10 Tips On How To Take Awesome Self-Portraits

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Hello lovelies, for a while now, I’ve been thinking that perhaps it’s time that I start to share some tips I use for creating content on this blog. Several people in the past have contacted me via my Instagram page seeking advice about one blogging issue or the other, so I’m thinking that such posts might actually be beneficial to many others wanting to embark on this journey of creating content. And even if you’re not aiming to be a content creator, you just might want awesome looking pics for your own personal album, so stay with me on this one 🙂

I must say it took me a while to summon the courage to take my pictures in public all by myself, because I’m actually a bit shy and often suffer from the embarrassment syndrome! I think to myself- People must think I’m mad standing in front of a camera and posing all by myself. I mean, if you’ve seen my recent post where I talked about something important to think about before buying, then you’ll know that those poses meant business 😀  So yeah, I’m quite self conscious, but I’ve decided to throw caution(more like my reservations) to the wind and do what’s got to be done.

In this post, I’m assuming that you already know how to use your camera and timer settings, but if you don’t, it’s best you learn how to operate them before you head out for the shoot.

So let’s get into what you’ll need:

1  A good camera with a self-timer: This is obvious right? If you’re going to take the pics yourself, then of course you need a camera with a self-timer unless you can click the button and then run with Usain Bolt’s speed to stand in front of it! As for the camera, most bloggers these days own a DSLR. I’m not an expert on professional cameras so I can’t offer any sound advice as of now, but Nikon and Canon are the most popular ones and work well. The lens are the main deal so don’t be worried if you can’t afford the really snazzy and expensive ones in the series. I use the Nikon D3100, it was what I could afford at the time when I started blogging but with time, I’ve upgraded from the kit lens to a 35mm and another 18-140mm lens, so it’s all good for now.

2 A tripod: A tripod is essential to taking a self-portrait. Since you’ll be in front of the camera, you’ll need something to hold the camera while you pose for the gods to get that amazing shot 🙂 They are actually inexpensive, however, if you have bigger lenses that weigh a ton then make sure you don’t get the lighter tripods that are cheap. You’ll need a stronger one that will carry the weight on the camera and lens. The last thing you want is for your camera to fall over and its screen crack!
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3 Determination: If like me you’re shy or reserved, then you must talk yourself out of what’s holding you back. This means your willingness to get that post out should be stronger than the demons getting into your headspace and throwing in doubts. Not every blogger would have a boyfriend, sibling or photographer friend that can help them take pictures which is important especially if you’re a fashion/style blogger. So you definitely need a bucket load of determination and once you’ve talked yourself into it, don’t think about it much again, just get up and go on the planned day. That’s what I do. I simply start to get ready, apply my makeup, get my clothes pressed and not even think about anything to do with the shoot until I get to the location. That way, I don’t start to talk myself out of it. But before you get to the location you need the rest of the tips below. So keep reading.

4 A great location: This goes without saying. A stunning photograph would also need an awesome backdrop to thrive. And to be honest, sometimes you might get one picture that looks great but is a bit blurry. However, if the background is totes amazing, you can get away with still using it. I know I have! Also, depending on your idea or aesthetic, you might want to consider a location that goes well with the scheme of your outfit or the story that you want to tell or emotion that you want to evoke from the images. Another thing to consider is going to a place that is less busy and relatively quiet with not much passerbys. This helps a lot if you’re not into having strangers stare at you while you pose in front of your camera.
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5 A  beautiful composition: It’s pretty hard taking blog pics yourself, trust me I’ve been there. So in order to help all your handwork pay off, don’t just stand your tripod anywhere and start shooting. No lovely! You must do test shots. Look through the camera’s finder for the best composition for your location and then do some test shots with you standing in different positions and ranges until you get the one that works beautifully. Also because you have no one directing you, you’ll have to be attentive to your surroundings and watch out for trash that might be lying on the floor and ruining your picture or obtrusive objects. Also because you’ll be running back and forth(literally) to click on the button and then run to stand in place, make sure you make note of where you must stand every time you run back. It’s a tough game, believe me. My timer has a maximum of 10 seconds before it takes the picture and that’s not enough time to catwalk to your position. You actually need to run or pace depending on how far you have to be in order to get a full length picture, etc.

