someone there to help you get in the best position or manage other equipment is totally acceptable.
Edit and Enhance
Finally, edit and enhance your portrait with photography editing tools to get your shot just the way you want it. This is your photo and an example of your work, so feel free to use the tools you normally use to set yourself up in the best way possible. Just be sure to keep the photo as true to its subject as possible, but changing to black and white, adding contrast or cropping photographs will help you create the story you are trying to tell without compromising anything.