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How to take photographs of yourself, by yourself

Updated: Jul 11, 2022

It’s safe to say most people don’t like having their photo taken, particularly when it comes to including yourself in the images to boost your brand. Showing your face alongside your service or product can add validity to your brand like nothing else. Your business becomes easier to trust and your services are legitimised as your audience can see exactly who is creating what they are paying for.

This blog post originated from one of my first Instagram posts and I’m hoping it will help you navigate being the face of your brand and give you confidence to consistently take images of yourself to post on your socials.

1. Choose your favourite qualities

Knowing what you like about yourself is important to pinpoint before you start taking photographs. This should be a physical attribute like a favourite facial feature, hairstyle or clothing piece. Try to pick one from each category; hair, face, body, clothes. These will then be the focus points of your image to stop you getting side-tracked.

2. Knowing your angles and how to pose

When I first started taking photos I had no idea what people meant by saying ‘know your angles’ because even though I could identify a photo of myself that I liked, I didn’t know how to recreate the poses. It takes time and a lot of photos you will hate. I still don’t know my angles but I feel like I’m beginning to learn by abiding by a few rules.

Make sure that you are making triangles with your body, if it feels unnatural then it probably looks good on the camera. This could be as simple as resting your arm on your head, your hip or a wall. I would also advise not taking full body shots, as there is too much to think about whereas photographing sections of yourself is a lot easier as you can concentrate on perfecting one area.

I find taking photos sitting or crouching down was the best place to start as you naturally fall into relaxed poses. It also means you can take photos in smaller rooms as you don't have to try and shoot your whole body. The trick to getting the pose looking natural is to bend your knees and elbows into relaxed poses. If you’re stuck for some, use objects relevant to your business to hold and interact with.

3. Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is a photography guideline that suggests you split your image up into 9 squares, both horizontally and vertically. Within the grid there are 4 intersections that show you where to put your subject, or in this case yourself.

These points of interest are where you need to place yourself to draw the eye towards these areas. You don't have to use all four and you can also use the additional lines to balance your image.

4. Lighting

It’s the difference between a good photo and a bad one! Make sure you take your photos in diffused, natural light to ensure a dreamy, professional looking photo. This can be natural light from your window or studio lights.

5. What do I do with my face?

First work out what you prefer. Front on or side profile? Smiling, sultry or serious? Camera eye contact or candid?

Posed candids can sometimes be a lot less intimidating as you don’t have to directly look into the camera. You can pretend to be looking at something else that is relevant to your business. It will add context and narrative to your photo. Candids are also a great way for those of you who don’t like to be grinning away at the camera, you can just keep an expression of concentration.

6. Depth of field

Use a lens that has a narrow depth of field, on a mobile phone this is also known as portrait mode. I recommend a Canon 50mm camera lens or an iPhone 11 Pro. The outcome will look so much more professional as the subject will be sharp and your carefully styled photos will be captured as intended.

7. How do I take them on my own?

If you feel confident using a self timer then do but I would usually opt to take a video and screen capture the stills from it. This means I can turn my head and body into different angles without having to move from that position to press the button.

The main tools I use are a tripod and Bluetooth button that connects to your phone. The tripod allows me to go anywhere that has good lighting and the button is incredibly useful as I can hide it in the palm of my hand.

Taking the photos yourself also eradicates any embarrassment of asking your partner or friend and it’ll help you perfect your poses if you want to hire a professional photographer down the road.

Follow me on Instagram for more small business marketing tips @behindtheseenmarketing.

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