Why taking self-portraits is good for you [slightly NSFW]

Jul 4, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Why taking self-portraits is good for you [slightly NSFW]

Jul 4, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

As photographers, we find ourselves behind the camera way more often than in front of it. However, some photographers enjoy taking self-portraits as well. I belong to this group, and while I don’t feel too comfortable when posing to others, I am perfectly fine with posing to myself. I’m not a fan of selfies, but I think self-portraits can have certain benefits for photographers. I’d like to share them with you, and see if we think alike.

It’s good to note that this is my personal view and opinion, not based on the scientific facts or research. This is how I perceive self-portraits, and how I believe they shaped me both as a person and as a photographer – and hopefully, some of you will relate to it.

1. Practicing portrait photography

This probably goes without saying, but taking self-portraits can be a great preparation before you start photographing others. You get to explore the natural light or experiment with the best artificial lighting setups. You can learn which lenses work best for which kinds of shots. You can even try out the poses and figure out which ones you like best. All this could help you later when you start photographing others.

2. Self-acceptance

This is one of the ways self-portraiture has affected me the most. My body weight has varied ever since I was a child. Whenever I gain or lose a lot of pounds, I have a problem getting used to the person I see in the mirror. Taking self-portraits has helped me get out of my cocoon whenever I went through these transformations, and I learned to accept my body in all its stages. It has helped me get to know myself better, and see myself from a different perspective. It’s a bit hard to explain, but to put it simply – I started feeling better in my own skin after certain self-portraits I took. And I believe it could work for many people who feel awkward about themselves in whichever way.

“Confrontation”

3. Documenting the stages of your life and the ways you change

Many of my self-portraits are inspired by a certain emotion or an intense period of my life. It’s sometimes positive, but to be honest – more often it’s something negative. When I browse through these photos now, I remember what made me take them and what I was going through at the time. I wrote about it here so you can take a look.

Also, it’s a great way of documenting the way you change. If you take self-portraits inspired by events and emotions, you get to see how you change emotionally and preserve some striking moments of your life. And not to mention that you can also track the way you change physically, which I find fascinating and interesting to observe.

Back in the day when I first notice some gray hairs and freaked out about getting older

4. Expressing your emotions and feeling them more intensely

In most situations, I think that the message about my own feelings is the strongest if I show it myself. For example, I took a self-portrait for my boyfriend a couple of years ago, trying to depict how I feel when dreaming about him. You’d agree it would be a bit awkward if I took a photo of another girl, right? :)

This works in other situations and for other emotions as well. If you’re fully involved in both posing and capturing the photo, you can live the moment more intensely. This helps you focus on the emotion or the story you want to tell. If it’s a positive one, it just feels great to evoke it. And if it’s negative, confronting it in such an intense manner could help you get rid of it (like Anya Anti with her “Butterflies in my Stomach” photo).

5. Quality time with yourself

Do you enjoy being alone? I believe most of us like spending some quality time with no one but ourselves, at least occasionally. Well, taking self-portraits is an awesome way to do it. I feel like a child playing while I’m taking photos by myself. Self-portraits fall into this category of images I take when I just want to hang out alone and enjoy it to the max. Other than giving you time to practice photography, it also gives you some precious time to think and let your mind wander. It’s useful, and it’s beautiful.

Hanging out with the other Dunja and shocking her with some crazy ideas back in 2012 :)

Other than making self-portraits, I also love viewing those of other photographers. Since I’m definitely not the best self-portrait photographer there is, check out these posts on our blog for more inspiration:

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you enjoy taking self-portraits? If so, can you relate to the benefits I wrote about? Are there any you’d like to add?
Share your thoughts in the comment section below, and feel free to share your favorite self-portraits, too.

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

11 responses to “Why taking self-portraits is good for you [slightly NSFW]”

  1. Kristina Ebert Avatar
    Kristina Ebert

    I’ve done a few. My profile picture is a self portrait. I really should do them more regularly but it is challenging with kids in the mix

    1. Richard Artedigital Avatar
      Richard Artedigital

      A very lovely self-portrait by the way. Congratulations!

    2. Kristina Ebert Avatar
      Kristina Ebert

      Thanks!

  2. Richard Artedigital Avatar
    Richard Artedigital

    I’m getting ready for my next self-portrait by the way! :D I rather work on others and exploring some abstracts subjects but I do enjoy a self-portait once in a while.

  3. Trevor Lovecross Avatar
    Trevor Lovecross

    I’d probably do them if I was remotely photogenic.

  4. James Baker Avatar
    James Baker

    I’m not narcissistic enough to assume anyone ( myself included ) is remotely interested in seeing images of me.
    Today’s ‘selfie’ obsession clearly tells us who is and who isn’t self absorbed !

    1. Dunja Đuđić Avatar
      Dunja Đuđić

      Hi James. I wasn’t talking about selfies, rather self-portraits.I believe there are certain differences, you can see what I mean here, if you like: https://www.diyphotography.net/differences-selfies-self-portraits/.

  5. Toby Van de Velde Avatar
    Toby Van de Velde

    I enjoy the odd self portrait. Only when nobody else is around….

  6. Andrea Gruber Avatar
    Andrea Gruber

    There is a good reason I am behind the camera, and find photographers who put themselves constantly in front of the camera rather weird. Sometimes you get the feeling if you are not looking like a model yourself you can’t be a photographer. (I do understand the learning process in taking self portraits) still it is weird.

    1. Dunja Đuđić Avatar
      Dunja Đuđić

      I don’t like to put myself in front of the lens all the time, but I do it occasionally. Although it’s pretty rare lately. :)
      But I do like other people’s self-portraits. I don’t even mind even if they’re their only subject. It can seem weird sometimes, but sometimes it’s precisely this feeling that strikes me.

      “Sometimes you get the feeling if you are not looking like a model yourself you can’t be a photographer.” -> this is a very interesting thought! Could you elaborate, I’d love to hear why you think that way.

    2. Andrea Gruber Avatar
      Andrea Gruber

      Dunja Đuđić i see photo manipulations, self portraits, even in landscape photography with the photographer as the main subject all the time nowadays. They are all good looking and they post their pictures and everyone likes them and they get jobs because of it. People like me doesn’t have that advantage, nobody would like to see me in a dress floating in a forest or whatever is currently “in”. So I need a model, which is not easy and can be expensive if nobody pays you for your photography. For training purposes about lighting or posing it is ok, for yourself. But when you become the only subject of your own photographs, what does it mean?