How to do Self Portraiture (and why)

Last weeks blog we talked about the beauty of self portraiture, this week I wanted to talk with you about how exactly you can take a self portrait. I hoped last weeks blog post (which you should take a look at if you haven’t already!) Could inspire some creative minds out there to consider taking self portraits, or doing something for themselves (which I class as a self portrait in a conceptual way!)  SIDENOTE: For the tutorial portion of this blog post, I shot on one day, for the final photo I ended up re-shooting as the concept evolved in my head since, you can tell this change by the colour of my hair!

before/after of the final photo.


So this idea came about when I was re-living a childhood memory of mine, one where I planted a jellybean in my garden, wandering if it might grow or not. Part of me knew it wouldn’t, but another part of me thought it could. I decided to create a photo inspired by this childhood wonder, the what if. I knew I could shoot with a really elvish inspired costume that I had, and could shoot in a beanstalk we have growing in my garden- perfect!

I figured out where the light was best and how the leaves on the stalk would look best, positioning my camera in accordance.


My equipment is my Nikon D610 body + a 50mm lens, this is my go to set up and has been for a very long time. I don’t often worry about equipment, focusing more of investing in the narratives and what will better aid them. I use a standard tripod that I’ve used for about 6 years now! When I do my self portraits, I will more often then not use a little Nikon self timer remote, this allows me to take the photos when in frame.

Behind The Scenes:

some screenshots from video tutorials I created that’ll be up on my instagram. 

So shooting was quite blissful, mostly because I was in my garden, so it was very unlikely I would get any funny looks (perhaps a neighbour peeping over the fence but luckily I haven’t experienced that as of yet!) 

It was also perfect soft cloudy light, which for my style is always the best, as its bright enough to get the best possible settings on my camera (shooting at low ISO’s like 100 and a faster shutter speed for better quality, these settings are ones I recommend, but every situation is different so you may need to alter accordingly.)

Sometimes shooting isn’t this chilled out, perhaps I have an awkward pose I need to try and hit, or theres a lot of dog walkers, or its FREEZING! Still, I try to find the peace throughout, as I’m doing what I love and no matter how uncomfortable I may be, I am in my element and happy.



I thought I’d create a quick list of simple tips that I go over in my video tutorial, soon to be up on my instagram:

1) Plan thoroughly, this way you can arrive on shoot fully prepared and ready to go!

2) Stick to simple equipment for as long as you can, that way you’ll know its full capacity and can evolve from there once you’re ready. I only typically shoot with my 50mm lens that I’ve used for about 3 or more years!

3) Find the light, and consider how that might come across on yourself, and how that would work with your story.

4) Try and bring someone or something tall to stand in your place for you to focus on, that way you can manually lock your focus and not have the worry about becoming out of focus.

5) TAKE YOUR TIME! I spent so long feeling the need to rush the shooting process, when in fact, because I planned a head of time, I did’t need to rush, instead I was naturally quick because I knew what I needed. When I don’t have such a thorough plan, I take my time, giving myself the time to create what comes naturally and really think.

6) Look at your photos thoroughly when taken. This applies when on location, really zoom in, look at every part of the photo and see if its the best it can be. Its good to this because you know then if you need to carry on shooting or not.

7) Following on from there previous point, when you’re shooting, take just a couple photos, look like mentioned before and continue more in that style. I find when I take self portraits, I want to just stand there, taking 100 pictures and just hoping one of them is good enough, I’d definitely recommend checking your photos after only taking a few, so you don’t become overwhelmed with the amount of photos. It also means you can make small tweaks from what you like and don’t like in those photos.  

8) Try and create for what works for you, not what trendy. This is something I’ve had to learn, but if you follow your own voice, your work will naturally feel more fulfilling to create. The point of a self portrait is to have a part of you in it, so definitely cherish that idea and embrace you!


To wrap up this incredibly self- fulfilling blog post in a nice bow, I find self portraiture can be so incredibly healing for me, seeing myself in a new way, but still capturing that delicate parts of myself I feel so connected with. I’ve been able to witness myself grow into adulthood, documenting the lessons I’ve learned in a fantasy format. 

I highly encourage anyone and everyone to try self portraiture, you don’t have to be a master at it. All that is required is a passion to open up to getting to know yourself better; we know our own selves better then anyone else, so why not help everyone else truly get to know us too?

I never started self portraiture to make myself look good, I was 16 at school admiring other artists who created these crazy elaborate ideas, and saw a part of myself in that. I used to sit in my room all day, barely go outside or eat and just create all day. (Definitely make sure you eat though, I was starving by dinner!) Because of this, Ive grown up being a self portrait artist, and where once I may have been quite insecure. Now I am able to feel that bit of extra confidence in myself, seeing myself as the characters I create, that are extensions of myself.

I hope this blog post can in some way inspire someone out there, you don’t have to do self-portraiture if you’re not comfortable enough. But I truly feel that self portraiture was one of the key ways I find peace and contentment in myself, flaws and all. <3

Please enjoy some of my first self portraits, seeing them together makes me miss these days and this style! Some are good and some not so much, but I’ve grown and learned from those days.

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