Someone recently made a compliment about the photos of me on my Instagram account and asked who did them. Very flattered by this and not to blow my own horn, but they were all taken by moi! Me, myself and a tripod to put it bluntly. It has been a compliment that has been made many times about my profile images.
I don’t know about you, but having my photos taken for work or just in general is not something I do frequently. I always tend to over smile, giving way to my big gerbil cheeks and horsey teeth (no violins or sympathy, it is true). My holiday photos tend to be pictures of landscapes, with a brisk shot of me to prove that I was there.
Work profile pictures, don’t get me started on them. Some random person with a big camera and terrible background designed to draw every ounce of colour out of your face (hard considering my skin tone). A one-time shot with no going back, no editing, no photo shopping, no filter, there pinned on the staff intranet and company campaign for all to see. Urgh!
I have never been one to engage in the mobile selfie culture, working out my best side, best angle and standing in front of a mirror for hours perfecting that smile. I’ve never really had time for mirrors only to check I’ve not overdone it on the blusher and I’ve taken my headscarf off before leaving home.
Having had some terrible photos taken of myself in the past, a few years back I brought a new camera from a trip to Japan and borrowing a tripod from a friend (still borrowing!), I started messing around taking my own photos.
Now if images of me are needed for work, I am quite happy and confident to do this myself and share images of me that reflect me and my personality.
I thought I would share a few tips on how I’ve got this stage of taking my own selfie photos and hopefully help you feel more confident about being in front of the camera to get the best shot for the occasion. No more grinning and bearing. Ha!
Where would be without Pinterest! My home has been built from Pinterest, thank you. Like many, I go through phases with Pinterest, but it is a great tool to use to create boards of inspiration, information and stuff.
Perfecting the art of my own photos I was researching Pinterest and created a board called selfies. I got inspiration from fun images that I found on Pinterest which got me thinking about profile photos not always having to be stiff, sat upright photos, but a more relaxed, natural and fun portrait allowing your personality to shine.
- DSLR camera/Mobile phone/small digital camera
- Tripod/Mini tripod with correct gadget
- Some books/boxes to give height
- Post it notes and pen
- Flash light (optional, if not make sure you take your photos in places with good natural light)
- Remote control for DLSR camera
Whether inside or out, find a location which gives you good light and most importantly allows you to relax, so you can do the imaginary friend act (will explain more later). I tend to do most of my photos indoors. Lots of colourful wallpaper to give a nice backdrop to the shot. It is also easier for me to assess the angles and where to place my post-it note and tripod.
X Marks The Spot!
Whether you are taking the photo sitting down or standing up, mark out on the wall or area of where your head will be positioned on the wall with a coloured post-it. Stick it firmly in position. This is the spot which you will be getting your camera to focus on which will ultimately be your face. This rule mainly applies if you are taking the photo with a DSLR to get it into focus. Most mobile phones are set to detect faces on screen.
Creating A Look and Making it Look Natural
The biggest problem I find when profile photos are being taken by others is that it is all a bit on the spot, stare into a camera, smile and hope that a decent picture has been taken. I never know what to do with my body and where to put my hands.
The beauty of taking your own photos is you get to dictate the scene that is created. I always find that the best images of me are me doing something or engaging with the camera in a natural way.
Props are always a great way to get a natural shot, giving you a point of focus to make you feel at ease.
Balloons, bubbles and bubble gum are 3 all three things to get folk smiling, whether you it is you are using them or others watching. It brings out the natural and the smile in us all. No one is too old for any of these!
If props are not your thing or there is limited availability, take to having a fun conversation with your imaginary friend either behind the camera or to the side. This creates a natural look, helping you to take the focus off trying to pose for the camera, but instead be having a conversation with it or your imaginary friend (make it a funny conversation).
Taking the Picture – DSLR
Most of my shots are taken with a DSLR camera on a tripod, with the optional flashlight and remote control. As it is just me taking the photos, I always set the
camera to multiple shutter mode. This means that once the remote control has been pressed and set to lock, the camera will be continuously taking pictures. This gives you time to get into position and do your best imaginary conversation or messing around with props. A great mode to get action shots and the more natural look of you in the picture. Providing lots of great options as well as the dodgy ones.
Tip – using multiple shutter mode can create great animations and Gifs, potential content for Instagram and Facebook.
Taking the Picture with a Mobile Phone
Taking selfies with your mobile phone are great for taking head shots or sitting on the floor with e use of a mini tripod. There is less involved in trying to get the angle and focus right with a mobile, as much of the basic features are programmed into the phone.
The main thing with using a mobile to take the shot is getting the height right. It is sometimes worth keeping a few books close by in case your mobile tripod needs extra height assistance.
The key thing on taking mobile selfies and setting the timer. I usually do 10 seconds to give me adequate time to get into position the mini tripod, mobile shot a are good for taking head shots if you are sitting at a table or on the floor.
If all else fails then the good old mirror selfie is a great way to take a natural shot. As I’ve already said, I’m not one for strutting a pose in front of the mirror, but not taking myself too seriously this is a fun way to take a creative shot. A bit of tongue cheek didn’t hurt anyone right?!
Happy snapping! Practice makes perfect!!
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