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Take Your Creativity to New Heights with Self-Portrait Photography

Self-portrait photography, since the beginnings of the industry, has always been popular among photographers. I mean what is there not to love? Finally you get to work with a model that does exactly what you ask of them!

Photo by J Dravir

Photo by J Dravir

Aside from the ego obvious elements, It’s also great for learning how to get to grips with a new camera, practicing newly taught skills and various other photography fundamentals. But it is the practices unique advantage of pushing ones creative envelope, and stimulating that creative pool of original ideas, that we all have waiting for us inside of our creative minds, that appeals the most!

red paint + toy gun + hair gel = cool shot

red paint + toy gun + hair gel = cool shot

Self-portraits are too often over looked by photographers. Which is a huge shame as they’re excellent ways to practice and due to the fact that you’re on your own; they’re exceptional at fueling your creativity as you have complete freedom to do whatever you want without judgement or the annoying restrictions of a models ego!

When you're on your own you can do whatever you like... for instance hear I put on my girlfriends clothes, some jazzy underpants, a gas mask from my days in the army, a pink wig, and a red headlight stuck inside a washing machine.... art anyone?

When you’re on your own you can do whatever you like… for instance hear I put on my girlfriends clothes, some jazzy underpants, a gas mask from my days in the army, a pink wig, and a red headlight stuck inside a washing machine…. art anyone?

How to set up

Setting up is easy. Source all of your props, position your camera, setting it to all the right options, and either using a portal trigger or timer, position yourself within the frame.

Top tip: Making sure that the camera is focused on your eyes can be tricky, the best way to do this is to set up your position first with a few practice shots. Then on the cameras screen zoom into the eyes to make sure that focus was achieved, it is also worth setting up the focal points within the viewfinder where you best guess your eyes to be. This is something that with practice is easily overcome.

Getting Inspired

Thanks to the internet, we now have access to many of the world’s greatest photographers whenever we need inspiration. All we have to do is punch their names into Google and low and behold; an entire treasure trove of creative ideas! But of course, like any artist, you want to be original, and who can blame you!

Ego is irrelevant, try and make yourself look as terrifying as you possibly can, the camera will pick out the rest.

Ego is irrelevant, try and make yourself look as terrifying as you possibly can, the camera will pick out the rest.

Sourcing original ideas is tough. Best way, allow them to come to you. Opening your eyes and minds that little bit wider to the world around you will enable these ideas to flood out of your subconscious. There are many objects, situations and stories that offer a whole wealth of inspiration. You just have to look at everything differently and imagine the potential of everything.

sometimes it helps if you're a little bit crazy

Sometimes it helps if you’re a little bit crazy

You need to ask yourself questions

Being prepared to push the boundaries of your imagination is the key to accessing your own original content. But getting there you have to ask yourself:

  • What do I want to say in this image?
  • What do I love?
  • What do I hate?
  • What confuses me?
  • What am I good at?

When an idea comes, write it down, draw the scene, then wait for another one to come, write that down and so on. Then pick three and combine them, removing the worst elements and see what you’re left with….

Or just completely bonkers?

Or just completely bonkers?

The best way to creative original ideas is to push yourself and there really is no better way than to do it with a self-portrait, as with so much freedom, comes so much fun!

Below you’ll find a few more from my portfolio, some I’m proud of, others… well I’ll let you guys decide! Then further down you’ll find some from the true masters of photography!

a mirror offers a great way to add depth to your images.

a mirror offers a great way to add depth to your images.

A little bit of Photoshop trickery never goes a miss!

A little bit of Photoshop trickery never goes a miss!

amazing what a bit of sticky tape can do.

amazing what a bit of sticky tape can do.

Don't ask..

Don’t ask..

Merging two ideas is another excellent way to make sure your images are original

Merging two ideas is another excellent way to make sure your images are original

Even my pet turtle can be original!

Even my pet turtle can be original!

Now some from the masters!

Self portraits are extremely popular, even among the worlds most renowned photographers and artists. Take a look at some of their experiments below and see if there is anything there that stands out…

I dare you to do better!

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol

Lara Jade

Lara Jade

David LaChapelle

David LaChapelle

Bill Brandt

Bill Brandt

Rankin

Rankin

Guy Bourdin

Guy Bourdin

There are within my portfolio around 10 or 12 extra ones that I’ve left out from posting here, not because I don’t want to share them, or because I’m embarrassed, but because these images are mine, each of them is personal.

Each photograph you take is for you, and you alone

Guy Bourdin

We’d love as always for you to share your experiences with self portraiture; perhaps you’ve never done it, or have many images saved on your hard drive, either way, I’d love to see them, and to hear your thoughts.

Robert Bradley

Robert is a surrealist visual artist, photographer and journalist. Many of his photographs are exhibited throughout the world in private and corporate collections.
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