Self Portraits with a DSLR: Easy 4 Step Guide
Photography is my art and my passion! Since starting in 2015 I have been going non stop in soaking up and learning everything I can about this wonderful art. It's been such a rewarding and fulfilling creative outlet for me. One of the best things about it is the fact that I get to create my own, " time capsule of reality," if you will. I get to freeze my everyday moments with my family so that when I am old and grey I will have beautiful memories to look back on.
The more I got into photography though, I started to notice a little problem .... I realized I was not in the frame for any of my images and I knew I had to change this. When I am looking back on these memories one day, it will be important to see that I was there too. I know my children would be so sad if there were never any images where their mother was included so I set out to change this and quickly got hooked on Self- Portraiture. One thing that I love about Self-Portraiture is it affords quiet time to my self, to sit and think and be creative. It does feel silly at first and I think that is why so many moms don't get in the frame, but I promise it really is so much fun, do not be intimidated by it!
I have made it easy to focus on being creative and not worrying about the how to's of getting started, by creating these 4 simple steps for taking self portraits with a dslr. No more hiding behind the camera, let's get you in the frame mamma!
STEP 1. THE GEAR
I am going to start by letting you know the gear that I use, but please do not feel like you HAVE to have a fancy DSLR. I shoot with my Canon 6 D and my go to lenses are my 35 mm Sigma Art, my 135mm canon and my 50 mm canon lens, all Prime Lenses for that sharper focus. What you do have to have is a tripod and/or a remote. But, if you really want to start now and do not have a tripod you can actually use anything from a desk, to a chair, to books to boxes...anything to prop your camera up on. As far as the remote goes... there are apps in the app store for your smart phones that act as remotes. I use the Canon EOS remote app.... Pretty nifty right? These only work though if your camera has wifi capabilities.
STEP 2. SET UP YOUR CAMERA
Whether you want to set up a tripod or place your dslr on one of the surfaces I mentioned above, get your camera into a position that will capture the self portrait image you desire. Hint * Pinterest is a very good place to look for ideas to inspire your poses*. for the self portrait above, I set up my camera on my buffet table in my dining room and went into my living room with my iphone app and hid the fact that I was using this app by facing towards the window.
STEP 3. ADJUST SETTINGS
Next move on to the exposure triangle. Adjust your shutter speed, ISO, and aperture. For self portraits, your aperture is extremely important. I personally love to shoot wide open ( at my apertures smallest setting) but if you are looking for sharper images, shooting at f/3.0 or higher will create a more focused self portrait.
STEP 4. TEST A SHOT
Test out your aperture choice by setting your self timer or jumping into the frame and using your phones app for a test shot, then review your photo. How does it look? If you are not happy, adjust settings from there. I personally use my app on my phone for self portraits and I can see right in my phone how the images are turning out and I adjust from there. If you are using a remote though, go ahead and set your interval timer so that your camera takes a series of photos, with small breaks in between. You will probably need to pull out your camera manual to learn more about setting your camera's interval timer.
* A tip for focusing* place your focal point in the area where you will be inside of the frame. if you aren’t sure where to place your focal point, you can always put an object such as a stuffed animal where you intend to sit, place the focal point on the object, and then replace it with yourself! Don't give up, I take many, many shots before I get something that I am happy with. Be sure you make small adjustments between shots to experiment with angles that are the most flattering, I like to adjust my shoulders, rotate my waist and look in a variety of directions, dance, make weird faces, get in strange positions even, get creative!
Remember that it is very important that you do not give up. It's definitely a challenge, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. As I said above, I take many, many shots before I end up with a self portrait that I like. It's such a learning opportunity every time. If you get nothing from a session, just take it as a learning experience of what poses don't work. And ladies, let's go easy on ourselves with our looks and body shapes, as none of us are perfect! It's so important to get in the frame and when your family is looking back they will not care about your perceived flaws.
Also remember to HAVE FUN!! Experiment with intentionally being out of focus, creative crops, and compositions. These are actually my favorite types of images! Now get to it and then comment below with how it worked!
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