Every time I go into a store there’s a new Lady Gaga staring at me through new eyes and a new face.
That lady knows how to put herself everywhere, including on the cover of nearly every magazine, it seems. And she always looks different, yet you always know it’s her.
What could she possibly have to teach us?
How many pictures do you have of yourself from the past six months? Just yourself?
From the past year?
I recently decided to start taking a monthly self-portrait. I even set up a set on my Flickr page so I can see them all in one place.
Self-Portrait Pose Prompts
You could do the same pose every time with a different outfit. If your hair style evolves as quickly as mine, it might be interesting. Frankly, that sounds boring to me. And Lady Gaga wouldn’t approve either.
Not that we’re looking for her approval. Not that we want our pictures to look anything like hers.
But maybe we can shake it up a bit and get more pictures without doing the same old thing over and over again, as you saw me do with my daily outfit pics from my Week in the Life 2010 project (snore).
So here are some ideas for mixing it up and getting different poses.
Basic Show-Off-the-Outfit Pose
- Focus the camera on the wall where your face should be. This means you’ll need to stand in front of a wall.
- Set your camera on Timer mode, and then set up the shot. If your wall is brighter than your face, you’ll need to expose the shot to be brighter than what your camera tells you it should be, since your face is darker than your wall.
Everyday Life Pose
Think about the things you spend a lot of time doing? The largest percentage of my day is in front of my computer.
For this picture I focused the shot on the back of the chair where I would be sitting.
The second largest percentage of my time just might happen to be in front of the mirror. I believe one of the secrets to a long youthful life, a vibrant energetic day, and a great marriage is to get fully dressed with hair and makeup in the morning. Every day.
When one simple action affects at least three major areas of your life, you know it’s worth doing. So I do it.
You have two sides. Turn around and show the other one. But look back so we can still see your face.
By the way, if you stand by a window it will look like there’s a reason you’re facing backwards. Don’t do this in front of a wall or in the middle of a room. It might look funny.
You could probably do it outside, though. Of course, if you’re also taking the shot yourself, the other people outside might think it’s funny.
Camera in the Mirror Pose
This is the cop-out pose. Just kidding. It’s definitely easier when you’re in a hurry don’t feel like getting out the tripod.
Learn to get other shots instead, though. It’s cool that you’re the photo-journalist of your own life and that of your family’s, but come on…there’s more to you than that! Photograph yourself without the camera in hand.
Additional Tips for Taking Self-Portraits
In addition to the photo-setup tips above, I have two other suggestions to help you keep going on regular self-portrait shots…
- Get intimate with your tirpod.
- Set a target date.
Get Intimate with Your Tripod
I’ve taught myself to get used to the act of pulling out the tripod and not letting my lazy side talk my motivated side out of it. Yes, it’s a bit of a hassle. But it’s worth it if you’re serious about having more photos of yourself. I’ve developed a fairly intimate relationship with my tripod.
But why not just hand the camera over to someone else every month? You could definitely do that. But I figured out one thing about myself: I am more self-conscious with someone else behind the camera.
When you’re setting up your own shots, you can play and try things…and delete.
Oh, yes, I do delete.
If you’ll get out of your comfort zone and try some playful or dramatic poses, you’ll get a more interesting variety and you’ll have some shots to illustrate a variety of stories.
But this just isn’t something I can get myself to do with anyone else around. That’s why there is such a difference between the shots I take of myself now, and the shots I had Izzy take of me every day a year ago for Week in the Life.
Of course, you might be different and do better with an encouraging photographer there.
Set a Target Date
I noticed that I happened to take self-portraits on the eleventh of two different months. It struck me that it would be very cool to have a number of shots taken on the same day over different months and years.
I don’t do them all on that date, but I’ve found that a target dates helps me to remember. And if your target date is earlier in the month instead of later, you’ll be less likely to miss it.
So if you’ve been looking at our Altered Books Tutorial, or the journaling prompts and the scrapbooking layout ideas I’ve been posting lately, and wondering what photo you would use, maybe you’ll benefit from a monthly self-portrait?
It might be less than what Lady Gaga takes, but I think it’s sufficient for our needs.