Taking Self Portraits

Taking Self Portraits

I like to allow people to take their own portrait or Taking Self Portraits sometimes. Tonight I had people over to watch the Super Bowl. I had my camera setup with a strobe in the back room. I asked one of the guys if he wanted to get his portrait taken because everything was setup. Like many guys he is not too keen. I told him I have 2 videos to show him. So I plugged my notebook into the TV and showed him 2 of Peter Hurleys Videos. One is how to hide the double chin and the other is how to get the eyes just right. Peter is a New York Photographer that specialized in Portraits or head shots for Actors. These days he focuses on teaching. I have taken classes with in Vegas at Photoshop World and have followed him for years. These videos have over 2 million views each.

1.) It’s all about the Jaw!

2.) It’s all about the Squinch!

After watching these 2 videos he was confident and curious to try the process.

Home Camera setup
– Black sheet taped to the wall. (Gaffers Tape is best)
– Small White board $1.99 to tape up if he wants a white background.
– Camera plugged into a remote trigger.
– Strobe on a stand shooting above the camera. (Flash on camera will do it)
– Notebook plugged into the camera tethering using Lightroom  (Tethering Tip)

To see camera setting you can find the images on flickr. I have over 45,000 images here. I use flickr to catalog every time I shoot and it helps me find images to make composites.

Taking Self Portraits Update: I was asked “Did you use AF (Autofocus)?
I had the camera settings on Manual and locked in at f8. The center of focus was centered right in the middle of his head. I explained where the focus was so he could keep things sharp. He could see from the notebook that was tethered if the picture was out of focus or not after every shot. Having sharp eyes is key to a good portrait. When we changed things up to shoot slow shutter we locked in the focus because it was too dark in the room for the autofocus to lock on.  So we used Autofocus shooting in the light and locked in focus when shooting in the dark slow shutter conditions.

With all that camera setup you can stand in front of the camera press the remote and see the images right on your notebook. This way he could see the images as they came off the camera. As we shot the pictures we would talk about what to change what would be better. After a bit I asked if he wanted to mix it up with some slow shutter and had fun explaining light painting.
Here are the results from 30 mins shooting and around 1 hour editing.

Note: As I helped I was making sure the focus was sharp. Checking camera settings. Checking lighting setup as we changed backgrounds. Thinking about wardrobe changes and what props I could drop in.  Giving some hints about how to stand to give better results. So it really is a “Taking Self Portraits” with an assistant that knows photography to orchestrate and edit.

This image shows a hat I found in the closet and I gave him a collar shirt that worked better with his coat

This image shows a hat I found in the closet and I gave him a collar shirt that worked better with his coat

 Taking Self Portraits with a funny wing and hat

I grabbed a funny wing and hat to mix things up a bit

Led Light Painting Portriat

Dragged a LED flashlight in the background. The flash snapped him still and then I dragged the lines with the LED. You can see his head moved by the shadow to the left

Slow Shutter Portrait

I always like to mix things up with Slow Shutter to capture the images a bit different. Here we counted to 3. 1 Main flash for the middle image. 2 moved to the left and I pointed a flash light as his head. 3 moved to the right and pointed a flash light as his head. I did it to show him and then he did it himself. He got better each time because he was seeing the results on the notebook.

Wall Mural Art New York

Taking Self Portraits turns into wall art in one of my street photos.

Oh ye cant forget some stupid crap I was playing around with on twitter with my son.

Oh ye cant forget some stupid crap I was playing around with on twitter with my son.