Updated: Mar 7, 2022
I fell in love with self-portraiture when I realized it was the best way to get over my fear of the camera. It entered my life at the perfect time. I was yearning to learn something new, feel inspired and create my own brand images. Self-portrait photography has not only taught me about myself, it also taught me how to find photo-worthy moments almost anywhere.
If you don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place. If you are thinking it will become repetitive, and you'll lose motivation if your subject is the same....YOU, think again. Here are my top 5 creative self-portrait ideas to keep things fresh and fun. And no more waiting to book your next brand shoot to create content.
Starting with the right equipment will make self-portrait photography easier. A tripod and a remote are the essential tools. They’re both very affordable and enduring. Investing in them is something you definitely won’t regret. In a pinch try one the these creative solutions.
In the beginning, you might feel lost. You won't know what poses, facial expression and props to use. It help to find portrait photographers you admire and study their work or take a course to learn everything you need to know from set up to editing the final images.
NUMBER ONE: THE FACELESS PORTRAIT
Self-portraits don’t have to be photos of a face. They can be photos of hands holding something beloved, feet splashing in a puddle, or a figure admiring its surroundings in nature. Details like this are as valuable as a photo of your face.
Look around, find a detail that catches your eye, and interact with it while taking photos. Other details you could take photos of are parts of your body like hair, hands, or eyes.
When it comes to self-portraits, many photographers focus exclusively on their faces. I’m definitely guilty of this! This isn’t surprising though, given the powerful nature of expressions, eyes, and angles. Faceless portraits are known for their emotional depth, stunning compositions, and outstanding details. The faceless portrait photography genre has taught me how to tell stories without using expressions and how to appreciate other parts of myself.
NUMBER TWO: KEEP IT LIGHT. DON'T MAKE IT TOO PRECIOUS
It's normal to feel awkward at the beginning of a self-portrait session. One way to get more comfortable is to put on your favorite song and let loose with the facial expressions.
It’s easy to fall into a pit of intense concentration, wrangling the tech, watching the light, moving the tripod...playing with expression will remind you this is supposed to be fun. Refresh your creativity by taking silly self-portrait photographs, pull faces, move around, and make yourself laugh.
NUMBER THREE: SHOOT THROUGH OBJECTS
Covering your lens partly (or entirely) will result in experimental and creative self-portraits. If you want to cover your lens partly, shoot through things like lights, hands, glasses, and branches. You can use branches to create a frame around your face or add an interesting element to your photos. Steam can create eye-catching shadows.
If you want to have a fuller effect, shoot through windows for brilliant reflections, or cellophane (for a dreamy effect).
NUMBER FOUR: SHOOT IN A LIMITED SPACE
Having too many options at once can send us into decision paralysis. This is good news if you have put off doing a shoot because your entire room isn't tidy!
Try shooting in one room and making the pictures look as if you took them in different locations. It will not only give you a fun project to work on but force you to look at your surroundings from a new perspective. This challenge will also make you focus on details that you usually overlook.
NUMBER FIVE: BRING A FRIEND
Pets are photogenic, so why not include them in your photos? If you own a pet bring them into the fun. Having their loving support during a self-portrait photography session will give you comfort, warmth, and lots of ideas. If your pet doesn’t enjoy sitting still, don’t force it. Experiment, be silly and don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Experimental photos end up being the best ones, anyway.
Looking for more? I have just the thing!