This weekend I'm in Austin teaching a workshop at Texas Style Council about how to take your own self portraits with a tripod and self-timer! For those of you who weren't able to make it out to Austin, I thought I'd repost (and update) this article I wrote over a year ago with some tips on how to take better self-portraits with just a tripod and self-timer. I take almost all of my own photos here on the blog, and anytime someone else takes my photos it's always noted right after the outfit details. You don't need a professional photographer to take great photos of yourself, and I want to empower you to stop making excuses as to why you aren't creating the best photos you possibly can! Remove the excuses and get out there and start learning to become your own professional photographer!
Some bloggers are lucky enough to have a friend, significant other, or husband/wife who takes their daily outfit photos, but the rest of us are stuck doing it ourselves with the help of a tripod, self-timer, and maybe a remote. I personally have never used a remote. Since the beginning, I've always just used the self-timer, so I can't give any advice on using a remote. I've never liked the idea of having to hide the remote and it's already hard enough to "act natural" in front of a tripod, so I felt like adding in the hiding-the-remote factor would just complicate things further. I've been taking outfit photos with a tripod & self-timer for over 5 years now, so I'll let you guys in on some tips and tricks I've learned over the years.
USE THE AUTO AND MANUAL FOCUS TO SET YOUR FOCUS POINT
For the photo above, I focused on the grass right in front of the back wheel of my bike. Then, I set focus to manual so it wouldn't change, made sure my camera was on the 10 second self-timer setting and clicked the shutter. Then I went and sat right where the focus was set: in front of my back wheel. Voila, in focus! I really like taking photos with my bike because it's something I can place in the frame to set the focus. Then, I can either remove the bike and take photos without it, or I can just leave it in the photo, depending on how I want the photos to look.
For the photo below, I focused on the trunk of the tree, just out of frame to the right. For the photo next to the turquoise wall, I focused directly on the wall, and then moved my camera and tripod back about two feet, so then the focus would be set two feet in front of the wall, which is where I wanted to stand. The top photo in this post had the focus set on the little blade of straw/grass to the right of me.
FIND RELATIVELY UNPOPULATED LOCATIONS
I find that an alley is a good place to take photos. People don't walk down alleyways as much as they do sidewalks. Finding a park with some wooded areas are great, not only because they are more private, but because you have lots of things to set your focus on! Other places I've found are relatively vacant: Parking garages, sidewalks in quiet neighborhoods, behind buildings, and if you really want super privacy: your backyard or your living room. I find those can be difficult to make look good depending on the lighting you get inside your house, and how picturesque your backyard is.
EMBRACE ROUGH TERRAIN
HAVE AN EXPLANATION FOR WHAT YOU'RE DOING
TAKE LOTS OF PHOTOS
HAVE YOUR GO-TO POSES
GET DETAIL SHOTS + VARIETY
DON'T ALWAYS LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE CAMERA
USE DIFFERENT ANGLES + POINTS OF VIEW
Want some more tips for photography?
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