I’m not a big fan of posting selfies, but while I enjoy landscape and nature photography, I also often find myself wanting to include people in my photographs, and having no one around to model for me, end up using myself. There are advantages and disadvantages to being your own model. The most obvious disadvantage is that it is difficult to be both a model and a photographer at the same time. My camera is too heavy to put on a selfie stick, and I generally do not have my tripod with me, so I have to place the camera on the ground, or on a rock, or on a desk, or whatever I can find at hand. This makes getting the right angle difficult. Even more problematic is getting the right focus. I tend to shoot with a narrow DOF, where if the focal distance is even a bit off, it renders the subject too blurry. So, I usually try to place an object where I intend my face to be and focus on that, but unless my head is going to be on the floor, it’s hard to get an object to float in space in the area where I intend to place my head so I often I have to focus on the floor and then change the angle of the camera, which is not a perfect solution, so usually I have to take a shot, check the focus, adjust, take another shot… Then, there’s the fact that I can’t see myself while taking the photo so I don’t really know how I look until I review it in the viewfinder. One solution for those problems is to take photos using a mirror so that I can see what I’m taking.
There are some advantages to using yourself as a model. For one thing, you don’t have to feel self-conscious about fiddling with stuff while the model sits waiting for you. I tend to be very patient with myself. Also, with no distracting conversation, I can just focus on getting the shot set up how I want it. And, wherever I go, there I am, so I can take portraits whenever and wherever I might find a free moment, like at my school in the early mornings.
Or on my veranda at home.
Sometimes I like to play with frames and double exposures. Double exposures are one way of creating ghostly images, and I think ghosts add an element of mystery to a photo.
Long exposures are another way of making ghosts.
I tried getting my wife to participate in one of my ghost photo sessions, but she was enjoying her newspaper and I couldn’t get her to exit the frame halfway through each six second exposure so I ended up being the only ghost and having to haunt her (though she never noticed).
I still prefer doing portraits with others as it creates a dynamic tension which is influenced by the relationship formed between the photographer and the subject, and which makes each portrait shoot unique. But, I’ve also reluctantly come to appreciate the aesthetic of the selfie, and the challenges that come with it. So, likely I will continue to do self portraits from time to time, so long as I don’t get fed up with myself.