Kelly J Photography – Reportage Somerset Wedding and Portrait Photographer » Somerset Documentary style wedding photography and natural outdoor portrait shoots

6 Tips For Taking Great Self Portraits

Tips for taking great self portraits

Forget about “selfies” for a minute (the amazing Jen Brook has a fab article about selfies here), let’s talk about the Self Portrait.

As a photographer who shoots people on a regular basis, both as a paid professional and as a hobbyist creating images from my own ideas; Taking self portraits has been an invaluable tool for me along the way. There are a few reasons why self portraits can help you further your photography, such as:

  • Giving you complete control over your image
  • Practicing a new technique on yourself before you use it on another subject
  • Conveying a message in your image that is personal to you
  • Helping your audience connect with you on a different level
  • Showing prospective clients who you are in a bio or on social media
  • Having an idea for a great shot and knowing you always have a model at hand.

Here are a few tips to get you started with your self portraits..

1. Use a tripod and a remote shutter release

This is a rather obvious step, but you will need something to prop up your camera if you’re taking pictures of yourself. I once had to use a chair and two cardboard boxes stacked on top of each other to prop up my camera, because I’d left my tripod in the boot of someones car! While it did work, it still really limited me, so I’d definitely suggest using a tripod, it will make your life much easier.

Another great tool to have is a remote shutter release. It’s really annoying jogging back and forth between every picture to press the shutter and set the self timer, screw that.

A remote shutter release will allow you to press the shutter from where you’re positioned, meaning you can take several shots without having to stop the creativity process every 500th of a second.

I currently use the Canon Remote Control RC-06with my my Canon 5d mkII. It’s a wireless transmitter that works in conjunction with the infrared receiver built into my camera. It’s a nifty little tool that doesn’t cost much. The only trouble you will have with this remote is that it needs to be facing the receiver to work (front of the camera) so to get around that I usually set my self timer to a 2 second delay, press the remote, then quickly hide it if it’s in view.

Alternatively you can try a two stage release which gives you a bit more freedom, I like the Hama Remote Control Release Ca-1.

Self portrait tips

 

2 – Nail the focus

If you don’t want to rely on your remote shutter getting the auto-focus right, or you’re doing a composite and need the focus to be spot on, you will need to manually focus your camera. To get the focus correct, simply place an object where you’re going to be in the frame and focus on it.

You don’t want to focus on the chair you will be sitting on or the wall for example if you are going to be using a shallow depth of field.

 

3 – Get out of your comfort zone

The best thing about taking self portraits is being able to shoot something different. When you’re with clients or models you can sometimes get stuck in the routine of directing the same poses, or using the same lighting because it’s safe. Your self portrait session is a time to experiment and push the envelope a little, so you can take those new ideas and techniques to your other photoshoots.

How to take a great self portrait

4 – Don’t be afraid to be yourself

It’s good to express your personality through your images. Your heartbreak, you happiness, anger, vulnerability.. it makes your images human. If your photography contains emotion, your audience are going to connect with it on a much deeper level.

It’s a self portrait. It should reflect who you are.

How to take a great self portrait How to take a great self portrait

5 – Start a personal project

Having yourself as the model makes starting a project soo much easier. You can capture your ideas as soon as they creep in to your head and it gives you the chance to do a photography project that means a lot to you. Pick a topic or an idea that you have some connection with and your golden. I use a little notebook to write down all of my image ideas, and on my days off I will generally shoot through a few of them. My latest self portrait project is based on Social Anxiety.

Better Self portraits Better Self portraits Better Self portraits

6 – Use a field monitor

Being in front of the camera means you can’t really see what’s going on, so you can either shoot a bunch of frames to make sure you get at least a few good shots or you can take more control over your composition using a field monitor. If you have a tablet or a decently sized compatible phone, give the DSLR Controller App a go. It will turn your tablet or phone into a field monitor, meaning you can control your camera from your tablet. (Thanks to my lovely boyfriend for finding this gem for me!)

Or, if you’re really high tech like me, you can use a big full sized mirror behind your camera to see what you’re doing.

Creative Self Portraits Creative Self Portraits Creative Self Portraits Creative Self Portraits

Some other things to consider:

  • If you’re shooting a self portrait for your bio or business social media pages make sure it represents your business as well as your own personality. I stick to natural light and soft focus when it comes to my marketing self portraits, because it’s part of my brand.
  • If you’re anxious photographing yourself in front of passers by, but want to use a public location, consider getting a friend to help you take the pictures.
  • Use self portraits to document change or milestones. It’s nice for me to look back and see how much I have changed over the years (including all my different hairstyles) as well as seeing my photography style progress through my images.
  • Take pictures of you with your loved ones. Often as photographers we are always behind the camera and we’re never IN any of the family pictures. Get your family together, along with your tripod and remote shutter and take some nice family photographs that include you!
  • This is the best time to try out a new photoshop tutorial that you can’t try with your usual business photography. Perfect excuse to brush up on some new editing skills. I recommend Phlearn.com for some great editing tutorials.

