Sometimes I turn the camera on myself when I’m the only available subject. There’s quite a tradition of doing this in the art world, so don’t be afraid of those who claim it’s always narcissistic; it’s not.
Using my iPhone to control my camera, the Fuji XT2, I initially worked with it set to the standard colour mode, but there are a lot of competing colours in my hallway so I changed to monochrome and immediately felt much happier with the shots I was producing.
Like most photographers, I feel really self-conscious in front of the camera and it takes a long time for me to loosen up. I get very self-critical about the way I look, especially with more signs of age now showing than I’d like. The camera really reveals that ageing process to me a lot more honestly than the mirror does, and it is difficult to confront.
But I was inspired by the idea of trying to find and present an honest version of me now. I realised that I can’t do it looking at the camera as I just can’t seem to relax and end up pulling all sorts of awkward looking faces, which is why I just relaxed and looked at the phone.
I think I’ve been successful like this. They’re honest about me, about who I am and what I’m like.
So here are some of my tips for self portraits
- It’s easier to work with natural light, especially indoors. Being near a window is best, so vary the angle between yourself, the window and the camera until you find a setup that you like.
- The most flattering lens for a portrait is 80mm, but it’s not always ideal for an indoor portrait, especially a self portrait unless you have a helper. Go with a wider angle lens and crop later.
- If you’re using a heavy camera and lens then a tripod is essential, in fact I think I’d find it impossible to do this without one.
- Remember, you can delete!
- Introduce some props, wigs or make up. Here’s me in a purple wig pulling a daft face…