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every so often i need to take a picture of myself and i honestly have no idea what i'm doing. each version is getting better but it's still a pain. only recently did i discover that i have to put my custom setting of removing the focus button (as the main button and keeping it on the back), was also killing my focus on my remote switch. so everything was coming out a bit soft.
i misread it as a 100 tips, but there are only 5, however there are many cool self portraits in there...
anyway if anyone has any tips on how to get a good picture of yourself, i'm all ears. yesterday i spent about 2 hours taking about a 100 pictures, trying to get the pose i wanted, and even though i was using live view and a mirror, i still had many that didn't come out well.
The way I have always done it is set everything up on a tripod using a substitute model where I will be. Once I have it set up, I either use the timer or have the sub press the cable release button once I have changed places with them.
I bought a wireless remote for my Nikon D300 just a month ago. It was about 15 bucks. I can't remember if I found it on Amazon or Ebay, new. It wasn't even the cheapest. I set the autofocus on the multi point mode that detects the nearest subject. If I remember correctly there is also automatic eye detection is you set it on 51 focus points, which I didn't bother to do. I have the camera set up so that the shutter button is the auto focus. That way It focuses on me when I push the remote. I do a few shots, peep and adjust. My profile photo was done with this. I also modeled for my own stock photo which sold right away. Best investment I ever made.
I'm going to read that link, Mike. I have a piece of my work as my avatar because I absolutely HATE photos of myself. My son seems to take the best ones, but I don't have a clear enough one to use. I guess I should look for a remote as well. Been using the self-timer, but I can't get anything I like. I suck at it.
there are some pretty creative images in there. i like the one where the guy is running through and you see him in mid air. in the next batch i'll have at least 1 self portrait, if it get the others done it will be 3 more. it's alot cheaper then getting models and i can use the images without releases and such.
right now i need to figure out how to make a reflection of my hands in a glass ball.
Good luck, Mike. I don't shoot people except family pictures. Not my best thing. I don't think it's easy at all. In fact, after my son got married, I hauled out my wedding album and looked and I realized now how crummy my wedding photographer was. Of course, he didn't have Photoshop and that was in the era of flash bulbs. Oh well.
Good link, Sheena. I've been trying to shoot myself (that just doesn't sound right) in room lighting. I have a window I can stand next to. I guess I should buy that remote shutter release as well, I've been thinking about getting one. I never use flash except fill flash and in rare circumstances, so I think a remote shutter release would be more practical for me than buying an external flash unit. I do like the 'age spots' (freckles) on my face. when I'm out in bright sun, they come out with a vengeance. I might try that on a sunny day - get them to show themselves, then run inside and take the shot.
Question - Mike, maybe you know this - I just looked at the wireless Canon remote on B&H and they are only 20 bucks. However, it looks like you have to get your exposure and focus measured on the camera before you take the shot. I've only worked with wired remotes on film cameras. I guess the remote ONLY triggers the shutter, and does not make the camera focus on the subject as well, right? I'm feeling stupid right now....somebody enlighten me, please....
This is what I bought for my Nikon. A Neewer. It's gone up but way cheaper than the Nikon one designed for my camera. I have heard of people burning up ports with this type, which is why I didn't buy the cheapest one. It had some good reviews ,but I can't find them now.
Here's what I know: The outcome of a headshot, and I assume that's what we talking about here as a self portrait, depends on the expression in your face.
When I do headshots, the best are were the model is not aware of the camera this second, like in talks to me or fixes the hair etc. For a winner the model needs to be relaxed and natural.
I often tell them jokes and make them laugh on the better ones. If that happens you have a fraction of a second to pull the trigger, not on the full laugh usually, takes a little bit of practice.
Now, if you shoot yourself and watch a monitor, focus on remote clicking, unless you are very experienced and can pull of a natural pose, it will be very hard to do.
If I need one, I exchange headshots with another photographer, I do his, he does mine, or I set up the camera and let somebody click for about 30 minutes, while I'm having a conversation.
Posing for yourself usually makes you look stiff.
Camera settings are the same than any other headshot, 80-135mm lens (70-200 will do also), f4 or lower, 200 (not 250, like most do) shutter with strobes, focus on the eyelashes (not the eyes, like everybody explains and you have to show that to the person that runs the camera, if not a photographer). If you shoot in daylight everything is the same except the shutter speed.
If you have a full frame, make sure you stay between 80-135mm, if you have a crop sensor do the math, usually 1.6. Otherwise you face will be distorted (longer nose etc.)
