Today in the second of my #HomeLifeProject tutorials I want to talk about how to get yourself (and by that I mean you, the photographer) into the picture. It turns out the timing of this post is rather apt because this weekend Jim is away and so I’m going to have to make more of an effort to capture myself in the images during the day.
Before I start though I want to point you in the direction of a wonderful discovery I made this week. I have just signed up to Kirsten Lewis’s Family Photojournalism course via CreativeLive.com. It’s a series of video talks giving guidance and inspiration on how to document your family life through pictures and I am absolutely loving it.
I confess that I sort of stumbled upon the Home Life Project as something I wanted to do, without knowing it was an actual “thing” but now I know the genre exists, I’m even more inspired and excited by the images I have discovered and the possibilities of it. Creativelive also has a load of other courses in photography, video and the arts and if this course is anything to go by I shall be doing a few.
But anyway, back to getting yourself in the frame. Here are a few ideas…
Selfies don’t always have to look like selfies
There is a certain pouting look which we associate with selfies these days and it’s a bit predictable and boring, but selfies really don’t have to look that way. Kevin Meredith who wrote one of my favourite photography books Hot Shots, was doing selfies before the word was even invented and most of the resulting photos just look like close up portraits of him taken by someone else.
The subtle difference? Most of the time he angles the camera in such a way that his arm is out of shot. It’s a small thing but it changes the whole feel of the picture.
You can also take selfies where you aren’t looking directly at the camera which make them appear less like self-portraits (you see this often with overhead shots of mums in bed with their kids) or you can take them in a mirror. Taking selfies in a mirror doesn’t always have to be as obvious as it sounds, try to use mirrored surfaces like sunglasses, kettles or wing mirrors to give creative shots that tell you a little about the environment around you too.
Use the camera timer
Timers are useful, but you have to work hard to get good results. Set the camera up on a tripod, the floor or any sort of shelf or ledge that’s the right height, choose an appropriate aperture and make sure you focus on something close to where you will be in the shot. It is sometimes a case of trial an error, but at least these days you can see the results instantly on the screen and have a go if they don’t work.
Use the interval timer
The interval timer is still a timer, but it takes more than one photo! So you do everything I’ve described above, but you just let the camera keep taking pictures. You can set it up to do it every 10 seconds, 30 seconds, minute whatever suits you.
Direct someone else to take the shot
When I’m recording our day for the Home Life Project, if I am doing something in a specific spot in the house I usually take the opportunity to get Jim to photograph me there. I move from the spot, position myself so I can see what I want to capture through the viewfinder, then I set the camera up with a single focus point positioned over where I will be in the image and then I ask Jim to stand (or kneel or crouch, whatever I was doing) exactly where I was, then I run back into shot and ask him to position the focus point on my head and press the shutter button. Because I’m using a single focus point and asking him to stand in the same spot, he knows exactly how I want the photo framed and captures the image exactly as I saw it.
You can also try specific instructions about what you want in the frame, saying for instance “get a bit of space above my head and don’t include much beneath my knees” if in doubt tell them to include more rather than less, you can always crop.
Ashley Ann is one of the best bloggers I know at getting herself in photos with her kids, you can see some inspiring examples and read a bit about it in this blog post.
Read this great post about why mums should get into the picture more often, it’ll make you think about your photographic legacy.
The link to CreativeLive.com is an affiliate link which means I will earn a small commission fee if you sign up to it. I have however recommended it because I genuinely love the content and I think you will too.
Questions? Read all about it here.
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