6 Good poses: Again, since you’ll be directing yourself, you most likely don’t know what your poses actually look like while you’re in front of the camera. So think up a few good ones beforehand that you can rotate in order to capture your outfit and then other random ones that show personality or any other story that you want to tell with your images. I’ve been blogging for 2 years now, so I pretty much know a handful of poses that I always look good in so I use them before trying things at the spur of the moment. These are mine- eyes closed looking up to the heavens/ looking downwards(especially if I’ve done a bomb ass eyeshadow), my back facing the camera with my hands in front of me(this flexes my back and makes it look well toned) which makes for a good back of outfit pose; a finger on my chin smizing for my dear life 😀 These are a few of mine, stand in front of a mirror and think of yours. You don’t want to take forever with the shoot because you’re thinking of what pose that will work, then trying it out only to realise it looks shit when you later view it.
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7 Patience: You need this in bucket loads because it really takes up a lot of time to get the images you want especially because you’re doing it all alone. I always tell myself that I can’t go through all this stress only to get mediocre photos as an end result. I just keep taking until I’ve taken at least 5 I’m really happy about. Only then you see me grinning from ear to ear and probably would here me say yasss to myself 😀

8 Carry at least two change of clothes: Dear, this self-portrait thing is a big feat, so don’t dull yourself by taking only one outfit post at a time. It’s really inefficient if you ask me. It’s best to have at least two outfits to change into. Personally, I do two at a time because it does take a lot of time that by the time I’m done with the second outfit, I’m hungry, thirsty and perhaps a bit over it. If you can, try for 2-3 outfits. That way, you don’t have to fret for the next two to three weeks.
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9 Be in your own bubble: Like I said previously, location is key. However, even if you’ve chosen an area that is relatively quiet, you’ll often still get some people walking by as the shoot proceeds. In this case, I usually ignore what’s going on around me or the people staring and just get on with it.  The last thing you want to do is look at someone walking by and catch a negative expression on their face. It can really bring your mood down or make you feel uneasy about what you’re doing. I simply avoid any eye contact with others when I’m shooting. Sometimes, I even get friendly ones shouting that they’d like to join me in the shoot, I simply laugh, they laugh too and I carry on but mostly, I remain in my own bubble.

10 Forget depth of field: At least if you don’t have a remote control to help you focus the image. For those who don’t know, depth of field in simple terms is when a picture has a blurry background while the subject is in full focus. This happens when for instance, you adjust the aperture so that more light hits the lens before the shutter closes when you take a picture. This causes the said effect and it makes for beautiful photography. Unfortunately, when I take self-portraits, I have to forfeit this because I’m unable to focus the camera on myself since I’m actually behind the camera when I hit the timer and then run to stand in front of it before the shot goes off. So because of this, I make sure the whole composition of the shot is in full focus, that way, when I finally run to stand in front of the camera, I’ll also be in focus. And remember to change your focus setting from auto to MANUAL once you’ve focused everything in the frame. If you leave it in auto, you most likely will get a blurry picture because the camera will try to automatically readjust the focus when you stand in the frame. I hope this makes sense? If it doesn’t, let me know in the comment section or shoot me an email.
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There we have it folks!

I hope these tips helps anyone who’s thinking of taking self-portraits. If I’ve omitted any other useful tips, please list them below in the comment section.

Have you taken self-portraits for your blog posts or are planning to? Let me know how you get on 🙂

 

PS. I did a video for this OOTD after taking the pictures. Watch and like/share the video and if you’re on YouTube, add my channel- SewaFolie. I plan to be more active on there

 

 

Here’s a list of other posts where I took the pictures myself:

My 2016 birthday shoot

Doing it yourself!

Sport luxe

Casual OOTD

Photography by me 🙂

Want more bloggy type tips? Leave your requests in the comment section and have a great week!

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2 Comments

  1. Mariam Bashorun

    September 10, 2016 at 8:53 am

    Thanks so much for this! I’m considering adding OOTD posts to my blog and this is really helpful. All your pics are great and I would never have guessed you did them yourself.????

    • Lize

      September 14, 2016 at 10:10 am

      Thank you, it means a lot to get your feedback. Definitely give it a go, the sense of accomplishment and getting those wow pics is worth it!

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