Self Portraits: What Did I Learn?

Two weekend’s ago I finally got a chance to do something that I’ve been meaning to do for the past couple of months. First thing first, I hate taking pictures of myself. It is hard, unexpressive and tiresome. But, this time I figured out that I can use my computer at the same time while photographing and allowed me the instant fee back that I needed in order for me to just take shot after shot and start to become comfortable behind the camera. I took over 300 shots and only kept 11, that’s less than four percent, which to me is awesome on my editing ability and only concerned with keeping the photographs that moved and excited me.

If I Was the Client

If I was a client that hired me or another photographer to do a series of photographs, I would tell him what I was looking for, the mood and the expectations. At times dealing with the people I photograph I ask them a series of questions to see what they are looking for and most of the time I get back answers that I’m the expert, we trust you statements. Those comments are flattering, but they make my job extremely hard because my goal and intent of the photo shoot is to beat their expectations of what they are looking for. Besides, they are paying for something they want and if it doesn’t meet their expectations than it is a waste of time for me to even photograph them.

So, I ask myself what I’m looking for, which was some portraits of myself that I can put on my business website, facebook page and where ever I saw fit that will show off my skills and give people a small understanding on what I can do for them.

Why So Many Photographs?

I was trying out a couple of things while I was using myself as the muse. I wanted to practice more on my studio flash photography, work on photographing people who had glasses and to eliminate the glare spot of light and to take different perspective of myself in relatively a non-versatile place as is my house. This project was completed in two days and extremely excited with the way the photographs came out. The only thing I wished I would have done was to take photographs of the same scene from different angles. The best way for me to do that is to photograph a model or someone else in general that will help me to fine the perspective that I want to take.

Lessons Learned

I learned many different things while doing this weekend-long project. I learned that it is in fact possible to take good photographs of myself and not lose my mind in the process. I also learned different and new techniques that I always wanted to try. I got frustrated and tried to understand what was going on but when it came down to me understanding what I needed to know for the concept that I was going for, the process became less thinking and just doing. That showed me that I’m growing so much as a photographer and I need to continue to push and do and explore as I develop the time that I need to in order to give my client what they are looking for in a photographer.

The more I practice, the more I gain experience and the more I can better give and creatively create the concept and idea that clients are looking for. So, by me practicing and getting out of my comfort box, I then push myself to do great things for the people who are paying me.

The biggest lesson though that I learned throughout this self-portrait project is that I got to know more about who I am as a person, not a photographer. Whatever I was going through at the time, it was shown in the photographs. If I was frustrated because of any reason or if I was indifferent about situations, it showed through. It is hard for me to act and be different about the situations that I’m in.

Me being behind the camera helped me to realize what my client and subjects are perhaps going through and how I can possibly help them in giving me the image that they will be completely happy.

The more I push myself, the better I get. However, the better doesn’t happen immediately. I become frustrated, pissed and at times want to throw my camera at the wall. But I push through, I think about what I’m doing wrong to change things, do them differently, consult a person, a book or the internet to see how I can do better and all. With learning about the business side of photography, I’m still very much involved in the creativity of it too. I like the fact that I’m enjoying myself and getting frustrated on both sides of the aisle and that I am figuring out things as I go through it because I want to get better. Wanting to get better allows me to explore.

2 responses to “Self Portraits: What Did I Learn?”

  1. Hey, let’s see some of those portraits, Oke! BTW – I’m sending out some query letters to lit agents tonight!

  2. It is hard to juggle the writing and posting of photographs, but I’m getting better at it. Send out those letters, don’t let it get discourage and what might help is also think of unconventional ways of getting your book known.

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