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Learn How to Take Great Self Portraits with These Photography Tips

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

With a Little Work, You Can Take Amazing Self Portraits

Most photographers will experience some difficulty with a certain type of photography in their lives. They may face many challenges when approaching this type of photography. I am of course speaking of self portrait photography. The most rewarding part about self portrait photography is that the photographer can get the desired image they want since they are in control of the camera. Taking a picture of yourself might be daunting, but with the right expertise on equipment and camera settings, you can be a master of expression in little to no time at all.  

Canon Rebel Ts1

Getting Into The Picture

The first major hurdle in self portrait photography is getting around the fact that you yourself cannot see the photo viewer when you go in front of the camera. The easy fix is to buy a separate LCD display but these can run for hundreds of dollars. Instead, you can just adjust the camera to be in the right frame before you step into frame.

The Right Shutter Speed

Another difficult task can be getting the shutter to go off at the right time. You can't always hold the camera and press the shutter manually so that is when the timer feature on the camera is useful. Most DSLR cameras will have this feature with options of a two second delay, a ten second delay, or a user set delay time. But say you want a self-portrait of you jumping, the self-timer just won't be accurate enough, that is when you should consider buying a remote shutter for your camera. Remote shutter controllers are some of the cheapest equipment you can buy for a camera at about twenty five dollars and they can prove to be extremely useful. They allow you to manually click the shutter from up to 25 feet away.

A Sturdy Tripod

Another piece of equipment you may need is a tripod. The tripod basically allows the user to screw the camera onto a three legged device that will hold the camera upright and still so the photographer won't need to hold it up in their hands. It can allow for photos with a slow shutter speed without camera shake as well as being adjustably to many positions. Having just one of these devices can make for easier, better and faster self-portraits and make less challenging. 


Other Settings

Another difficult part of self portrait photography is getting the right camera settings before you take the photo. Having a proper knowledge of shutter speed, aperture and lighting can make setting up a scene stress free. Shutter speed can be varied with slow shutters creating a blurry or ghost like affect while compensating for a dark background or small aperture while having a fast shutter speed creates sharp images while compensating for a big aperture and bright background. Setting the aperture to the right setting can often be intimidating.

There are three general options when it comes down to aperture or F stop in camera language. Aperture range is generally from 3 to 32. With a small aperture, one can create a photo with the main subject in focus with a blurry background drawing more attention to the main image. Having a small aperture of around 22-32 will make the whole image crisp and in focus making the photograph interesting and unique. Any number in between will create a range of blurred to clear backgrounds.

Proper Lighting

With lighting, one can set up lamps, overhead lights or even studio lights to create desired shadows to really capture viewer attention and change the mood of the photo drastically. Correct shadows can call for a demanding final image. Some methods to set up lights are to place lights on the side. This setting will create shadows on one side of the face while making the unlit side dark. This can be very dramatic. Another setting is to have to light directly behind the subject. This method will create a silhouette. A silhouette is a photo where the light behind the subject overpowers the image and creates a dark shape of whatever is in front of the camera. In order to get a well lit image with light all hitting all parts of a subject, one should position lights in front and on the side of the subject. Photographers can experiment with these settings to make numerous effects that will never make a dull image!

Express Yourself

The major part about self portrait photography is expression. To get the expression right, one can brainstorm before hand writing down a list of ideas on the location, desired effect, and type of image they want. Having a set plan before taking a self portrait photo can help the photographer to be more organized and make taking the photo easier. Getting the right picture and expressing yourself can make a photo very interesting and unique. Done the right way, a self portrait photograph can be an incredible form of artwork and draw the attention of many. 


And finally the most difficult part of self photography for beginners is getting the camera in focus. Most cameras won't focus after using the times shutter feature so if you stand far away from the camera, it will be difficult getting the focus right. One loophole around this is to put an object in the place you will be standing so that you can set the lens to focus on the object then remove it and use the timed shutter option. 

In conclusion, one should not shy away from self portrait photography just because of the degree of difficulty involved. In the long run, it can prove to be one of the most rewarding types of photography that one can do. Setting the camera to the right setting will create a very well rounded image and having the correct equipment will make taking the photo easier as well as giving the photography room to go off on creative tangents and having the lighting correct will make many moods suiting the type of photo desired. Mastering focus might be the most difficult step but is the most important, however, in the long run, well worth it. Through practice and learning anyone can become an exceptional self portrait photographer!



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