There’s no art to it.
It’s gonna be awkward.
It’s not going to feel natural.
However, if you have the time, taking multiple shots will eventually see you finding your rhythm and forgetting your nerves.
Every one of my self-portraiture shots published is picked from a folder full of more than 200 other tries. You are your own worst critic so it will take time to find the photo that fits closer to what you’d imagined.
Time – that’s the key!
TIP #1 – Know what to do with your hands
One word: Props
Jewellery to play with, a shopping bag, or a teacup to hold – grab something and, make the shot look like a candid while you were using them or putting them on.
TIP #2 – You don’t always have to eye the camera
I have this insecurity that my eyes don’t look right in photos, but I also don’t want shots where I am always looking away. So, I alternate with looking at the lens and glancing just off to the side of it too.
PRO TIP: Giving too much side-eye can result in a photo where your eyeball is very prominent.
To look to the side: don’t turn your eyes so much that you can spot the side of your cheek easily. Keep it unstrained.
TIP #3 – Clothes can do half the work
I dress well for a reason; It takes a bit of pressure off me being the focal point fully.
Clothes are also history, art, commerce, self-expression etc.
They’re an amazing tool to further convey the message of your photo.
TIP #4 – Invest in a Tripod
Mounting your device – whether an iPad, smartphone, or camera – on a tripod, and setting the self-timer, means you already have your photoshoot production team.
I work with what I have usually, and most of the time it’s just me and my tech.
TIP #5 – Know your Light & Know your Angles
When I get out of the shower and have the time, I find it good to sometimes observe myself, asking:
- What’s changed?
- What’s new?
- What still makes me feel good about myself?
I twirl, lift, squint and check my form from every angle possible – why?
We actually take it for granted that we know how everything making up our body looks. It’s not until photos are called for at some get-together, that you realize you don’t know how to situate your many bits flatteringly.
I know that I prefer to pose with my body angled to the side of the photographer or tripod because it slims and elongates me wonderfully.
I also know that with just the right back arch and chin lift, I create harmonious lines with my curves. The awareness comes with having stared down my bared bits and just looked for what makes me happy there.
Where light and photography is concerned: the people you see, who take the best photos, are also more likely to have the sun facing them, rather than their bodies being backlit. It’s very difficult to nail high-quality photographs while alone, if you want to be backlit.
PRO TIP: The key to great light is avoiding the harsher midday light and rather shooting early mornings or during the ‘Golden Hour’ of late afternoons.