DSLR Dramatic Closeup Self-Portrait

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Self-Portrait - Photo by CMDR Shane
Self-Portrait - Photo by CMDR Shane

Self-portrait photography can be hard. Unless you have a live view of what you look like, along with light meter readouts and what not, there is going to be A LOT of trial and error going on. Considering I still only have the most entry level of DSLRs, the Nikon D3200, there weren’t a lot of features I could rely on for doing a self-portrait.

Having said that, this thing takes some decent images once your knowledge of photography increases, and you can make the gear work for you. Not to mention I got to learn just a tad bit more on post-processing in order to get this portrait to come out as dramatic as it did.

All in all I’m happy with how this image turned out. Not that I’m happy at all that it’s my own face I’m staring at. But the neutral emotion is what I was going for. The punchy contrast was definitely on purpose.

Not only is taking the image itself in terms of settings a huge trial and error endeavour, but getting the face shape and emotion wasn’t easy either. Once the settings are set, you work on the emotion you want. But what if you don’t like whatever it is that is coming out, and you change direction of the look or closeup and get further away? The settings change again to adjust for the less/more light that is now being caught by the sensor. Start again, until something comes out right.

The most exciting about this image was the new lighting I got to practice with. You’ll notice in the image the chevron catchlight in the eyes. I currently don’t have a stand for it, so that was quite interesting to handle whilst attempting to take the shot. Then putting it back down, picking up the camera, checking the shot, re-adjusting, picking the lights back up and repeat. Don’t even rinse. Just keep repeating. Until something looks like something you don’t hate.

This week I will be picking up some more lighting equipment. I’ve managed to track down some decent LED strip lights. Coolest thing about them is that I can then cut and paste them in my own design. Obviously this design is going to be a circle, as I’m going to be attempting a DIY ring light. It’ll be perfect for portraits. I do have to get my hands on a dimmer switch though. That’ll allow me to control the intensity of the lights. That will definitely be handy dependent on my environment during shooting.

I think for the next round of self-portraits, I’m either going to attempt full body casual look, or perhaps even get the Nikon hooked up to the laptop to do the live view and see how much easier it makes things. If I do go with the full body shoot, there is going to be a lot of running around. The 10 second timer I believe won’t be enough to run back into place. Hope the focus is set correctly. Then make sure to use the last few seconds to relax before the camera takes the shot.

I’m going to regret that aren’t I?

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