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.