That's how I do it, so find your own method but make sure you are relaxed when shooting, otherwise JCPenny will do.
often the hardest part is where my eyes are looking. i have one setting where the camera pre-flashes. in manual it didn't do that. i tended to move my eye from reflex with that first flash. i found by looking at the canon logo was i looking in more or less the right place. the other problem is my room is too small. i know my 17-40 made me look like a circus freak stuck in a room full of fun house mirrors. the 28 distorted me a bit. i ended up with like 35 with a 28-75. i need to get my 50mm fixed still.
and for the pose i needed, there were too many factors in there. i'm still not really that pleased how it came out, but i'm leaving it till next time.
Short of that, you could try what the dancers do for photo shoots.... most of the time the pics are taken in a dance studio with a bank of mirrors on one wall. The photographer sets up in front of the mirrors but the dancer can see his/her reflection behind the camera and can set up properly (crotch shots are a taboo).... I know you want to take a self portrait but it might be an idea to try.... you could see how you look before the camera goes click, click, click.... just a thought.
Here's an example, not a self portrait, but I think it shows how important it is to be relaxed for a winner image.
This was shot while the model was fixing his hat for the upcoming round of shots and was completely unaware that I'm shooting already, you would not be able to get this pose on command. You will not be able to shoot this in a self portrait.
My Canon cameras have had software with capture capability, and you can use your laptop for interval series.
My canon shutter release (electrical cable) is only about 3 feet or so, but I bought a 15 foot "extension" for it. Not a very cheap solution, but handy for wildlife photography.
You might want to check out "Trigger Trap" and affordable electronic shutter release that can work by intervals, electric eye, microphone, and other triggering methods.
Finally, with an android or iphone, you can use the trigger trap phone app (with an inexpensive cable) to trigger several brands of dSLR based on distance, time intervals, and so on.
This last option is the lowest cost option, other than the camera/laptop method, which you can probably do without anything new. Check your utility software you got with your camera.
Of course, there is that old favorite, the self timer... Most newer cameras allow more than one delay time, maybe 3 seconds vs 15 seconds.
If natural light is ok, outside will do, but the most pro look you usually get with strobes, although some will argue that.
"often the hardest part is where my eyes are looking. i have one setting where the camera pre-flashes. in manual it didn't do that. i tended to move my eye from reflex with that first flash. i found by looking at the canon logo was i looking in more or less the right place. the other problem is my room is too small. i know my 17-40 made me look like a circus freak stuck in a room full of fun house mirrors. the 28 distorted me a bit. i ended up with like 35 with a 28-75. i need to get my 50mm fixed still.
and for the pose i needed, there were too many factors in there. i'm still not really that pleased how it came out, but i'm leaving it till next time."
Try somebody else to handle the camera while you talk to them and vary the pose you are going for, it might take 200 exposures but you will get a nice one. Your mom will enjoy it and it might even make a nice afternoon with a super image at the end.
You have no choice on lenses, it is 80-135, unless you want a different effect
On this one the model was listening to somebody else talking ........... Bingo
Most of my good shots are clicks between the poses. You cannot do that yourself. You need a passionate photographer eye on the other side.
I got an interval timer for the 5dm3. So nice for self portraits. You can take a handful at once. Also wanted it for time lapse photography so it was worth it to me. I use a tripod or light stand to focus on
If you want to shoot it yourself, as far as I know you are using Canon.
Use the EOS Utility or Lightroom with an USB extension, shoot thetered, put it in live view and click with the mouse, if you have a wireless mouse, there you have it, but cable will work too. No need to buy anything.
actually that probably could work and it wouldn't be any more wires than i already have. certainly easier to see the screen than a tiny mirror anyway. next time i need to i guess...
about those triggers, i wonder if they have an inexpensive ones that trigger off of noise or can trigger a flash. i know of a time machine device, but i think it's meant for flashes. i've always wanted to do those freeze frames of things popping or breaking. i was thinking there would be a way to use my phone for that. though thinking about it i wonder if the screen being on would ruin the shot.
Gunter, thank you for the advice on settings and especially the tip to look at the eyelashes instead of the eyes. I'm going to try that next time I take photos of someone. I haven't done it before but I keep being asked to take photos for graduations, conformations, baptisms and Quinceaneras in my area and so I finally said I would and just committed myself to shooting 2 last week so the information you just gave will come in handy. I'll keep reading if you have any more tips you want to share. Thanks again! : )
If you want to do freeze frames, you need a flash that is capable of high speed sync. Make sure you set it to fire behind the curtain.
