the process of a self portrait

i started out in photography by taking photographs of myself. i didn't have any models when i was 15 nor did i know what i was doing, so it was the best practice someone in my shoes could get. all i needed was a tripod and a camera, two things that i had. 

i have never been too keen on how i looked but this isn't the time or place to talk about that. one thing i can say is that after years of photographing myself and seeing myself in every unprepared angle my cameras have captured, i very much feel like my face is something that belongs to me, and not that i belong to it. i digress.

about a month ago, i started thinking about a new profile picture. i posted the one i currently had on new years day of something that i took the past december. i figured it was time for change. and like with everything i do, i started panicking and consulting my friends. many of them did have photographs for me to use but i decided that i wanted to take a new one.

now this is the part where i tell you that this is not easy. i often have people tell me that i'm so good in front of a camera and that i'm so incredibly photogenic ect based just on my self portraits and that is the furthest from the truth. if you've ever seen a group photo i'm in, you'll see that i'm horrible in front of any camera that isn't my own (and maybe daniels' but that's because he's too good at what he does.)

taking self portraits like i do that you'll like is hard because it's not usually just a straight ahead shot in front of anything. i like movement. i like utilizing space. so it takes time and it takes patience. it never turns out how you envision it but if you keep at it, you'll get something you're happy with. i initially thought i wanted to take a photo in my room with my mirror but the lighting didn't really work out and i figured i had way too many photos here so i took a few, hated them, and changed scenery. here's one failed selfie.

there is nothing about this that works.

it was a sunny afternoon and my family was in mexico so i decided i wanted to take a photo in my driveway. that sounds boring, especially in front of a suburban home like mine, but the sun was shining and i like shades of blue and lines so i said fuck it, put on my favorite shirt, and did it.

i took my tripod, my camera, and my remote out with me and got ready to shoot.

here are a few things i think about when i'm starting out:

  • where can i stand that'll make sense compositionally*
  • is there room for me to move around
  • (this one is silly) what poses can i do that are flattering and cool looking
  • how is what i'm wearing going to work with my surroundings

* you don't want to over think this. for me in the photos in this post, i was thinking about having most of me generally centred in the photo but it wasn't the most important thing. also you don't want to over think any of these because nothing matters and we're all going to die anyway.

the next few things i think about are camera settings, arranging my camera, moving things around in the frame, and test shots. usually take a few test shots to make sure i kind of know where to stand when i get at 'er. 

disclaimer: my test shot never really looks this good but here it is.

things i like about this:

  • it's a full body shot which is what i wanted
  • the contrast between my dark clothing and the light background is perf
  • the ass end of my dads truck is covering the ugly part of my yard
  • yooo my legs look long #dope

so i played around with this framing. i moved my camera around a little bit from time to time for a little variation. if you're taking a lot it's nice to have little differences.

i took 112 photos. there was about 10 that i actually liked. not all selfies work out. here are some failed ones.

did i drop something

my face looks cute tho

i've got like 90 more of those if you want.

some did work out though. i've taken the liberty of editing them. here are some of my favorites.

and sometimes things get weird. i was taking photos and the people that live across from me came up and started talking to me about alkaline water. here's a photo of floyd, me, and harriet. they're pretty cool. also this definitely isn't the first time something like this has occurred where an old person in my neighbourhood has caught me taking selfies and has joined me for one but that's a story for another time.

anyway. after it all you finally get the shot you want and all is well and you have a new profile picture. when you take the one, you'll know. i knew right when i saw it. 

so that's it! that's how i take selfies! the trick is to take a lot i guess. change it around. don't be scared to take a bad one because if you're like me you'll have a 9:1 shitty photo to good one ratio. 

also all i've been listening to for the past week is kendrick lamars latest, to pimp a butterfly. if you haven't heard it, get outta here.


till next time,