Thursday, May 17, 2012

Self-Portrait | May 2012

At the tail end of April, I took a photography workshop that I found through Groupon. It was advertised as a beginning workshop for portrait photographers who are interested in going pro, so I wasn't exactly sure what it would cover. It was reasonably priced, so I decided to take my chances and sign up for it. I was keeping my fingers crossed that I would take home some useful tips, and I wasn't disappointed.

It was a fairly basic class, detailing how to select manual settings and basic posing suggestions, but what made the class so amazing for me is that the instructor showed a video of her shooting a client session, and I picked up several ideas for things to try during my own sessions. I wanted to check out some of her methods to see if anything clicked for me as an easier way to shoot.

The other great thing she shared was a detailed process of how she instructs people to pose. Instead of just verbally telling them what she wants them to do or walking up to them and moving them herself, she demonstrates what she wants them to do with her own body and then asks them to mimic her, from her place behind her camera. To get used to doing this, she suggested that we go home and practice posing ourselves. She suggested posing ourselves using a mirror, but I wanted to see the more realistic results of posing myself in front of the camera.

What I learned was that I'd need a lot more practice if I was going to switch to this method of posing people, or all of my clients are going to end up looking as ridiculous as I did in 95% of my photos! In each image, I could see exactly what wasn't working with my positioning and how I would have directed myself to change it if I could have. If I ever manage to figure out how to pose myself without being able to look at myself and make adjustments, perhaps I'll switch to her method. But for now I think I better stick to my posing method of giving verbal directions and walking up to readjust when necessary.

Since the month of May has been consumed with trying out shooting techniques and suggestions from the seminar, I thought it fitting to use a photo of me striking a pose as my self-portrait for the month.

May's self-portrait was taken at our rental house in Phoenix, and it took some major furniture rearranging to find a decent place to take the photos.  The house we are renting is much smaller than the one we sold, and it is busting at the seams.  In order to find a place with good lighting and a background that wouldn't be too distracting, I literally had to move half of the furniture out of the living room.  Am I dedicated or what?

Honesty, I had a lot of fun taking this month's photo.  I basically held a little photo session for myself and even tried a few different outfits.  I did end up with a handful of photos that I liked, but this one was my favorite.  If you are a photog and have never done this, I highly recommend it!

Did you miss some of my past self-portraits?  Clicking here will take you to all of my self-portrait blog posts. Clicking here will take you to my self-portrait Facebook album.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area. Visit Michele's website at Become a fan of Michele's work on Facebook. Follow Michele's updates on Twitter.


  1. I really really love the picture. Great job!!

  2. Great photo Michele! I often find myself not knowing what to do when I get in front of the camera-- I need to practice more too!

  3. Beautiful!!