If you are a parent or grandparent with a DSLR, it’s likely that you got that camera at least partially so that you can take photos of your kids or grandkids. And chances are are, you probably have a lot of photos of those kids and probably your spouse or significant other, too. But what about you? Where are the photos of you? There probably aren’t that many, because you’re the one taking the photos.
Trust me, I get this, since I’m behind the camera all the time.
But your kids want to know you exist. They want to see photos of you. Photos of them with you in those photos, too. Photos of just you.
So how do you accomplish this when you’re the person behind the camera? How do you get into photos? Self portraits are how. Sounds a little scary. Sounds a little complicated. I know. But selfies taken with a DSLR are actually a great way to get in the photo AND to advance your photography skills as well. I used to do them ALL the time (and I hate being in front of the camera…but they have given me some great photos with my fur babies and some great skills, too). I’ve resolved to do more of them again. If I can do these, so can you.
So, what’s needed for a self portrait? There are a few things you’ll need, and a few things you’ll need to do differently than taking photos yourself. Look below for the things you’ll need, and some tips on making your self portraits successful.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
A tripod, or something else to keep the camera stable (table, books, a bean bag placed on a rock or log)
Something to trigger the camera (remote, smartphone if your camera supports this). Note: if you do not have either of these, you can use the camera’s timer function and jump into the photo after pressing the shutter, although using a remote is easier and less stressful.
STEPS IN A NUTSHELL:
Put your camera on the tripod, adjust as needed to get the framing you want.
Adjust settings as needed to expose photo correctly
Use remote to focus OR preset focus (see next section for more tips on focus)
Press the remote button, or press the camera’s shutter button and run to get into that shot if you’re using a timer!
SOME NOTES ON FOCUSING
Focus can be the hardest part of self portraits, especially if you’re the only one in the shot. Using a smartphone as a remote makes life easy (if your camera has this feature) because it allows you to see the scene ahead of time and set focus in real time, then shoot. Many remotes, even basic ones, allow for autofocus. Choose a single focus point in your photo that is where you want to focus, and the remote will have the camera autofocus before taking the shot. Again, this is more tricky if you’re the only one in the photo, and can take some trial and error and practice. If your remote does not autofocus, you can set focus ahead of time by pre-focusing where you want your focal point to be. I used to use the top of a tripod or light stand that was at the exact place my eyes or intended focus point would be, but you can use any object as a stand in. The most important thing to remember with this method is to make sure you’re standing in EXACTLY the right place after you preset your focus, especially if you’re using a wider aperture, so that you don’t end up with blur where you don’t want it. If there are other people in the photo besides you, that makes it a lot easier, because you can have them set up, focus on one of them, and then get in the shot yourself.
Are you ready to get in the photo? Be sure to share your photos when you do!