The corona pandemic is also an enormous challenge for photographers. According to Google trends, for example, search queries for photographers in Germany dropped by about 50% during lockdowns compared to pre-corona times. In order not to get completely rusty, portrait photographers need some creativity to stay active. The solution for me was to sharpen my skills with self-portraits. In the following, I would like to show you three different setups to start with.
Fashion Editorial Style
For the first self-portrait, I had some beautiful dark magenta peonies and I did my portrait in a sort of minimalist fashion editorial style. So styling matters too, and for this I just straightened my hair, put on some natural makeup, and wore a red blazer that matched the flower quite well. The light was also harsh, direct afternoon sunlight coming from my living room on the west side of my apartment, and I thought that light would go very well with the edgy, yet soft, feminine editorial look that I was going for.
For the second self-portrait, you’ll need a textured transparent layer, such as that of a shower door. You will also need an external camera flash and a remote control to trigger the camera. To do this, place the camera outside the shower on a tripod so you can shoot your profile from the side. For my shots, I used the settings f8.0, 1/200 sec, ISO 100 and a 50 mm lens. Hold the flash on the other side of your head so that the flash is pointing at the shower wall (away from you), and the light is reflected back at you and towards the camera. This way you’ll get a clean silhouette of your profile. The structure of the shower door creates an exciting droplet look. If your door is without structure, you can wet the door with water drops accordingly.
Fine Art Self Portrait with Flowers
If you like it a bit more artistic, you can simply decorate your head completely with objects that can be found in your apartment in the post edit. For this I took a flower and photographed it from different perspectives. For this I used natural light from the window. So that the light falls less harshly, I hung a translucent curtain in front of the window. The important thing here is that the object, in my case the flower, is photographed in each case as it will later be placed on the head. Photograph where you will later portray yourself.
It depends on the angle to the window, so that body, face and objects have the same lighting conditions and are illuminated from the right side. Afterwards I took a self-portrait of myself – also like the objects with the same relative orientation to the window. The flowers are then spread over the head in Photoshop like a kind of helmet. Light shading is applied under the flowers so it doesn’t look too much like copy-paste. A light filter then completes the small fine art project.
I hope there’s something in it for you, and if you’re also still in lockdown or quarantine, this could be a pleasant pastime with a learning factor.