How to Take Your Own Self and Family Portraits

“We receive so many comments that say something along the lines of, ‘I take great portraits of my friends, but they never take any great portraits of me.'”

Mango Street created this video to demonstrate how they work around not having a photographer for portraits. In this case, the two of them work to create self portraits without the help of anyone else. In order to do so, they have identified some creative ways to change it up and keep their portraits fresh and entertaining:

Stabilize, Frame, and Trigger

Be sure to stabilize and frame your shot for proper focus and composition. Use a tripod or a flat surface to rest your camera on. You can trigger each photograph with a remote, shutter app for your phone, or the camera’s self-timer.

stabilize frame trigger camera self portrait solo

Nail Your Focus

A smaller aperture will help pin down the focus in each image and blur the background. Try somewhere between f/4 and f/6.3.

stabilize frame trigger camera self portrait solo

To set focus, place a prop where you plan on being in your scene.¬†Focus on the prop with your lens and then change places with it when you’re ready to shoot.

focus on a prop

Use Natural Movement

Change your camera’s interval time to capture multiple shots while you’re in motion. Your settings allow you to have time between each photograph to adjust for a new pose from where you stand or sit. Try a bunch out and you’ll have plenty to choose from afterwards!

tips for self portraits

Get Creative

There are so many ways to be innovative in photography, especially with self-portraits. Try using a longer exposure or direct flash to affect the movement or lighting in each image. Different objects in front of your lens create a variety of effects as well. For example, they use plastic wrap over their lens to add a hazy mist to some of their photos. Other photographers use items such as string lights and flower petals to experiment with different looks.

Get your camera and setup ready to give these tips a try!

“Anybody can take a standard selfie so we encourage you to get creative with your self portraits.”

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