Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Self-Portrait Journey

As a photographer I prefer to be behind the lens instead of in front of it.

This Spring I took a course on self-portrait photography called Now You. The whole idea behind the course was to get you to feel more comfortable in front of the lens. We started small by taking photos of parts of ourselves. Feet were an easy one to begin with, every girl loves shoes, and even though it was part of me it was still a mostly concealed part of me.





From there we moved up to including a bit more of ourselves...




Finally to the whole body yet still somewhat concealed...



This week we have a "This is ME" challenge on a Flickr group that I am in, so I packed up my gear and gathered my confidence from this past course, and went to my favorite self-portrait place, Kirk Park. I am always fortunate when I go there that there aren't very many people (obviously I don't go in the summer). Self Portraiture is nerve wracking enough, I don't need spectators.



I am sure I was quite the sight lugging my wooden folding chair, tripod, camera and reusable grocery bag filled with my photo props along the path towards the beach. Thankfully the only person that was there when I arrived was a Parks Maintenance guy mowing the grass.

Even on a good day photography can be challenging, getting the White Balance, ISO, exposure and focus just right, trying to nail all that stuff from in front of the lens along with worrying about body position, smile and focus can set a person right over the edge.

My first attempts were frustrating...


I had to get rid of the bright blue coat, way too harsh for the surroundings. I didn't like the pose position. What was I thinking wearing a horizontally striped shirt? I want my stomach to disappear. 

I took a little break from "me" for a little sanity, and photographed the chair...


That was the break I needed to gather my wits about me and move forward. I moved my chair to a new spot, came up with a strategy to cover my "flaws" and began again. I was much happier with how these turned out. The focus is still not perfect, but it was really windy out there, so I think that jiggled the tripod a bit.



Self-portrait photography is an ongoing learning and growing experience. It challenges me in a way that I am not used to being challenged, which is a good thing.

I am using this adventure as my Walk and Click Wednesday link up as well.  Next week I am picking an easier subject :)








24 comments:

  1. Sarah - these are great! I like seeing the progression of the portraits. You did a great job with the last photos with the water in the back! So brave - I can't imagine taking my own photo!

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  2. Way to be so brave! Your photos are terrific. I love all the soft colors of blue and tan and you look lovely.

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  3. Yes u are very brave. They turned out very well. It's wonderful to be mindful of the color coordination

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  4. wow - these are lovely! I like how you persevered to get just the right shots you wanted.

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  5. Oh, thank you so much. You have made this "assignment" possible - it had been terrifying! Your photos are wonderful. OK, now I can try it.

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  6. Great post, very brave of you. I love the second to the last one. You're a very beautiful lady.

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  7. You have inspired me to give it a try. Love the top one of your final images, they are both great but in the top one your arms seam softer and more relaxed and of coarse the smile helps that as well.

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  8. Sarah, these are absolutely fabulous!! What a super backdrop ... the ocean. I must say, as you proceeded through your journey, you captured the perfect selfie. I particularly love the second to the last one! I also love the lone chair in the tall grass with infinite possiblilities on the ocean horizon. This is a wonderful submission for Walk and Click Wednesdays. Thanks for joining! ;->

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  9. Beautiful Sarah and so brave. Guess this is something I must soon face head on.Is that Lake Michigan? Really nice post.

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  10. Oh Sarah, just beautiful. I have yet to venture out of the comforts of my home really and do this, unless it is sneaking a shot with my phone. You have encouraged me to head to the river soon to do this very thing. Your photos, your words... sigh, just what I needed today. xxoo

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  11. Fabulous post, Sarah. The story lead up is as beguiling as the final results, which are just beautiful. I learned a lot and somehow feel a little better about trying this myself. You have led the way. Kudos to brave you.

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  12. I loved your post! You did a beautiful job, you and your photos are lovely!

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  13. Sarah, you are so brave...and your photos came out beautifully! I love the last ones...I can tell you felt more comfortable at this point and it shows in the photos. Thanks for sharing your experience and your vulnerability. I could not do this yet...

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  14. I love the neck shot (it's nice that you don't have wrinkles), the over the shoulder writing shot and the second from the last shot. You go girl! I was thrilled that no one was around when I was trying to do mine. It's so intimidating.

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  15. hi Sarah...good for you. Your selfies are great! Your post is just wonderful...i could not do this yet!

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  16. SUPER!!!! You're inspiring me...what a wonderful composite!

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  17. Oh I cant tell you how much I love this. So well done. You look beautiful.

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  18. I LOVE this post, Sarah. I especially think those last couple of photos are awesome. Since the class, I've been trying to hand the camera or phone to my hubby so he can take a picture of me with my daughter... just trying to be part of the scrapbook every once in a while. And my fear of self-portraits definitely went down a notch. I still don't like it, but, like you, I'm doing it sometimes!

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  19. What pretty feet you have got and love the nail polish you have cracked the self portrait it's lovely and you look lovely too....

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  20. You did such a good job with your selfies. You are beautiful!! After I posted the "This Is Me" subject for the first week, I was like "what the heck was I thinking?" I HATE having my picture taken!! Much less trying to do it myself! I think in part because what the camera shows isn't the "me" I think I am - when did I grow up and become a middle-aged woman? When??!! In my mind, I still think I should be seeing a young women in her early 20's I'm thinking I just might steal your feet idea for this week :)

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  21. Thank you for sharing your journey. It rings true with me. Your final poses are wonderful and you are lovely.

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  22. Sarah, these are amazing. It does take some courage to photograph ourselves. Kind of weird. So glad you shared these.

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  23. Hi Sarah!!!! Love your story of self-photography. Love it. I'll remember your bravery when I attempt my own self-photography. I'm going to say - before February. Thanks for stopping back in after my hiatus. Glad we haven't lost touch. :). thanks for the welcome back! Renee

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  24. what difference it can make we just be ourselves in front of the lens, not just behind right

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Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)