Tuesday, June 21, 2011


As part of the Project 52, one of the activities was Self-Portraiture.  I've attempted it twice now and I've learned quite a bit.  Self-Portraiture is much harder than you'd think it would be.  I learned a few things that are applicable to both self-portraits and portraits of other people.

1.  Lighting is key.  This is important for any picture, but after my experience trying to take a picture of myself, I understand even more.
1a.  I've learned my apartment does not have good lighting - especially at night when you have to use the overheads and the flash.
1b.  Overhead lights do nothing to flatter a person in a portrait.  It causes very odd shadows.

2.  You have to figure out your good side.  I always thought this was a figure of speech but, alas, it's true.  You have to be able to understand a person's face to make sure you get them at the right angle.

3.  Backgrounds are important.  In my first series of self-portraits, I just used our wall as the backdrop.  It's a white wall so I thought it would be ok.  Unfortunately, with the lighting, the wall looks gray and gross.  The next time, I used a chair as the background and it turned out better.  You can buy special backgrounds for your studio or use nice fabric.  It's important to look at all your surroundings when out take portraits.

4.  Make-up is important.  No amount of photoshopping will fix an oily face (or maybe it will and I just don't know how to do it).

5.  Be creative.  When you're behind the camera, it's easy to be creative because it's not you in the picture.  You're not putting yourself out there.  With self-portraiture, it's much more personal.  You want to make sure you look good (especially if you'll be sharing on your blog) but sometimes that impedes you from experimenting.  I didn't experiment as much as I could have.  Maybe one day I'll talk HA into taking me out of the apartment so I can experiment in some fun locations.

I've include below a few of the pictures I took.  I'm not happy with any of them but I've learned alot from them that I can hopefully carry forward into some other shots that I might do.

No Make-up, bad background - not good

After some post-processing.  I look like I've been fake baking.

This one is for Mom so she can see I do this even when I'm by myself.

Lesson learned - do NOT lean back.  Chin always up - I'm not 18 anymore.

Looking up and into the camera is always universally flattering.  However, the overhead lights creating shadows under the eyes is not.

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