What advice would I give to those starting self portrait photography?
What would I do different if I was starting over today?
Advice for New Photographers
You don’t need the newest DSLR. In fact, the best camera to start with is a camera phone. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on a DSLR and different portrait lenses to get great portraits. Most of my self portraits these days are taken on my smartphone.
If you want to experiment with different lenses, you can buy inexpensive clip-on lenses for your smartphone camera.
You don’t need fancy lights or flashguns either. Cheap room lights work well, as well as inexpensive ring lights. Experiment with different angles and distance in relation to you.
You don’t need a backdrop rig with expensive backdrops. Easy backdrops can be made by lying on a blanket on the floor of tacking a blanket/curtain to your studio wall.
Invest in a selfie stick, tripod, and Bluetooth camera release remote. These tools will get you far.
Focus on building your skills, not spending money on equipment. There’s no shortcut to great portraits.
Get comfortable in front of the camera by practicing a LOT. Get comfortable doing your own hair, makeup, and wardrobe styling by practicing a LOT.
Source backdrops (blankets/curtains), wardrobe and props from thrift shops. You’ll find something unique and save money.
Find a solid group of apps to use. My most essential apps for editing self portraits are Lightroom and Facetune with occasional use of Mextures and Procreate Pocket.
Get your own website to share your art. If you do more risqué portraits, upload teasers on Facebook and IG so you don’t get reported. You want a portfolio where people can find your work where YOU are in control.
Back up your portraits. Get yourself a thumb drive that attaches to your phone. Then backup your photography work both on a computer and a hard drive.
If I Was Starting my Photography Career Over
Honestly, if I was starting over I would do it more from a financial perspective.
I spent so much money on DSLR bodies, different lenses, backdrops, umbrellas, lighting and more to try and be more professional, but all this equipment ran up my credit card bill and slowed down my creation process.
And when it’s harder to create, the less we create.
The more time it takes to create, the less we can create.
I would keep down to the basics:
Camera phone will cheap plan
Clip on portrait lens
Thrifted wardrobe and blankets for backdrops
We truly don’t need to spend so much money to look professional.
We need to spend our time creating, practicing, and upgrading our equipment when necessary instead of when we think we can get a shortcut.
I hope this helps!
Self portrait photography is one of my greatest passions in life!
Would You Love to Take Better Selfies and Self-Portraits?
You’re in the right studio!
I’m Ophelia, and I’ve been specializing in self portrait photography for the last five years!
The following tips contain an affiliate link for a studio staple.
Take Better Self-Portraits and Selfies
Remember that we don’t need the most expensive or the newest equipment! I’ve done photoshoots with DSLRs and extra lenses, as well as with an iPod and and iPhone. We can get great results with a variety of tools, so let’s start with what we already have, if able.
Play with Available Lighting.
Natural light is often regarded as the most beautiful to work with, and it’s free! Shoot near a window or in the shade for beautiful, softened light.
If shooting in darker interiors, great results can also be achieved with standard floor lamps. If the lamplight is too harsh, try using an umbrella or thin cloth to diffuse the light. (Be safe whenever covering bulbs, even for a short period of time. Never leave unattended or allow anything to touch the lightbulb).
Add Fill Light
Adding fill light is a great way to take better control of your lighting, and keep shadows from getting too harsh or dark.
Use a white foam-core board or reflector to bounce light back onto yourself. Try switching between white, silver (aluminum foil is helpful in a pinch), and gold to see what looks best and complements the color scheme you’re using the most.
Experimenting is the key to success. Try different poses and shapes with your figure, play with angles, move your studio lights to different sides and heights, etc.
Keep your hands busy. Give yourself a prop to interact with, play with your hair, etc., to give more life to photos and create a feeling of movement.
Create an S shape. Shift your stance and poses to create beautiful S-curves. Be over-dramatic with poses and experiment with creating different shapes.
Keep Snapping Photos
Practice, practice, practice! Staying consistent and shooting self-portraits on a regular basis will help you develop your skill and give you more opportunities to experiment.
Shoot a variety of shots during each photoshoot. Try photographing close-ups, silhouettes, moody, bright, emotive, black and white shots, etc. You never know what new angle or technique you’ll fall in love with.
Use a Timer
Use the automatic timer on your phone or camera, or get a wireless shutter remote.
Use burst mode along with your timer (so the camera takes multiple photos) and change position as the shutter releases. You’ll get a variety of pictures with a flow to them.
Know what You Love About Self-Portraits
What’s your favorite part about modeling for your own photoshoots? This can help you determine what to focus on the most.
Are you passionate about makeup? Close-up, detailed, and colorful portraits may be your go-to.
Do you love sharing your fashion style? Try shooting editorial shots inspired by your favorite fashion magazines.
Review Your Photoshoot Results
What worked with the photoshoot?
What do you want to try or do better next time?
What are Your Tips for Improving Your Photography?
Share your best advice in the comments!
Don’t forget to share this with fellow creatives, models and photographers~!
This closet-cosplay test of Geralt from The Witcher is still one of my favorite photoshoots!
This self-portrait is the first use of this Silicone Chest Suit that you can find through this affiliate link!
The link to this Silicone Chest Suit will give Yours Truly a small commission on applicable purchases!
Silicone Muscular Suit
This product has been one of my favorite purchases, despite not using it too terribly often!
Review so Far:
A bit warm to wear. Silicone definitely doesn’t breathe, so this item may be best suited for colder months or a temp-controlled studio
Hard to get in and out of. Wearing a lightweight undershirt goes a long way to make this easier (as well as a beanie to protect your hair). It takes a little practice, and you may feel like Ace Ventura in that scene with the rhino…
Beautiful matte skin. I was worried about the silicone being shiny, but it photographs beautifully!
Looks natural and realistic enough
Beware of seams and wrinkles. Seams can easily be covered by parts of the costume or edited out. Depending on the pose, double-check places like the shoulders and neck for odd foods/wrinkles.
All in all, I’m very glad I added this cosplay item to my studio wardrobe, and I look forward to putting it to good use during the cooler months!