04 Feb How to Take Self-Portraits
Notice I didn’t title this post “How to Take a Selfie” because I’m generally not a fan of the selfie. But, I want my children to have a few photos with me and that’s almost impossible since I’m always behind the camera taking pictures of them. I was going to hire a photographer, but I still haven’t found the right person and having a “now or never” personality, I figured I might as well take a few of my own.
Self-portraits are not that difficult, but are certainly made easier with a few tools and tips:
1. Use a Tripod and Self-Timer or Remote
Using a tripod is easiest, but in a pinch, you can steady your camera on a surface like a table or bookshelf.
Using the self-timer function on the camera works well, but only yields one shot and that can be frustrating to go back to the camera to set it again for each shot. My preferred way is to use a Timer Remote Control. I have this awesome piece of equipment for time lapse, stop motion and long exposures. I can set it to have the camera take pictures every second, two seconds, or whatever I prefer. That way, I can spend some time playing with my kids while it just fires away. Like a photo booth! (I’ve used this to “take” our family pictures each year for the last 4 years.) There are less expensive versions on the market, too!
Using a Wireless Remote is another option. This allows you to trigger the camera when you press its button. While I like the control of firing off the shutter, I don’t like finding ways to hide my hand or retouching it out later.
2. Set Your Focus Point
After you frame your composition in camera, use an object where you will be positioned for the picture to set your focus. I like keeping the camera focus on auto, and I choose a focus point that will likely cover the area needing to be in focus. Once I start my Timer Remote Control, I replace the object with myself and try not to act awkward about being photographed by a machine.
In school we were taught to focus on the object, then tie a string to the tripod and cut it when it reaches the object. That way, when you come back to that position after leaving it, you can just pull the string to see exactly where you need to reposition.
3. Crop Later
To give yourself the best possible outcome, try to allow for more room in the composition so you can crop later. This way, you are more likely to get all your limbs in the composition, especially when moving around. The exception is if you start to see distortion.
And that’s it! If you are uncomfortable in front of the camera/photographer or aren’t able to hire a professional, you should definitely try this. It might be slow-going at first, but you’ll be sure to capture a few treasured moments!
All photos © 2014 Nicole Hill Gerulat