Have a fab self portrait you want to show off? Link to it in the comments below :)

Black and white self portrait

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Fine Art Wedding Album.

I thought it was about time I invested in some new sample materials before booking season, and a new fine art wedding album was high on my list. Sourced from the wonderful Folio Albums in square format with beautifully rich colours and a design that lets you open your album out completely flat, you can understand why I was waiting at my door for the delivery like a dog waiting for it’s walkies!

I chose a 10″ x 10″ album (which is the wedding album included in my top package) with a contemporary leather cover in jade. It fits perfectly in my branded tote bag too!

Isn’t it gorgeous? If you would like my price list for your own wedding album, please get in touch. You can also arrange to view my samples in person if you would like to get up close and personal.

Fine art wedding album - Somerset Wedding Photographer
Fine art wedding album - Somerset wedding photographer
Wedding photography tote bag
Wedding Album - Somerset wedding photographer
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09/03/2014 - 16:43

Fotogrupa - You inspired me to make some changes in my albums offer. Nice work :)

Mid Somerset Show 2014 in Pictures – Shepton Mallet

Yesterday was the Mid Somerset Show 2014 in Shepton Mallet. I’d been to one of these shows before but this was the first one I’d been to since living down here in Somerset. There was so much going on and I didn’t quite get to see everything, but admittedly I did spend a bit too much time hovering around the classic cars and typically I am always impressed by a big room full of cheese!!!

After the show we went for a little stroll around Collett Park, which would be stunning for an engagement shoot or a family session *hint hint*
Mid Somerset Show 2014
Classic Cars in Shepton Mallet
Classic cars Somerset
Classic car show in Shepton Mallet
Classic Car detail
Classic Car Triumph Detail
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North Wales Commercial Photography – Country Guest House

I’m really starting to love commercial photography. As much as I adore taking pictures of people, it’s very nice to have a change and do something different once in a while, and what’s not to love when you get the chance to photograph chickens while you’re at it?

Earlier this week I returned to Broncoed Uchaf Guest House to photograph the exteriors and grounds, as well as all the pretty flowers. This guest house is rustic paradise, a place you are instantly made to feel at home. The views are stunning and just look at how lovely it is inside.

Okay, enough gushing over how amazing it is… see for yourself ;)

North Wales Commercial Photography
North Wales Commercial Venue Photography
North Wales Commercial Property Photography
North Wales Commercial Photography
North Wales Rustic Venue Photography

Guest house photography
North Wales Nercwys Photographer
Commercial Florist Photography
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If you run a small business and would like to receive a quote about my commercial photography rates, please contact me at keljdavies@gmail.com and I will send you some more information.

 

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07/07/2014 - 09:32

Rhian - Gorgeous Kelly, you’ve captured it so well xx

07/07/2014 - 14:31

Kelly J - Aww thanks Rhian, hard not to take great pictures as it’s such a stunning place :) xxx

07/07/2014 - 16:39

Donna Beck - Very cool, love your perspective

07/07/2014 - 17:48

Larianne - Beautiful photos of a gorgeous site! I love commercial photography :)

07/07/2014 - 17:49

Arica - What a unique, quaint, and adorable place! I love the shot of the camera staring right in your lens, lol!

07/07/2014 - 18:01

Claudia - You did a fantastic job capturing this gorgeous location. Well done!

07/07/2014 - 20:22

Natalia Walth - Beautiful post processing! Gorgeous location, dreaming of a session here ;-)

07/08/2014 - 01:09

Vaughn Barry - Crazy-cool place, love all the textures!

07/09/2014 - 17:34

Hendrick Moy - looks like a quaint little place! your images really showcase it well =)

Hendrick Moy Photography

07/09/2014 - 20:22

Alexander Mo - Great work! Love the composition and color! Feels like I’m there!!

07/12/2014 - 17:52

Stephanie Necessary - What a fabulous place! I really want to visit!!

07/13/2014 - 18:25

Victoria Johansson Egneby - Beautiful location (would love to shoot a wedding there), and great job show casing the venue =)

07/13/2014 - 19:13

Melissa Hopkins - What a beautiful location! You captured it well!