Aug 18, 2011

{Featured Photographer}

We have an awesome post today that actually ties in with this Tuesdays 'selfie' theme! Today's guest blogger is an amazing, inspirational artist who really takes self portraits to a whole new level.  She was kind enough to take some time to put together seven tips/steps to helping you with your self portraits and to give you a little push to be more creative.  Who may this amazing artist be you ask??  Well it can't be anyone else but the talented Alex Beadon!!
Hi everyone! I am so thrilled to be guest posting here on the Lemonade and Lenses blog! Today I am going to be discussing self portraiture which, as of January of this year, has been my new-found photography crush. It has helped me grow so much as an artist by showing me what it feels like to be in front of the camera, and by teaching me that you need to rely less on your subject and more on your creativity to make an image stand out.  Here are my top seven steps to creating beautiful self portraits. I really hope you guys find this helpful!
1) Make sure you have the right equipment!
You will want to have the following:
1) A camera with a self timer option, 2) A tripod to hold your camera at the right angles and heights, 3) A remote control so that you don't have to continually run back and forth between you and your camera.
I use a Canon 5d mark ii, a Velbon tripod and a Canon RC-1 remote control.
These three things will make your life so much easier.
2) Find a focusing system that works for you.
I place an object in front of the camera in the exact spot where I will be standing or sitting. That way I know that I will be in focus and I won't have to waste too much time with focusing issues.
3) Know your concept before you set up.
What kind of image are you going for? A natural self portrait? A conceptual self portrait? A moody self portrait? Find inspiration in the world around you - base your self portrait on the last movie you watched, one of your favourite songs, an event that's going on in your life. Or set yourself a challenge to create a self portrait that represents a certain word - love, envy, nature, and so on. Let your mind run free and try to push yourself to create something absolutely incredible. Everything matters - clothes, make up, hair, location etc.. - so make sure it all comes together with your concept, no matter how simple or complicated it is.
4) Think about the set up and perfect it before you start shooting.
As mentioned earlier, I always put an object in my place so that I can focus on it properly and know where I'll be in relation to everything else in the picture. I think about the lighting, the composition, the camera settings. When I have everything perfect in camera, I turn on the camera's self-timer option, get into position, and click away with my remote. I take about 10-20 photos, moving just a little bit for each photo so that I can pick my favourite afterwards. Then I run to the camera to check that I am in focus etc.. Then I go back to the position and try a bit of a different pose/look, take 10-20 photos and then run back to the camera to check that I'm in focus... and so on.
5) It's okay to mess up.
I've been doing self portraits since January of this year, and to this day I still get the focus off in every self portrait shoot I do - it's impossible to get it perfect 100% of the time when you can't be behind the camera and in front of the camera at the same time. I found that using an object as a focus point has been very helpful in speeding up the process to perfect focus, but I still get it wrong from time to time and as frustrating as it can be, I've come to learn that it's okay to mess up. Practice makes perfect, and sometimes the blurry ones look pretty cool blurry and can be a happy mistake :).
6) Once you have the "safe" shot, try something different.
You're on location, you're there with your tripod, camera and remote (and focusing object), you might as well take a few more - right? Look around you in search for the perfect light. Having amazing light and a bad location beats having bad light and an amazing location every single time - hands down. So - look for the light. Then see how you can incorporate yourself into that location with the amazing light in an interesting and unique way.
7) Be Original!
Think outside of the box. Erase all of your preconceived notions of self portraiture, and create something for you. Forget what everyone else will think or say. All that matters is that you are creating something that your eyes and mind will enjoy looking at and find visually interesting. Don't pressure yourself, just create.
And there you have it - seven steps to creating beautiful self portraits! Now it's up to you to rock it out! :) Good luck!

Thank you again Alex for taking the time to put this together.   I think it's exactly what we needed to get inspired to go out and try a self portrait!!  What do you guys think??


  1. What an inspirational piece. Thank you so much for sharing. ~ Rebecca

  2. alex, we soooooo love this and how awesome for you to give actual steps to help out those who are either very new to this, a little self conscious or even a pro who might need a little inspiration!
    gigi and lexi

  3. Love this post! I always try to do self portraits and the focus is always off! I'm trying your tips out next time for sure. Thanks!

  4. Thanks so much to the fabulous girls of Lemonade and Lenses for featuring me here! :) I loved sharing with your readers!

  5. Very well written & inspirational post with great pictures! Definitely gonna keep your tips in mind. Thanks for sharing your experience, Alex!

  6. Beautiful pictures! What kind of tripod are you using and what height it need to be?