Have you ever tried taking a mirror selfie and wondered why it doesn't look quite as fabulous and aspirational as you'd hoped for?
I think by now everyone has taken a selfie in some form, and the whole concept of self portrait photography has become very advanced with people capturing moments from their lives in all sorts of creative and fun ways.
That blurry elevator mirror selfie just isn't going to be enough anymore if you want to engage people and be up there in the league with high quality content creators. This doesn't mean you need to buy lots of fancy equipment, instead you need to learn how to see the visual potential in the surroundings around you and how you can create interesting compositions with what you've got.
I'm not the most photogenic person (far from it actually, you can read some tips on that here) but I've developed strategies and concepts that still allow me to take photos that engage people and that I feel both proud and happy making.
Ok, but without further chit chat, let's get to it and talk about some ideas you can use to inject more creativity and fun into your self portrait photography.
1. The mirror selfie
One of the oldest tricks in the selfie-book but still a valid option. Instead of the random elevator selfie choose your surroundings carefully and look for things you can include in the photo to give it more color and details.
Take the photo in good light (I prefer natural light), put on a pretty outfit, look for textures you can add to the frame and how you compose the elements to convey an atmosphere and feeling.
2. Forced perspective
This is a trend that has really grown on Instagram lately with more and more clever uses of the concept of forced perspective. The idea is to create an optical illusions by making an object appear larger, smaller, farther away or closer than it really is.
The creative possibilities are endless and it's a really fun way to create a self portrait with some humour and cleverness. The weirder the combinations and ideas, the better! :)
I often use Photoshop to edit these type of photos, that way I get both the foreground and the background sharp by taking a photo of the two things separetely and then putting them together afterwards.
3. The use of fun props
One of the biggest challenges with self portraits is finding a pose that doesn't feel super awkward and silly. Solution: using a prop.
It distracts you from worrying about how you look and instead focused on an action or concrete physical thing outside of you.
Show the things you enjoy about Summer by taking a photo of you eating a popsicle, a piece of watermelon or how your inflatable swan decided to fly away ;)
Observe what normal day-to-day things you do that could make an interesting prop for a photo that can tell a story that goes beyond the stiff photo posing.
4. Location location location
One way to make a self portrait really stand out is by choosing a location that is interesting and gives your photo context.
Look for locations with vibrant colors, interesting patterns, open spaces or other details and things that inspire you.
It's a great opportunity to tell a story through the history and mood of a place, and to put yourself in relation to something bigger than just human scale.
5. Try shooting from above
Another Instagram trend is the #scenefromtheceiling photos where the angle is shot from above. This is a great way to create imaginative and fun compositions on a flat surface that you can be in yourself.
The biggest challenge with this type of photos is finding a spot with good light, if you're inside try to be as close to a window as you can and think about creating contrasts when s´choosing colors and materials.
You can build a little box for your phone or camera and attach it to the ceiling with tape and shoot with the self timer. Or, do like me and make your boyfriend climb up on the ladder and balance up high trying to get the shot from exactly straight above ;)
Hopefully these tips gave you some ideas to use in your own self portraits.
Like with anything the most effective way to learn is to go out there and just try out your ideas and embrace the process, whatever it may lead to :)
Do you usually appear in your own photos or do you prefer to be on the other side of the lens?
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