What we do for a living is to help people see their own potential. The most common self portrait mistakes we have seen in our time as a business are:
– Not understanding the basics of camera settings and composition.
– Not having a ‘model pose’.
– Using a tripod too much.
– Taking photos while the subject is looking away.
– Forgetting to smile.
– Not using natural light.
– Taking photos in the wrong location.
Most of us would agree that our photos tell stories of who we are. We want them to show off a bit of our personality and a part of ourselves. We hope they will inspire others to like us, respect us and maybe even want to be like us.
However, most of us will admit to having made at least one or two common mistakes with our photos. We may have used bad lighting, posed awkwardly or taken photos with people who are not at all the kind of person we want to portray.
Here are 7 of the most common mistakes people make when taking photos of themselves:
1. Not Getting Their Photo Ready
We are often our worst critic. We think we look terrible, or that we should be doing something else. The fact is, many of us don’t really know what we look like or how we want to present ourselves. So, the first thing we need to do is to have a clear image of who we are, what we look like and how we wish to present ourselves. This is important if we want our photo to reflect who we really are.
It’s also important to know the type of camera we are using, how it operates, and how we can get the best results. Here are some things to remember:
• Avoid using a flash in outdoor scenes unless the sun is directly behind you. Use only a small amount of light, no more than 2% of the available light.
• If you’re using a tripod, check that the base is firmly planted in a flat, level surface.
• Look at your subjects through a viewfinder (or on the screen) to ensure you are aware of any distortions.
There are times when posing may seem like a daunting task. But it’s not as difficult as you may think. Most of the time, posing is about being yourself and expressing your character.
Try to avoid posing with a group of people, as this might seem awkward or unnatural. However, if you are posing with someone you are close to, it’s perfectly acceptable to stand in close proximity, as long as the pose works for you and the other person.
A little experimentation is always useful. Have a go at different poses and see which ones work best. Don’t worry too much about your body language. As long as you are comfortable and confident in the way you pose, there’s no harm in it.
3. Using Bad Lighting
Too much light makes the subject too pale, but too little light can produce a very dark photograph. If you’re taking photos indoors, be aware of the direction of the light and make sure it doesn’t shine directly in your face. If you’re taking photos outdoors, make sure you’re aware of the position of the sun.
If you use a flash, it’s a good idea to use a diffuser on the front of it to soften the light, and to keep it from reflecting off surfaces.
4. Choosing the Right Background
The background you choose can make or break a photo. If you want to get the best possible result, then take your time to think about where you are going to place your subject.
When you’re choosing a location, it’s good to consider how well it will work for your portrait. Choose a location that has interesting features and plenty of space.
If you’re shooting from above, make sure you can see into the picture. If you’re shooting from the side, make sure the background isn’t distracting. Avoid backgrounds that are too busy or contain objects that look like they’ve been cut out.
5. Choosing the Right Focal Length
To get the best possible results, make sure you understand how your camera’s focal length affects the composition of your photograph. Your lens determines the focal length of your camera and it determines the distance from your camera to your subject.
If you’re taking a shot of someone, you’ll generally be working with either a short focal length or a long focal length. A short focal length gives you a wider angle of view and more of your subject will be included in the frame. A longer focal length gives you a narrower angle of view and less of your subject will be included in the frame.
You may need to take more than one shot to get the desired results. When you’re taking photos of yourself, be aware that you may want to include the whole body, or a specific part of your body, and the effect of a longer or shorter focal length will be different in each case.
6. Choosing the Right Angle
Choosing the right angle for your photo can be a tricky business. Most cameras allow you to rotate your photos, but some have only a limited range of rotation. Some cameras will allow you to tilt your camera up and down. It’s a good idea to experiment with different angles, until you find the one that you think will look best.
Some people tend to have a natural tendency to shoot from a low viewpoint, while others prefer to shoot from a higher viewpoint. It’s good to practice the art of positioning yourself to get the perfect angle. It’s important to consider whether you will get the best results with the camera pointed in the direction you are standing, or at an angle, to take the photo.
7. Selecting the Right Shutter Speed
Shutter speed refers to the length of time your shutter is open. It can be as short as a fraction of a second, or as long as several seconds. The shutter speed is determined by the amount of light your camera is receiving.
If you’re taking a photo of someone and want them to look as natural as possible, the ideal shutter speed is around 1/60 or 1/125th of a second. For a portrait of yourself, a longer shutter speed will create a more smooth, blurry background. However, this means you’ll end up with a longer exposure time.