Self Portrait

One of the new exciting things happening this year at my school is a new photography club. So far we've met once this year. The first meeting went well. We covered a ton of basics to make sure that everyone was on the same page. Then, at the end of the class we were given an assignment: to take a creative self portrait. So, that is what I did.

I started by thinking through the look that I wanted for my image. I wanted to have objects that I associate with myself in the image. I figured the most obvious thing would be my camera gear, so I decided to try having that in the image. I thought some about lighting too, and came up with the idea that the background should be dark so that I stand out. So, I waited until that evening to start shooting.

I started by placing my camera on my desk, facing out towards me. I had a wide-angle zoom on, So that I would be able to capture the image in the tight quarters of my school room. Then I took out the rest of my camera gear and arranged it on the edge of the desk. Then I graves a cable release for my camera so that I would be able to take the images. Because my camera was pressed up against the wall I had a problem framing my image. I couldn't use the viewfinder at all so I had to use live view in some way. I thought that a small mirror might work, but I didn't have one. However, I did have my iPod which has a front facing camera. So, I used my iPod like a mirror to be able to frame my image.

I tried some shots with this set up. However, once I viewed the images I realized that the background wasn't dark enough. So, I decide to move to only lighting the scene with flash. I put one flash on my camera, and set it in its master mode. Then, I propped up a second flash to light me from the side by balancing it on an upside down wastebasket. I set this one of a secondary mode so that it fired when the first one fired. The I got back into position and shot some more. This time everything looked good: I liked the placement of my camera gear, and the lighting was nice. However, I wasn't happy with how I looked in the images. I tried all sorts of positions looking from behind my lens, peeking out from the right, then from the left, but none of them worked. As I waste viewing some of my tests, I noticed that my hair was going crazy. So I decided to play that up and make my hair go wild. After some more trials, I finally came up with a raw image that I liked:


After I finished cleaning up all of my stuff I imported the shoot onto my computer. I started by editing the image inside Lightroom, but I realized that I wanted the background to be darker so I took it to Photoshop. I started by making a selection to cut me out of the background. Then I created a new background using the gradient tool on a new layer. After that, I realized that I needed some of the old background to show through to make it look real. So, I unmasked a little of the post on the right and the bookcase on the left of the image. After all of that, here is the final product:IMG_0147-Edited

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This blog discusses Graceson's interests and ideas, including: Lightroom and Photoshop tips, photography discussions, jewelry crafting, new projects, gear reviews, and more.

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Image of GracesonMy name is Graceson Aufderheide, but you have probably figured that out already. I am currently a senior in high school who photographs, teaches, and makes jewelry. I have always been creating, that is what I do.
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