My First Attempt at a Self-Portrait

Stepping out of my comfort zone here . . .

You’ve probably noticed that I don’t post a lot of portraits here (read: none so far) — there are a couple of reasons behind that.  I’ve mentioned before that I’d like to protect the privacy of others who didn’t sign up to be on a public website when I started snapping photos, so even though I’ve gotten some good shots of my husband, I’m hesitant to share them here.  But I obviously have my own consent, so why haven’t I shared any photos of myself yet?  Well for one, I kinda feel like on I should only be sharing images I’ve taken myself given that this blog is about my personal photography journey and all.  The real reason though is that I’m not used to putting myself “out there” online.  I’ve always been a bit obsessive over managing privacy settings (Facebook sure doesn’t make it easy, does it?), and I’m used to interacting only with people I know in real life.  It’s pretty hard to suddenly share identifying personal information in a public space (even if not many people read this).

But there’s no time like the present, is there?

Here are some of my first attempts at taking a self-portrait that isn’t an obvious selfie.  (For the record, I despise vanity selfies, but I’ve been known to use an outstretched arm quite a bit when I’m traveling.  Gotta show that I was there too!)  Instead of a formal portrait, I wanted to capture myself “in action” so an outsider wouldn’t be able to tell that they were posed.  I still look pretty awkward in these.

f/5.6, 1/13 sec, ISO 100

f/5.6, 1/13 sec, ISO 100

I’ve needed a crash course in American history recently, so I dove into the World Almanac for a little light reading.  Ha.  But really, this is how I’ve spent the better part of my free time recently (for good reason, I promise).  There is A LOT of information in this book, so it’s a great way to catch up on the highlights of something without getting bogged down by too many details.

I didn’t do much to prepare for these photos beyond setting up my camera.  I’m still in my work clothes, I didn’t reapply any makeup, I didn’t move any furniture.  It’s just life.  The metering is clearly off in the first shot, thrown off by the window behind me.  I’m guessing this straight-out-of-camera (SOOC) shot could be fixed in an editing program, but I haven’t started using one yet.


f/4.5, 1/10 sec, ISO 100

Take two:  I moved the camera a little closer, and I think this is where I switched from matrix metering to spot metering.  This image isn’t underexposed like the first, but now there is a blown out highlight in the top right corner where the sun is coming in through the window and I can’t say that I nailed my focus.  You can also see the camera remote in my right hand — I didn’t know how to effectively hide it.

I’m kind of stumped on how to make adjustments when I’m not actually behind the camera.  How do you set the correct focus and metering points when you can’t be in two places at once?  Do you have any tips on getting in front of the camera and still seeing a pretty result?


Photo 101 by Nicole’s Classes: ISO

Well, you probably saw this coming after the last two posts.  It’s time for the third corner of the exposure triangle: ISO.  As part of the homework for Nicole’s Photo 101 class, I was tasked with photographing something in natural light at ISO 100 and again at ISO 400 or greater to illustrate the difference in grain in the images.

ISO 100

f/6.3, 1/60 sec, ISO 100

ISO 800

f/6.3, 1/500 sec, ISO 800

The second half of the assignment was to photograph the subject indoors by setting the desired f-stop and shutter speed before adjusting the ISO to achieve proper exposure.

ISO 1600

f/3.2, 1/60 sec, ISO 1600

Grain is right, huh?  Also, I forgot to white balance that last pic, but — spoiler alert — that’s part of week two’s homework.