Thursday, February 15, 2018

How to Create a Portrait Style Selfie


I snapped this pic yesterday when I was keeping my grandson and he fell asleep on me. There was no fancy lighting or camera equipment. I took this with my iphone 7. It wasn't posed. We were sitting there and I simply reached for my phone.

Proving once again that photographers' quip about the best camera:

The best camera is the one you have with you. 

A couple of things made this into a really good shot.

First, my daughter and son-in-law have a home that is mostly white.

Second, we were sitting in a chair facing a large window.

Third, no one is looking at the camera, making it feel like a legit portrait and not a selfie. 

Lighting is everything when you are trying to get the best photo whether it's of yourself, the dog, or a birthday cake. This was also a cloudy day, perfect for providing flat even light that creates extra exceptional lighting with out fancy equipment. Even though everyone loves sunlight it can be the killer of lovely photos creating harsh angles and shadows.

This photo I took of my daughter's family last October is further proof that overcast is a photo blessing. I took this with my Canon Rebel and not my phone, but my point here is about the light.


On a sunny day this would have been a challenging photo shoot, but the natural light was fantastic. For photos I take of other people and for selfies I avoid the flash. It is very rarely flattering and selfies are by nature, up close, so stick to natural lighting.

Most photos I see people take are too far away. Don't be afraid to go close. For some shots a Selfie Stick might be helpful, but to create an intimate photo it's putting too much distance between the camera and subject. 

Use the editing features in your camera app to make the photo looks its very best. I was wearing a bright red shirt in the original version which I felt detracted from the quiet feeling I wanted in the finished photo. Some photos look best in color, like the family shot above and others look better in black and white. Try them all to see which one is best for your image. 

Taking selfies can seem like a Millennial self absorbed activity, but that moment will never happen again. So peaceful. So candid. I'm thrilled to have a record of it.

Here's the take away:

Keep your phone handy.

Keep the background in mind.

Find great natural lighting.

You don't have to look at the camera.

Turn off the flash.

Get close. 

Feel good about capturing the moment.

Feel free to edit to get the look and feel you want.

Did I mention the lighting, y'all? Lighting is everything! 




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