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Upgrade Your Game from #Selfie to Self-Portraiture

Tired of taking the same old #selfie day after day, week after week? Are you tired seeing other people’s same old selfies just as often? (Pro Tip: Send them this article.)

For centuries photographers have been using self portraiture as the key to unlock their full potential. Now it’s your turn to use the same techniques to take pictures of yourself that are far too awesome to be simply labeled “#selfie.”

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Unlike a #Selfie, Self-portraiture is all about personal discovery, self-expression, storytelling, and enhancing your photography skills. Ready to jump in? Let’s get started.

Who Am I?

The question: ‘Who am I?’  is one that plagues us all.

Ever since the mid 1400s artists began choosing themselves as their subject, so it’s no surprise that with the invention of the camera, photographers decided to turn the image inward as well. Yes a photograph depicts our physical image, but it can also reflect our inner selves too.

Self portraiture is a journey of exploration, of self awareness and representation. After all, the beauty of the self portrait is that we can choose to see ourselves however we want.

You’re allowed to sweat the details.

If you are not quite sure where to start, focusing on small details can help to hone your vision. Try to concentrate on the smaller details that make you unique, these could be anything from cropped faces and bare feet, to skirt hems or rolled down socks. Think about the little details that define you like the way you smile or way you wrinkle your nose.

Look at it from a photographer’s perspective. Is the light working? What about the angle? Is the background distracting? Once everything is in place step in front of the camera and snap away.

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Photo by Louish Pixel

Play!

“A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.”
– Roald Dahl

Don’t be afraid to play around with your self portraits. Be creative, be silly and most of all have fun with it. Whether you set the camera up on a tripod and grab ridiculous props to include, or go running and jumping through a field, the world is your oyster. Playing with the image doesn’t have to stop there either, you can also continue the creativity right through to post!

Photo by Mrs Logic
Photo by Mrs Logic

Try Starting with the Man in the Mirror!

Documenting the self through reflections gives you the most control as you can see exactly what you are doing and alter your position and expression accordingly. Don’t just focus on how great you look though; seek out reflections that will help to create something surreal or abstract. Find unusual surfaces in which to photograph yourself such as windows, puddles, cutlery, or even pots and pans. There are reflective surfaces all around you so keep your eyes peeled!

Photo by Whiskeygonebad
Photo by Whiskeygonebad

Everybody Loves a Good Story

Self portraiture is all about story telling. When the viewer looks at your image you want them to be able to read the story you are trying to portray. Use your environment to help aid the process, as well as the composition. Your surroundings can tell a lot about how you fit into the world, where you are in your life, both physically and emotionally, and the atmosphere that you are trying to evoke.

Photograph yourself from different perspectives. Lie down and set the camera on the ground in front of you for a more intimate image, or walk away from your camera to create a feeling of disconnection, the possibilities are endless!

Photo by Green Putty In My Armpit
Photo by Green Putty In My Armpit

Authenticity is Huge.

I’ve gotta be me!
– Sammy Davis Jr.

Authenticity is everything when it comes to self portraits. Being aware of your emotions and using them as a cue to start shooting will produce much more realistic, relatable, and believable results. Photography is the perfect way of documenting your thoughts and feelings, and acts as the ideal outlet of expressing them to the world. If you want to laugh then laugh; if you don’t then don’t. Forcing emotions will only create a barrier between you and the camera – until you let your guard down authenticity is not achievable.

Photo by Chmipr
Photo by Chmipr

Once you have captured the true essence of yourself, you do realize that the best way to print your photo and display it is on glass, right? We make it simple to do and we’ll give you a truly one of a kind way to show off your work.

Challenge your friends to upgrade their #Selfie game by sharing this!

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The Author

Drew Allen

Drew Allen

Besides being the managing editor of this blog, I'm also a drummer, a husband, and a father, not necessarily in that order. I love good stories, and great design, and I probably quote the Office more than I should but less than I could.