Mastering Taking Photos of Yourself: Four Techniques and Tools for Self-Portraits
|A sunset self portrait at |
Point Lobos State Reserve.
As vain as it might seem on the surface, taking pictures of yourself is one way to memorialize pieces of your adventures. Read on for four techniques and tools you can use to get yourself in your photos when there's no one there to take them for you.
The Classic Long-Arm Shot
|A perfect long-arm shot, taken |
in Edinburgh, Scotland. (M. Pierwola)
"The trick comes from practice and accepting that sometimes you will barely get yourself and sometimes you will barely capture the subject, but willingness to experiment and make mistakes is critical to mastery. The best practice I have discovered is taking photos in groups of people. By browsing the photos immediately after you take them (digital cameras are a bonus), you learn where the borders of your image are. Imagine a fictional pyramid that extends from the lens outwards to help you aim correctly."
So, take Milo's advice, be careful to position the camera so your arm isn't the star of the photos, and you're good to go.
Using a PixPal (Selfie Stick)
|Tiffany demonstrating how to hold the PixPal |
on top of the Space Needle in Seattle, WA.
I received it as a gift from Tiffany before heading out to the Pacific Northwest to climb Mount Rainier. Tiffany knew I'd built a few days of solo travel into my trip and she wanted to be sure I could put myself in a few of the photos I took. We had great fun experimenting with it and the PixPal was the star of a number of the photos before we figured out exactly how to hold it. We also got a number of strange looks, but it comes with the territory. When you get it right, you've got a way to get yourself and more of the setting around you into the photo.
Positioning Your Camera on an Inanimate Object
|A self-portrait taken using my rental car as a flat surface.|
Of course, flat surfaces aren't always available, and you're limited to whatever backdrop you're able to get in the shot based on how the surface is positioned. You might have to sit, squat, jump, etc. if the surface is in a particularly high or low spot. Be sure to position the camera so it stays steady; you don't want it falling off the rock and into a creek, on to another rock, etc. As challenging as it can be to get the camera set, it is possible to take some rockin' photos this way.
Using a Tripod
|Big James Fitness setting up his tripod to film |
one of our WODs at Crossfit Love.
When you're choosing a tripod, think about what you'll be using it for. If you're taking it backpacking, for example, remember that many serious tripods are cumbersome and heavy. Make sure you're willing to carry it around with you. If you know you'll be on a trail with few flat surfaces to set the tripod up on, or want more flexibility, a Gorillapod might be what you need. Joby makes a regular version, an SLR version with a ball head, an regular SLR version and a magnetic version.
Are you a self-portrait master? Have you used these or other techniques? Leave a comment!