Self-portraiture is a genre that’s existed for hundreds of years (in painting, graphics, photography etc.). It’s only natural to have the urge to photograph yourself and many photographers have started their careers this way.
But how do you get started?
This might seem like the obvious thing to do, but you really need to create a lot of shoots to see what works best for you. How does your chin look if you turn your head on the left? Now how about if you turn it on the right, or look at the sky? It’s important to be conscious of your movements and that just needs a lot of practice. We all have faces and bodies of a different shape and finding out what accentuates the best of us requires some time.
LOOK YOURSELF IN THE MIRROR
Learn from Narcissus! Observe how your facial expressions change in the mirror, grimace, pout your lips, act mean, fierce, sweet. Get in front of a whole-body mirror and watch closely the space your create between your arms and your upper body if you place them on your hips. How does that look? What if you put emphasis on one shoulder? We all have angles and poses that don’t really suit us, but you need to be aware of them as much as you need to be aware of the ones that do suit you.
Self-portraiture can be a lot of fun! First of all, you’re photographing yourself, so you can feel completely relaxed. Second, you can shoot whenever! It only depends on your preferences and how much free time you’ve got. Make use of accessories and makeup, transform yourself into different characters or try to extract a range of emotions. Lighting plays a huge role in photography, so shooting in the golden hour won’t have the same effect as shooting during a cloudy day; it’s all part of the fun. If you don’t like a photo – delete it. Try again. And again. And again.
TRIAL AND ERROR
Your first try could turn out amazing. Or not. Trial and error is an integral part of learning, and the only way to truly master something is to keep doing it. Many photographers have started 365 projects because it pushes them to create. I personally have good days and bad days, inspirational ones and totally dull ones, so I stick to my feelings and intuition. Whatever suits your needs, as long as you do it!
REVIEW YOUR WORK
After the shoot, let your photos rest for a few days. Store them in a folder and don’t look at them. Then come back and try to really think about what you like and don’t like about them. Be critical, but don’t underestimate yourself. How’s the light? What about the pose? Clothing? Figuring out what you (dis)like about the photos will help you a lot next time you go shooting.
And most importantly – have fun!
Do you shoot any self-portraits? Or would you like to start?
About the author
Hi! I’m Isabella and I’m a photographer, blogger and applied arts graduate. I love spending my time creatively, or watching movies, drinking tea, playing with my cats and hanging out with friends.
Find me here isabellabubola.com or on Facebook and say hello!