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Using self portraits to learn

You really dislike having your photo taken, don’t you? Most of us prefer to be on the other side of the camera taking the images. There is something to be said though for using ourselves as models and test subjects in learning how to shoot portraits and also learning general photography.

Would you do that yourself?

Think about images you see of models. Sometimes they are in precarious positions, scary locations or uncomfortable environments. By trying some of these things yourself you can better empathize with your subjects and help them to feel more comfortable.

Using tools

Learn to use Tether Tools: Tethering your camera to your computer can make this process a whole lot easier as you can see what your shooting as you shoot it instead of running back and forth to your camera.

Remote:  Another tool to save you from setting the self-timer and running to the spot to pose.

Flash: Learning flash can be fun when you are your own subject matter. Ask yourself when you are setting up, what happens if I do this or this? Take the shots, see where the light is, figure out what the best settings are, rear curtain sync, etc. Change the settings and take the shot again. By doing this as you shoot and seeing the results it’s much easier to make tweaks to your settings and is a great way to learn how to use it, what each setting does and how to create the light you want.

Lighting Systems:  When you get your first lighting system, be it constant or strobes you’ll want to make sure you know how to use it before you take it all out on your first job with you.

Experimenting

Here are a few ideas to try out. Playing with long exposures and creating motion is a fun one to experiment with. Another fun thing to do is to take multiple shots of yourself and learn how to composite yourself into one shot. Learn how to shoot double exposures in camera. Want to experiment with props? Grab a mirror or two and play with reflections. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination.

Use what you have

Don’t feel like you have to have the latest and greatest equipment to make amazing self-portraits. The images in this post were shot using natural light, desk lamps and floor lamps. I used my $20 Canon Wireless Remote and whatever I could find available to use as props where there are props. Get creative. Be like McGyver. You’ll not only get the shot but you’ll also stretch your mind and creativity by trying to figure out what can and will work.

These are just a few of the things you can learn by doing self-portraits. How comfortable are you in front of the camera?

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