There are other ways, but I prefer this. The 550EX and 580EX series will do.
Thinking about the thethered self portrait, I wonder if there is a script that gives you a left mouse click every second, if not, I'm sure, someone on here you right it easily.
What kind of lighting do you have? Or what kind of lighting are you shooting in - outside, shade, partial shade, cloudy, indoors, indoors with what type of lighting in the bulbs? Do you have a flash unit that can swivel or are you using built in flash?
Adding my input:
1) If you are pointing/facing directly toward the camera then this tip does wonders. To make your subject or yourself more photogenic you need to have good definition on the face as well as a good jawline. Getting good definition on the jawline is as simple as moving your forehead out towards the camera so that light and shadow can now define the jaw. Check out Peter Hurley's video for better explanation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qe3oJnFtA_k
2) Relaxed poses are better - have a friend be there on the shoot and just shoot the breeze with you for a few minutes before firing the shutter so that you are more relaxed. The other suggestion is if you zone out/relax to your favorite music have it playing while you take the shot. The first few shots may be stiff but as you focus more on the music it is possible that you can capture a more relaxed natural pose.
3) I feel it is really is best to focus on the eyes to get them tack sharp - but I see Gunter recommends the eyelashes and that perhaps relates directly to the low aperture setting (4 or lower) and ease of getting it as close to the main focal point especially if you are doing a self portrait on your own. The link you provided states the author focused on the shovel in the stuck in the ground and then placed himself in that same spot. If your camera has a nine point focus points (some have 12 or more) find the setting where you can set it on just one focus point on the substituted object where your eyes/eyelashes would be, lock it in, remove object and take the shot.
4) This works more with non moving objects but you could adapt it to your self taken portrait to assist in getting the sharp focus. If you want to be precise - and I mean measure where you want your focus tack sharp on the eyes and whole of the face or more the Online Depth of Field Calculator http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html to figure it out to ft/inches/meters/centimeters. Just plonk in your numbers and it will tell you the calculations so you will know exactly where to place yourself or object.
Ahh, Peter Hurley, I studied him too, Technically he is perfect (Hassy), but his expressions on the head shots are disappointing recently.
I also never liked the Kino's, that square or triangle catch light makes people look like aliens, but the even, soft light is a payoff.
Other than that, a great photographer
the camera has like 61 focus points i think i can use most of them. i'm using basic flashes, originally i wanted the light from the bottom up, and got that effect later on. later i used a 550ex as a master (my only master), and a 270ex with a diffuser as a slave for above light. it seemed to work. it's just the angles that are getting me. i sit back in the chair and i look like i saw the witch doctor, tiny head. with huge hands. i had to sit up right to balance it and it's still not really right. it's out of scale. each generation is getting better though.
Great thread! I learned a lot! Eyelashes for the focus? So going to try that!! I'm still afraid of flash and strobes. Gorgeous samples of those portraits, Gunter.
My best trick for getting a good portrait is to pretend I'm fiddling with my settings longer than I really am. I usually get my settings right then shoot a few, then tell my subject, "No, relax, I'm still just getting my settings right." They relax, but I'm all set, fire off a few more "test" shots and usually nail it. Of course, then I have to do the "real" shoot, but I know I've already bagged the money shot, so that's just extra.
I'm kinda new here, but I'm learning so much! Thanks, again! Angela
"My best trick for getting a good portrait is to pretend I'm fiddling with my settings longer than I really am. I usually get my settings right then shoot a few, then tell my subject, "No, relax, I'm still just getting my settings right." They relax, but I'm all set, fire off a few more "test" shots and usually nail it. Of course, then I have to do the "real" shoot, but I know I've already bagged the money shot, so that's just extra."
lol, I do the same thing, it works, one has to be a con artist ........... sometimes I work with an assistant and tell her to distract the model if they are stiff :)
But it's about $100. Like I said I wanted it for interval shots, so it was a good solution for me. I'm determined to get out and get star trails. But I ended up loving it for self portraits. I shoot like 10 shots at a time, then look at them for selfies. Saves so much time if I'm going for a certain look on a selfie.
"about those triggers, i wonder if they have an inexpensive ones that trigger off of noise or can trigger a flash. i know of a time machine device, but i think it's meant for flashes. i've always wanted to do those freeze frames of things popping or breaking. i was thinking there would be a way to use my phone for that. though thinking about it i wonder if the screen being on would ruin the shot."
Not sure if I understand that right, but if you are looking for a freeze frame by triggering the flash, you need to set the camera to "bulb" after everything is dialed in and then trigger the flash.
