african american girl looking at camera
Photo by Misha Voguel on

#49 of 50 subjects of Photography. HOW TO TAKE A SELF PORTRAIT: We have the last one on Thursday (Wednesday is Photos of the Week). And it has been a challenge to give you good content on 50 subjects. I invite you to look back at the past blogs to learn what you can of the 50 subjects:

All 50 of these subjects will be done by this Thursday. If you want to learn about any of these subjects, feel free to go back to past blogs, within this website.

I hope you don’t think that the best way to do a self portrait is with your cell phone doing a “selfie”. I don’t know why, but, I hate those. So… amateur. Let us learn the right way now to do a good self portrait.

Step 1 – find your self timer control on your camera…. do not take a selfie with your cell phone. Do it right.
  • The first thing you need to do is find your “self timer” on your camera. Do not just take a selfie. We want you to do a good creative photo of yourself. I don’t know of any camera that doesn’t have a “self timer”. Check your camera’s instruction manual if you can’t find it.
  • If we are going to do this right, let’s put it on a tripod. That will make the camera stay steady, and also you don’t need anybody else to help you….. haha.
Use a Tripod, a camera man’s best friend
  • Now use the proper lens for your camera. If you are using a DSLR camera or the smaller camera, use a lens that is about 50 mm or in that range. Do not use a wide angle lens to take your portrait. If you use a small telephoto lens, you will not have a distorted face. So important you get the right lens.
Sigma actually makes a “portrait lens”. It is designed to give you the perfect portrait.
  • Trying to figure out which aperture to use? I remember when I took portraits as a profession many years, the best aperture was either F5.6 or F8. Ideally at this setting you will have the whole head in focus with the depth of field. Like I used to say: “Don’t you want their ears in focus too?”
  • Finally, look through your camera, pre focus, and set your aperture at least, or go manual so you get the right aperture, and who cares what the right shutter speed is, tell yourself to hold still.
This is what it would look like to do a “good self portait”

That’s really it. If you want to try different poses to be creative, then go for it.

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