I never used to think self portraits were an important part of my photography journey until I realized how much they actually “gave back” to me. Are they daunting? Yes! Are they exhausting? Yes! Do I often shoot over 1.000 images only to get a handful of decent ones? Hell, yes! But it is absolutely worth it and I want to dive into that a little more.
Why do self portraits matter?
As photographers we take images of actual feelings, sometimes really really heavy ones. We often capture the entire vibe or “feeling” in the room or group. Have you ever looked at a photograph that made or instantly smile or one that you could feel so much emotion you got that lump in your throat just looking at it? Those photos come from a vulnerable place. Those clients have opened up enough and entrusted us as photographers to see them in some of their most vulnerable states and in turn we quite literally freeze that moment in time for them. Later when they see their images they will be taken right back to that moment to relive it over and over again. This vulnerability, I’ve found often comes when you yourself (as the photographer) also opens up and allows them to see who you are as the human behind the camera. I think that when you take self portraits and you get to see them as finished products you get to see yourself in a different light. You also get to feel the vulnerability, sometimes frustration and also child like joy in being photographed- which is so important to be on the other side of the lens every once in a while. These self portraits make you think about the way your clients are feeling when being photographed, how you make yourself feel less uncomfortable and even the thoughts and words you speak to yourself while taking them. I’ve found myself shifting my own dialog, remembering to give myself grace and to love myself for this season I am in. Most importantly self portraits help us to leave a legacy. These images will be passed down for generations with thoughts and storied to be told while looking at them. We show ourselves because we were here. we got in the photos no matter how we thought we looked, how imperfect we thought the house was or even if we struggled to make anything even close to creative.
So I challenge you to get your camera out and get on the other side. Tag me if you do, I’d love to see what you create! Also I’ll try to do another post soon with some helpful tips and maybe even some behind the scenes of shooting self portraits.
Jan 31, 2022