By Ashley Manley on | No Comments
Ahhh…another post about the importance of self-portraits. If you are reluctant to read this it probably means you aren’t in enough photos and I’m going to need you to listen up.
It’s summer, you are loving life, getting a little more time with your kids, going on summer adventures, soaking up the sun, and documenting the heck out of all of the fun. You are an important part of the story. If you are anything like me, you might be the director of it all. Packing bags, making lists, confirming reservations, double checking the sunscreen, prepping meals. When I say it that way, this whole summer fun stuff might not even happen if it weren’t for my over-the-top planning tendencies! I deserve a parade or something!
Anyway, if I’m working so hard to make sure everyone is having fun, why shouldn’t I be in those photos?! Because my 32-year-old body doesn’t look perfect in a swimsuit? Because I’m STILL getting breakouts as an adult? Because my husband doesn’t understand back button focus and I look like a poltergeist when he takes the shot? Because it’s a hassle to bring the tripod? Because iPhone selfies are cheesy?
See, I’m good at excuses too. But I’m also good at seeing the importance of it all. I don’t have photos with my mom from when we went camping as kids or her just simply existing. She’s still around to enjoy summers with and make up for the photos we don’t have, but they won’t be the same.
It’s okay if you have a photo you don’t look perfect in, I have a super secret for you: you don’t have to post it on social media. You print it, you love it, you put it in the Summer 2017 album, and your people will love it. They won’t see the baby weight or soft focus, they will see the story of the summer. The laughs and the tears and the time you broke down in the rain on the way to see Mt. Rushmore. You are an integral part of the story, perhaps the silent orchestrator of it all, so get in the frame.
If you are lost on where to start with self-portraits, I’ve included a few of my personal tips.
Full disclosure: I’m awful at sitting and smiling in photos, so when I take self-portraits, I prefer to be doing something. Laughing, drinking, hugging, cooking. I feel more comfortable and slightly less dorky. And, even better, have someone in the frame with you! Spouse, kids, or your BFF make awkward self-portraits less awkward. So make your favorite summer dish or sit in your favorite summer spot and set that camera up. Oh, and if you hate your swimsuit body, wear something else! Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself!
This is my secret to nailing focus in my self-portraits. I shoot with a Fuji X-T2 and use the fuji app on my phone to connect wirelessly. On my phone, I am able to see what my camera sees, tap the screen to focus, use the 2-second timer, hit the shutter and viola! So easy! I highly suggest checking out your camera’s wireless options!
Just do it. I know that I’m probably not going to be in focus when my husband gets the camera and pushes the shutter like his life depends on it, but in the scheme of life, I’d rather be blurry in a photo than too worried about it and not be in the photo at all.
When all else fails, hold out your arm (or selfie-stick!) and use your phone to take the selfie. It’s easy, it’s fast, and you don’t have an excuse.
I hope after all of this your mind is spinning with summer self-portrait ideas! Write those down! If you have an amazing shot idea that perfectly tells your summer story with YOU in it, you don’t want to forget it. I carry a notebook around in my purse with a page specifically dedicated to writing down “photos I want to take” for times I’m out of the house. Good ideas strike at the most random of times.
Happy selfie taking and I’ll be back tomorrow to tell you about the role of my iPhone in documenting our summer story.