Gone are the days when a camera would see the light of the day only if it was someone's marriage ceremony, or a birthday party. Now, even a small get-together with your buddies after a long time calls for lots of pictures (and - not to forget - going home and uploading them ASAP!). But what do you do when you want a group picture with everybody in it? Who will press the button? Or what when you want to click yourself with the first cherry on your cherry-tree and there is no one in the house? You cannot let the moment pass - time and tide wait for none. So then what?
Clicking Self-Portraits - 3 Basic Pointers
When you click yourself, you can go all whacky, zany and mad without getting conscious or awkward about it! Stick your tongue out, roll your eyes! Pose in a way in which you wouldn't if people were around you. You might get conscious sticking your pout out when somebody is clicking you. But click yourself, and you can reveal your 'shexy-n-shmoky' side without inhibitions! It isn't as difficult as it may seem to be. Clicking great self-portraits is about as easy as clicking portraits of other people. There are a few basic differences though. If you bear these differences in mind, there is nothing that can stop you from taking a flattering picture of yourself on your own.
#1 - Which Camera?
You can click yourself with your digital camera, with a webcam, with a handy-cam, or with the camera on your phone. So which one to choose? Decide based on the purpose. If you are bored and want to click yourself simply to pass time - go for the camera on your phone. It is handy and easy. Plus there are all kinds of applications for instant editing. But you would have to be careful about the angle as you would have to hold the phone yourself. If you want to click a proper picture - to flaunt your new hair-cut, or a new bikini even! - go for your digital camera. Almost all digital cameras available in the market have a self-timer, so you can have multiple gos at it. The same effect can be got with a webcam too. However, a picture taken with a digital camera would definitely be of a better quality than one taken on a webcam. A handy-cam would be nice if you want an unusual angle, as I will elaborate below. A webcam, handy-cam and digital camera can also be mounted on a table or a shelf, so your hands would be free.
#2 - What Angle?
The angle you choose to click a self-portrait is the single most important consideration! It has to be nothing less than perfect. Period. The angle can make or break your picture. A tip would be to get a judgment of the angle at which you hold or place your camera by first posing in front of a mirror. This may feel stupid, but it is important if you want a good picture. The wrong angle can make your nose look fat, your eyes look sunken, or your cheeks too chubby! Would you want a picture like that? I am guessing not. Get an idea of the angle at which you need to hold the camera and the level up to which you need to raise your hand. Click a few trial snaps, and then click the final one. It is bound to come awesome! However, clicking yourself outdoors leaves you completely at the mercy of trial-and-error - unless you actually move a mirror out from your room and into your garden; and this is exactly where it would be great if you have a handy-cam. You can turn the LCD panel completely through 180º and actually see yourself and how you will look in the picture. This will give you better judgment and enough room to experiment with the angle.
#3 - Lighting?
The type of lighting you choose to click a picture can totally make or break it. Find out which would suit best for the kind of picture you want to click. Some general tips are - never stand under the light source when clicking yourself indoor. Your facial features will cast shadows all over your face - it looks horrible! Always stand with the light in your face. I love clicking pictures in natural light, and so I always run to the window if I want to take a self-portrait in the day time. The main trick here is to remember to hold the camera in such a way that it does not itself cast a shadow upon your face. Make sure you do not hold the camera in the path of the light. This is especially important while clicking picture lying down on the bed or in the garden. However, in the garden, shadows can be put to creative use. Clicking a picture under a tree will cast interesting shadows as the sunlight streams through the tree. It looks really charming.
When It's Not Just You
Self-portraits need not necessarily mean it is just you in the picture. Sometimes you want to click a picture with your near and dear ones. Clicking self-portraits while sharing the picture frame with someone is something that calls for a few more considerations. Read on to find out.
... Your Friends
It could be you and your best friend, you and your closest group of friends, or a whole gang of friends! Clicking a self portrait at such times can be quite tricky. If it is a group of more than three friends, it would be best to ask someone else to click you. Otherwise, it is quite possible to click a great picture all by your self. Make sure you stand close enough so that all of you fit in the frame. It would be a good idea for the outermost people to place an arm around the shoulders of the person in the middle. It will help you come closer. Also one of the outermost person should click such a picture, so that the cameraman's hands do not come in the picture and (probably) block someone out! The girls in the picture alongside seem to have grabbed onto the perfect way to take a self-picture - I am sure that one's going to turn out to be really nice!
... Your Boyfriend/Girlfriend
Here is one opportunity to really steam up a picture! Check out the picture alongside - doesn't that make you smile a naughty smile and go "Naice..."? You might be a little shy to pose for a picture with your love if someone else is going to click you. But if you choose to click a picture yourself, you can shed your shyness and click a really romantic picture - a lip-lock, a peck on the cheek, your head on his shoulder or chest, arms wrapped around each other, really cozy! You can prevent a couple-shot from looking cheesy and wanna-be if you shoot it aesthetically. A couple-shot, taken properly, can give you that warm and fuzzy feeling inside and make you relive your most precious and intimate moments all over again. But the most important advantage of taking a picture with your love yourself is that - it looks most natural when you click it yourself rather than when someone else clicks you.
... Your Kids
Clicking a picture with your kids - or nieces, nephews, grandchildren - can be problematic because of the difference in your height! You may stand tall with your six feet frame, but your son may barely reach up to your knees! However, this very fact can be put to advantage to get an interesting shot. You can either hold the camera in your hand and above your head to get a 'looking down' effect (like shown in the picture alongside; or you can ask your little one to hold the camera below him/herself to get a 'looking up' effect. I have pictures of me and my nephew like that, and everybody totally falls for them! They look really adorable. Another idea could be to bend down to their level and click a picture. One more idea could be to stand your little one on a chair or table and click a picture like that - those look cute too!
A picture is a moment frozen in time. You do not just take a picture, you create a memory when you click a photograph; and memories are beautiful. So should your pictures be! I hope the above tips and tricks will help you take flattering pictures of yourself. Say cheese... CLICK!