Fourth choice of model today, sorry. Holly was at the gym, Livvy let me take her photograph but the lighting was terrible and she wouldnt move into another room, and Izzy grabbed a dinosaur balloon and held it in front of her face; making her intentions very clear.
So, with it raining even harder today, going out and about wasn’t an option, my camera isn’t water proof and I don’t want to risk damaging it unless I really have to. I’d just have to take a photograph of myself, the last resort!
Lets get this out of the way first; the eagle eyed among you will have noticed todays main photograph is mirrored, and so the “Canon” text is back to front. I did flip most of the images, however I do think the composition works much better with the diagonal line of my face going from bottom left to top right, and so I favoured artisitc composition over technical correctness, for today’s main image.
The brief I gave myself was simple, an image of myself with my camera, using a shallow depth of field and a really minimal background.
I used my 50mm f/1.8 lens for all of todays images, naturally.
I set some images with my preffered flat shadows, as per below, and some with absolute black in the darkest shadows, to add more detail. As I said earlier, I flipped some and not others, I do preffer the images with the subject on the right of the frame, though technically it’s wrong given the text on the camera.
The image above is actually a HDR image, a composite of three seperate exposure bracketed images merged together. HDR I find is very “marmite” on portraits, you either love it or hate it; personally I think it looks a bit too unnatural, but it doesnt stop me playing about with them!
Using a single image gives that softer, natural feel, and the shallow depth of field helps that I think; the only bit of the image in focus is the half of my face you can see. In this image I purposefully included my wedding ring, to tell a bit more of a story about the person in the image.
This image is another HDR, but given you cant really see my face, that unnatural looking effect isn’t as much of an issue (unless you like it of course), and I had a little experiment with vapour, making it look like my camera was on fire. Or something like that anyway!
The image below is pretty much the same as the one above, but again I’ve flattened it off to soften and broaden the shadows. I like it better.
Another little experiment, and this time I moved just my finger right at the end of the exposure, to imply I’m pressing the shutter button.
By the way, the hat appeared mid way through becasue my hair was all over the place, thats what happens when two young and full of energy daughters jump all over you pretending to be dinosaurs!
Finally, just a straight foraward no fuss version, of me and my camera, taking a photograph of me and my camera.
Learnings – I actually learnt quite a lot through this very simple photograph. I experimented with exposure bracketing a portrait, and that was really interesting given I was photographing myself, and particularly my eye. You see, I set the focus point bang on my eye of course, and as the timer counted down from its two seconds, the first exposure would unsettle my eye, and it would try and look through the view finder. Then when the longer of the three exposures took place, my open eye felt very strange, like it didn’t know where to look! It was a very surreal experience to be honest!
The vapour was a fun little experiment, although somewhat frustrating because vapour goes where vapour goes, and really I didn’t want it to obscure my eye, but there you go.
It was fun seeing the different effects manipulating the shadows gave, offering a balance between detail and vibe. It was also interesting being faced with the decision about the back to front “Canon” text, and in the end I think I made the right choice. Plus it adds a certain something to the nature of the image, it adds a layer of story and questioning about how the image was taken. Is it a mirrored image, or was it taken my another camera and then flipped to get the better composition?
Anyway, at the end of the day I chose to position the frame how I though it looked its best, and left the little detail to be discovered, or not, it really doesn’t matter either way, and thats the great thing about photography.