The 5 things you learn from selfies!

Selfies are shot billion of times everyday in the world and most of them are bad shots. I won’t write about why guys take selfies. What I am going to write is about the things you learn when you practice self portraiture.

#1 The concept
Just making a shot does not make a great picture out of it. And even if not elaborated, you need a story in your picture to make people think about it or at least to make them look twice at it. Sometime it’s what your subjects are doing, sometimes it’s their emotions, sometimes it’s a tension, a smile,… BUT you need to come up with something. So you must have an idea before you grab your gear.

#2 The location
Now you have your concept you need to think where you are going to shoot in order make it rock! Where will it be? How does it look like? Why here and not there? Is this location free of permit?…

#3 The lights
What is the light I need for my shoot? I always know how I want to lit the scene before I even get my camera. This does not mean don’t change my mind on the way, but I always have a starting point. Hard light versus soft light ? Natural light or flashes ? A mix of the two?…

#4 Styling
Chose clothes that suit your concept. It’s like being a movie director: you select what makes sense.

#5 Posing
It’s talking with the camera… not in English but in “Bodylanguage”. You will have a lot of back and forth till you get what you want. And less in more, most of the case.

These are the things you need to go thru since no one is going to do it for you.


Now, when you have a model, it will be way more effective if you direct the shoot by your self and fix these 5 points. Or if you have a team, you can give them a clear way to go when you know… where to go.

Let’s take an example :

The concept : A guy reading the news, maybe a mercenary. No violence in the picture, but some kind of tension. His face is lit by the light hitting in newspaper.

The location : A garden. It’s green as if he could hide behind a bush. But obviously he is not in a mission.

The lights : One strobe with a CTO behind my head aiming at my newspaper (which is inside covered by white paper acting as a white reflector) + a ringflash as a fill. As I wanted a cloudy weather but as soon I got set, the clouds as went away…  🙂

Styling: not a civilian, not a soldier… to make things not clear. What’s this guy?…

Posing: It is what makes the shot strong or cheesy. In this very example I am not 100% happy but it’s okay.

Let’s take 4 shots and comment them:

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The attitude is ridiculous. Looks like a dancer waiting for his part backstage… Not what I was expecting to. Definitely cheesy!

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It’s OK. But I don’t get the tension. It’s just a guy reading the news.

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We’re getting there. But this guy seams to be kind of friendly which is not what I want to suggest.

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That’s it! Look at him. Would you hire this man to babysit your kid? I think you see this guy as a potential threat. Although all he is doing is reading the paper.

I am not where I wanted to be light-wise. But I like the result.

More to come…


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