It has to be very dark and the flash needs to point with a snoot (like a hairlight), easy to make yourself with black paper. Key is to flash in the right moment and will take many attempts. When setting up, make sure you have it on spot metering. Again, there are other solutions. You can do it with fast shutter and high sync flash.
If you do water drops or something like that you need a very fast strobe to freeze motion.
this thing, but it's like $300-400 and while is really cool, it's high priced for the uses. they have a number of ways to get the shot as well. but the whole thing looks a bit home made, probably is. but it's that kind of thing i want to have.
the other cool one is this- if i remember right (i found these years ago), it will fire the camera at the first hint of lighting, and you can use it in the daytime. it sees the lightning and fires it really fast. but it's also like 300 bucks or so. and it would be worth it if i lived in an area that had many storms, and a large horizon. like canyon land, or farmville. this way all you do is set the camera up set this thing to the sky and watch it.
Super, they have it for Android, https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=in.co.pixeltech.lightningtrigger&hl=en ,there must be a software solution somewhere, since the camera communicates through the EOS utility and Lightroom, there must be a way to also send a flash trigger command, not only the shutter, and separate them. The only hardware needed would be the sensors. Then again, the camera has a light sensor as well for metering.
look up triggertrap a free phone app tho it cost $30 for the attachment to your camera.but it has a lot of options you can set it to take a pic every second or 10 secs or whatever time you want so you could set it up and forget about it for awhile also has a clap response if you want to try motion shots has motion time lapse and even a magnetic trigger response and some more worth looking into https://triggertrap.com/
Mike - It's pretty simple actually. If your camera is less than about 15 years old it should have a timer. Mine is 2 or 12 second, plenty time to get in the shot at 12 seconds. Wireless remote is great, mine was about $12 I think, and has the capability to zoom if I use an auto focus lens too, normally not needed...range is around 25 feet I think, I haven't tried it more than 15 feet but it's excellent for setting up with a tripod and getting good close up shots of Hummingbirds that don't want to let me get that close...but they don't mind just the camera too much. Also good for self portraits, band photos and such.
If your camera is less than about 5 years old or so it should have an interval setting, read your manual. Mine will do just about any interval I want from 1 per second to one per day...for as long as the battery holds out...
Usually I just keep it simple and use the 12 second timer and a tripod. It works great, with or without flash. If using flash, it may not be easy but make yourself look at an imaginary spot just to the left of the camera. No red eye. I had to turn a bit more than if you don't wear glasses, they cause huge reflections.
When I set up this shot last week I used the guitar to get decent focus, then tried a test shot, I got lucky and first try was perfect, exposure and all, so all I had to do was trip the shutter, grab the guitar and get in place. In the full size version you can count the eyebrows...(not the one on Flickr, the original unedited one)
I also did a search for wireless units on Amazon, this should get you there,
not hard to narrow it down to camera brand. No need for an expensive one, but get a couple of extra batteries, mine only lasted a couple of months, the replacement is now over a year old and going strong. I don't think they use decent batteries, or they're already pretty old...mine takes a standard 2016 watch type battery, 2 for a buck at Harbor Freight. Or was it 2 bucks...
Keep It Simple Stupid...
Always remember that one, I'm always looking for ways to simplify just about everything I do. That's why for self portraits, the wireless rarely comes out, I just set it to 12 second timer, I have plenty time to get in the shot. If I don't like it, do it again. No need for wireless, I do use a hot shoe flash, I never liked the built in jobs, manual focus lens but focus confirmation works great, I always use center spot, no reason to give it dozens of potential focusing spots when I know where I'll be, I already know what to expect from my rig so one test shot is usually plenty. Set it on a tripod, get the focus, set the timer..I use a prop like my guitar to focus on, then put me in that spot.
I'm so vain I've been taking selfies for the past 30 years....studio images, reflections, mirrors, camera held at arms length, etc....Most every self image interests me (talk about vanity). The avatar image of me and my Canon was taken by shooting into our car mirror.
it's a 5d mk3, i don't think it has interval, or at least i never found it. it has a number of silent click modes and sets of images modes, but that's it as far as i know. usually the things i need a photo for are very specific, none of my portraits will be straight out me, it will all have some kind of subtle embellishment.
Triggertrap can be triggered in a wide variety of ways, and since it has an aux input, many devices, like motion sensors, can be adapted for use. It does lightning photos.
The phone version is good for intervals and several other modes, but not so much for high speed flash photography.