Self Portrait III

Born of something I’d been wanting to do in my studio for a long time.  It takes so much energy to set the lights up, get into acceptable hair/mu/wardrobe, and then finally pose myself.  Working alone is so quiet – no one is there to cheer you on or hold you accountable.  I’m gaining serious respect for photographers who spend their days shooting ‘things’ in an empty studio.  On top of this, framing and focusing prove to be formidable tasks that I don’t even have to think about when I’m shooting another person.

For me work in the studio is still more about the journey than the destination.  Meaning…I always start with something very specific in mind, but very rarely ever get there.  I either stumble on something I like better in the process, or simply fail for lack of knowledge or equipment.   It continues to be disappointing when I accidentally find something better than my original idea.  Makes me feel like my instincts are bad.  Since I’m kind of a control freak about my photography, I still prefer shooting outdoors where (oddly) I feel like I have more control or ability to capture exactly what I have in mind.  Most photographers I speak to about this feel they have much more control in the studio…so, I’m just weird.

Anyway.  These shots came from an idea about shooting in a spotlight.  I set up a head with a loose grid on the floor in my loft (about 5 feet up and 7 or 8 feet out).  Set the camera at eye level around 70mm at 9.5.  Because I was cropping so tightly framing was a huge challenge for me.  An inch too far in any direction proved critical.  When I posted these on Facebook, Duke suggested I simply leave myself more room and do my cropping in post.  This sounds very obvious now and something I’ll definitely incorporate next time, but I’m so used to cropping while I’m shooting it didn’t even occur to me.  Neither did Craig’s suggestion of using a mirror…I found it very difficult to work blind in this light, setting up a mirror behind my camera would not have interfered with my lighting in this case and would have been endlessly useful.  I may try this next time, or at least set up a tether so I don’t have to leave my mark to inspect each frame.

Lastly, though I really like these frames, I didn’t get what I went in for.  Ric suggested I try a Fresnel light next time, which I will do.  Now I just need an iconically beautiful model and a kick ass MUA….cuz I’m getting tired of my face!

7 Responses

  1. These are really cool. You are so talented. I have a model who has the face and the eyes for you (and no it’s not me).

  2. Ah, the enchanting tediousness of self-portraits. I’ve taken to making a little tape box on the floor to mark where I’ll be standing, focusing on the tripod from that spot, and then shooting. As much as I try to shoot things right in-camera, self-portraits definitely call for cropping afterward. I really admire how solid yours are- definitely well executed on all fronts.

    • Thanks…that means a lot coming from someone in a similar position.

  3. Yes, Jessica… but are you naked!?!?!?

  4. P.S. Great photos, and I appreciate the perspective, as in your point of view being in the ‘other’ side

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