Ok, this is a bit of a rant, but some things can really annoy me, not because so much that they’re “bad”, but because they can ruin something that has the potential to be so good. Well, sort of. Here’s the thing, and you’ll excuse a bit of generalization here, but people have no clue how to take a picture of themselves in the mirror.
Now I’m not talking soft core porn or “sexy self shots” that you’d expect to find on the slightly creepier side of the net, taken by girls for their boyfriends, trying to look sexy with various body parts revealed (well, or so I’ve heard), or the really bad horrible examples we can all laugh at. No, I’m talking about your Facebook profile pictures, your twitter pictures, showing off a new haircut, makeup, your shaved eyebrows, I’m talking about portfolio pictures. Seriously. I see all sorts of these on places like Model Mayhem in their portfolios. You don’t even have to be following @worstofmayhem to see them, just browse your friends list.
I’m not going to go into why having this sort of picture in your
portfolio is a bad idea, even if you’re just starting out there are way better ways to get a picture or two to show yourself off, I’m just going to show you how to take a “better” self-shot using a mirror.
I don’t want to call anyone out here, so I’m going to use myself as the example. Please don’t be scared.
Method #1: The Bad Self-Shot
First, lets see the stereotypical “self-shot”.
Wow, that’s pretty awful. Lets list the obvious things that are wrong here.
- Bad model
- Duck lips, bad pose, no “smizing“
- High potential of something embarrassing in the background
- Eyes looking at the camera instead of the viewer
- Camera not only in the picture but huge
Last point is the one that bugs me the most. Lets see the shot being taken.
The problem is that because our, erhm, “model”, is using the camera phone’s rear display to look at themselves to make sure they are centred in the image their eyes are a) drawn to it and b) because they’re using the mirror to bounce the light off, you end up with the camera in the way.
Method #2: The Good Self-Shot
Now lets see something a bit better (again, excuse the model).
Far better here. Still a bored look, bad lighting, too-wide eyes, no duck lips at least, and no phone in the picture. How is this magic done!? Ever try to take a picture of yourself without being able to see where it’s aimed? It’s nearly impossible! This is why most people go with method #1, because they need to see what the camera sees. So what did I do? Did I take 30 pictures and pick the one that I actually got centred and focussed properly?
Nope, I used a little trick that I saw online. Same bathroom, same mirror, but the camera is reversed, letting me have it pointed directly at me (not bounced off a mirror), but using the mirror check focus and composure on the back of it. Here’s the shot in action:
Or maybe illustrated to show what’s going on.
See? The camera is directed right at you, and because it’s got the LCD in the back, standing in front of the mirror lets you take a self-shot using the mirror, but not with the mirror in it. Obviously this works with any digital camera, smartphone, or in fact, anything with an LCD on the back when you can’t get a friend to take a picture of you.
Now go forth and take this message of good to your friends, your relatives, your sons, daughters, little sisters, and everyone else who has got a self-shot in their portfolio, Facebook wall, or twitter feed!
Got any other tips or suggestions? Leave them in the comments below!