When You are Your Own Photographer

It's almost a guarantee that if you see a picture of my husband and I together. It's a picture I took. As is 99% of the pictures of myself. Taking pictures of yourself creates some challenges. So let's address some of these

Camera placement

I have done some pretty interesting and dangerous things with my camera over the years. These five examples are just from the past six months. Shooting inside is easier because there's no people around, so you can just gimmick a solution and not feel weird about it. Outside is a whole other matter. If you are brave, dragging a tripod around would solve a lot, but I am not that brave. It's hard enough for me to get outside and shoot and dragging around extra equipment is just a bit too embarrassing. So my solution is to prop or tie my camera around whatever is handy. Outside that tends to be using gloves, scarves, tree branches, rocks, benches, the car roof. In fact I have started to keep a supply of things inside the car to make this easier, a scarf to protect the camera from the ground and an umbrella to protect it from the rain.

Other people

There are two types of challenges when I think about other people. Starting with shooting on your own. When you are outside there's never a guarantee that you'll actually be by yourself. Someone could walk by at anytime resulting in accidental photo bombings or the embarrassment of being caught taking photos. Recently I had a group of runners run by while I was taking photos for this post. It was uncomfortable and I've come to the realization that it's always going to be awkward. Desire to capture though usually outweighs the embarrassment.

However when you add other people into the mix, it feels like all the awkwardness you've started to overcome changes. You have to be aware of their fears too. Getting someone else to be relaxed in a photo is not easy to begin with. I haven't found the perfect solution beyond just doing to over and over again. There are few things that I have learned with time to help ease the process and it's all about my settings.

Camera settings

My old camera, the Nikon D5100 was a beast. So I didn't really take it out much on my own. Switching to my Sony a6500 has been a huge help. It's small enough to pack easily or hid in a pocket. It also has a better capacity the my Nikon. The camera usually stays on Aperture mode and holds three features that make self portraits so much easier. The first is interval shooting. This is my favorite especially when I have someone else with me. I put the model in place set the camera up where ever I want them to stand, focus it and then turn on interval shooting. I have it set to take one picture every second for three minutes. Then I run over to the person with me and we pose. It usually takes a few seconds for us to pose and get comfortable and generally we take stand there for the full three minutes. The second feature I love is the ability to shoot using my phone. The camera connects to my phone so I can set it up, move to my location and begin. The phone app allows me to change focus location, zoom in and out, and take the picture myself. So handy. The third feature though is probably my favorite and that is ninja mode. I can turn off the sound of the shutter. Which means that depending on how I have everything set up, anyone walking by might not even realize what I am doing. Having no noise is awesome. It also can make anyone with you more comfortable because it no longer seems so obvious. 

All these settings for me, means I can set up shoots that I picture in my head. Sometimes they work out.

Milwaukee Art Museum 2018

How do you take your pictures?