April 27, 2012

self-portraits & tips

I've recently had many people email me with question about my self-portraits.  I don't put as many self-portraits on my blog as I do on my Flickr page, but it's something I really enjoy.  Taking photos of myself often gets me out of my comfort zone, and it's also a way to satisfy that "photography need" in me when my siblings aren't willing subjects.
song title:  Feels so Close
At the beginning of the year, I started a 52 project, where I take one self portrait a week.  Many of these photos have concepts behind them, which is why they may seem a little "strange" to some people.  What I love to do with my photography is convey a deeper message than a viewer may first perceive.  Song lyrics, quotes, even a word can be translated through a photo in a unique way, in your own way.
jumping that looks like dancing//even a failed attempt can turn out!
Tip #1:  Use a tripod.  A tripod is one of my essential tools when it comes to taking selfies.  It allows you to achieve the composition and settings you want, instead of dragging your siblings or parents around.  Getting the right shot definitely takes time!  And trust me when I say, you will never get the photograph you want in the first five shots.  That's one reason a tripod is good - it stands still as long as you want it to!
Tip #2: Buy a remote.  I was able to buy a remote from Kiley that I use very often.  Remotes are cheap and easy to learn how to use.  This is the one I have.  There are so many reasons I love my remote.  I don't have to run back and forth from the camera to my pose.  Also, the remote will focus on you, so you know you are usually getting the focus you want.
song title: Is Anybody Out There
Tip #3: Throw away the humble.  I believe that humility is one of the greatest attributes in a person.  However, I think that in the area of self-portraits, there is very little room for it.  It's one thing to constantly take photos of yourself and post them on your blog or put them on Facebook.  But, it's also important that you capture yourself like you capture other clients or family members.  Think of it like this:  If you take photos so that you can remember the good moments and people you love, why should you forget yourself?  It's important to have photos of yourself, too! 
Tip #4: Be creative.  This is basically the simplest tip out there, but it's oh, so true.  Try new poses.  Shoot from different angles.  Play around with lighting and shadows.  If you don't have a tripod, find a chair, table, or box to set your camera on.  Take a concept (i.e. Bible verse, song, definition of your favorite word, poem, quote), think about that concept and what it means to you, and then translate that meaning through a photograph.  Find interesting props - hang them, hold them, throw them...you get the point.  Do something different than the normal arms stretched, camera-holding pose.  You'll love the results!
Last, don't be afraid to look like a total dork!  I try to take my photos away from my siblings, who seem to think that photographing myself reaching for a globe is absolutely hilarious.  You will look funny, I promise.  You will take a lot of photos that you will immediately delete.  Like I said before, self-portraits get you waaay out of you're comfort zone.  But when you get that perfect shot of the scene you had in your head, it feels good!

I'd really love to see some of your self-portraits!  Get out there and practice, edit and upload, blog about it, then come back here and link up!

psst...I got a Formspring.  Ask away!


  1. I love all of these. And everything you said is awesome advice. I really need to get a remote!!
    Selfies are so hard to get right.
    But I think I'm going to do a post of this too.......
    Brace yourself. :)

  2. Thank you SO much for this!

  3. Inspiring, Olivia! I looooove doing self portraits -- they are so challenging and fun to think up! I haven't posted many on my blog either, but this post makes me want to share some too! Great job, and I always love your photos, girl! :)

    ♥ Kailyn

  4. These are all so beautiful Olivia! I love your tips and am definitely going to try to take some more self portraits! :)

  5. Thanks so much Olivia! This answered my question (from a few days ago...) even better than the reply you gave me! :)


    P.S. I get those looks from my siblings too...but your pictures turn out great, and they make you think something, rather than just any old picture. =)

  6. Those are amazing tips, Olivia! I have such a hard time with justifying why I just took 25 photos of myself in a row, but none of my siblings ever want me to take photos of them! haha ;)

    xo. micha

  7. BEAUTIFUL! I love the idea. You're so pretty. <3 :)

  8. love the tips, and your concepts are beautiful. i think it's wonderful that you try to convey something other than just a photograph!
    oh, and by the way, you're stunning. :)

  9. your pictures are lovely. :)
    i definitely struggle with taking self portraits, it's an interesting challenge.
    my siblings also think i'm completely crazy when i go outside and take pictures of myself- but hey! whatever you have to do. ;)

  10. ahhhh! i love that first photo. the world at your fingertips. too awesome. :)

  11. I am definitely guilty of the arms stretched, self portrait. And I have a tri-pod... so I have no excuse! (Other than being afraid to look like a dork. Haha)

  12. I love this! I really need to start using a tri-pod and after I let myself off my spending freeze hopefully I'll be able to buy a remote ;)

  13. These are all so pretty Olivia. And great tips, thanks for sharing:) My favorite is the 5th photograph!

    My mom wants to get a remote for taking selfies. Can't wait for that!

    Kianna Rose

  14. I like the one with the world. But they are all pretty.