HOW SELF PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY CAN HELP YOUR CONFIDENCE AND CREATIVITY.
This time last year, if you had asked me how I felt about being photographed, I'd have laughed.
Including my hands or my torso in images was the furthest I'd moved towards taking a self portrait I felt comfortable sharing. I took a couple of bio/headshots when I absolutely had to for an interview - but I didn't like them enough to use on my website or blog, and I certainly would never have posted them on instagram.
It was more than just not liking the way I looked in them, it was the way they felt - inauthentic and forced.
So many of us are more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it, but taking the time to make beautiful photos of yourself is far more than the self-indulgence it can feel like; it’s an investment in your self confidence that can have far reaching benefits in lots of areas of your life.
In fact, I've felt completely empowered and energised by the magic of taking pictures of myself. It's something which has had impact in areas other than my feelings about self image, and it could do the same for you:
Taking up space.
Quite apart from the external, taking pictures of ourselves which make us feel good can help us learn to love ourselves on the inside, too.
Simply liking ourselves a little more is a power that can't be underestimated.
Inner confidence is a stepping stone towards learning to take up space. When we feel more capable and comfortable being seen and heard, we're happier to share our thoughts and message with others.
Confidence is something that can impact all areas of our lives - not least of all our creativity.
So much of our creativity comes from within - our personality, our mindset, our self belief.
When we lack confidence we second guess our work, we get blocked and we struggle to share and grow our art.
When we feel confident and happy in ourselves, we are more trusting in our intuition, we feel more inspired and in flow with our art, and we feel more able to share our work and allow it to grow.
We find it easier to trust the value in our work and ideas.
Trust and personality online.
Sharing portraits of ourselves on instagram or on our websites makes it easier to forge that human connection with others, easier to feel like we can reach out through the screen and become friends.
This can understandably be quite a vulnerable feeling, but ultimately it's one that may be worth pursuing if we hope to connect with others and share our creativity - whether through a business, a blog, or simply an instagram account.
Quick portrait tips:
- Try faceless. As I mentioned at the start, I eased myself in gently to self portraits by taking 'faceless' photographs at first. Shoot your torso holding something interesting, or shoot from the back, or with something covering your face. Sometimes this can be an important stepping stone towards taking a photo of your beautiful face.
- Start at a distance. Take the pressure off by zooming out to a wider composition and making the photo about more than just the portrait.
- Get comfortable. Set your camera or phone up with a timer mode, and use a remote if you can. Make sure you're in a comfortable position that you don't mind being in for a while.
- Give it time. Settle in and prepare to experiment. Try different angles and expressions, different distances from the camera, different light - take as many photos as you can and don't worry about how you look in most of them. You might take fifty and only find one or two you like - but you'll be able to get there quicker next time.
- Craft your 'look'. Wear clothes that make you feel good, style your hair however feels most you, wear makeup if you normally do, or don't if you're not into it. Don't feel like you have to look like anyone other than yourself.
- Learn a few editing tricks. Whether you use an app, free software or photoshop, most editing programs have a tool that will let you easily and quickly cover up small imperfections. I don't wear a lot of makeup to cover up or enhance the way I look and I don't think there's any difference between that and editing out the odd spot or mark on a portrait. It can really help if you're feeling self-conscious.
- Share! I'm certain you'll find it empowering to be lifted up by others for taking the leap and showing your lovely face. If you're sharing on instagram, these hashtags are a good place to start: #makeportraitsnotwar #advancedselfie #folkportraits #magicofselfportraiture #selfportrait_society #humaneffect
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