Tag Archives: selfie

Self Portraits, Photo Style

I experimented with taking self portrait photos today.  The #sdawpphotovoices photo-a-day prompt for September 6th is self portrait, which got me thinking about how to be creative in my approach to creating a photo portrait of myself.  I’ve done some playing around with self portraiture in the past (here and here) and have been practicing the art of the selfie as a way to document some of the outings my husband and I take.  (Otherwise I have discovered that I am absent in my own photography.)

But what does it mean to take a self portrait?  And what does it say about me and my photography?  As I set out today, I knew that I was not going to be taking the typical hold your phone out at arm’s length and shoot a photo sort of self portrait.  Instead, I wanted to focus on ways to capture portraits of myself in less typical ways.

Walking along the waterfront, I noticed a monument to those who have served in the military that had shiny marble sides.  I could see my reflection as walked by, so decided to try taking a self portrait by framing myself in the shot.

Monument selfie

I like the way the grain of the marble creates a texture on the photo, and you can see how the shade also impacted the image.

Continuing our walk, I noticed a mirror used to help cars see around corners as I went to cross a driveway.  I stood and aimed my camera as I framed myself in the mirror.

mirror selfie

It’s interesting to me the way the mirror captures the urban elements of the setting, while the background features the branches and leaves of a tree.

As we walked down the Broadway Pier, I noticed the reflective glass of the building there. Along the side of the building I could see the USS Midway, a retired military aircraft carrier, reflected in the window.  I urged my husband to join me and capture this self portrait.

Midway selfie

Geoff noticed this star on a window of a restaurant as we headed back toward where we had parked our car, so of course I had to stop to snap a photo.  The long skinny window makes an interesting frame for the self portrait.

star window selfie

We had talked earlier in our outing about the possibility of me taking a self portrait by framing myself in my husband’s sunglasses.  So as we passed the park at Seaport Village we stopped to try this technique.  It took a few tries…and we left without knowing for sure if my image would be visible.  With a bit of post production editing, this is the resulting image.

sunglass selfie

Today’s focus on self portrait photography had me paying attention to light, reflection, texture, and composition.  I was working not only to capture an image of myself, but also to document my surroundings in interesting ways.  Sometimes I noticed that I held my phone in a way that obscured my face so then I experimented with holding it lower and tried to look into the reflective surface rather than at my shutter button.

I did some post production editing to crop away extraneous material and place the focus on the portrait.  Filters helped me brighten or tone down colors and create an effect that I found pleasing.

I took many other photos today as I walked the waterfront and explored downtown San Diego, but it was fun to experiment with the self portrait too.  Taking photos of myself in reflective surfaces made me aware of the many ways I can use those surfaces to create other kinds of photos as well–things I don’t always think about as I am shooting.  I know I’ll be doing some experimenting over the next week or so!

What do you learn when you take photographic self portraits?  What techniques are your favorites?  I’d love to hear from you!

Haunted Wedding Selfies

Last weekend I attended a haunted wedding. Okay…maybe not a haunted wedding, but a wedding that took place in an old southern mansion…that just might be a little bit haunted. The Riverwood Mansion is located in a residential neighborhood outside of Nashville, TN. There are the requisite beautiful tall old trees, long gravel driveway, and stately old architecture complete with a pillared front porch. (You can see a photo of the mansion in yesterday’s post, here.)

Don’t get me wrong, this was a lovely wedding. The early evening outdoor wedding in the garden area enjoyed a warm gentle spring breeze, sunlight just beginning to settle down into the treetops, and of course a gorgeous bride walking down the aisle to join my nephew in marriage. And the idea of haunted really didn’t cross my mind—at least consciously at that point. I knew the wedding would take place at a venue that was an old plantation house, and of course all things southern come with lots of history (and often a ghost or two!) as well as rich, and often complicated stories..

It wasn’t until the reception that ghosts and haunting crossed my mind. The sun had set and candles and twinkly lights accompanied the softly lit reception room and the house itself. We headed up the stairs for the buffet and found ourselves in front of an old, elegant floor-to-celling mirror. I immediately wished for my phone/camera (the downside of women’s dresses—most, including mine, lack pockets) as I saw the four of us in the mirror. Luckily, Geoff had his phone and snapped a picture of us in the mirror. As I looked at the photo, I kept expecting to see the image of a ghost in the background—like the hitchhiking ghosts on the haunted mansion ride at Disneyland.

4 of us

And I couldn’t resist. After dinner and the toasts by family and friends, I headed off with my phone on a photo walk. I found old upholstered furniture with that velveteen fabric and intricately carved wooden backs that seemed to be so popular in the past.


And an interesting staircase with solid wood banisters leading to rooms above with a stained glass window highlighting the landing below.


I peered out a window into the garden where the wedding took place and noticed the archway lit up with tiny lights. When I went to take a photo…an apparition appeared…me!

dark reflection

And from that point on, every photo I took seemed to capture my own reflection…in windows, in mirrors…

fireplace selfie

And then I had to pose just one…I dragged my husband back to that mirror I described before so we could pose in that silvered, antique mirror. And the result seems to me to be a new (or old and new) version of the famous American Gothic painting with the man and woman and the pitchfork. Our version replaces the overalls and farm clothes with wedding finery and the pitchfork with our cellphones…and I love the result.

american gothic selfie

My poor husband…I’ve been spending time over the last week or so working on improving my selfie skills—most with him included. And then, without even thinking about it, the wedding created unplanned selfies. I think I will call this series of selfies the Haunted Wedding Selfies.

Have you taken any haunted selfies? Or maybe just unexpected selfies? How are they different from your intentional selfies? Or is all of this just an exercise in narcissism and vanity? It probably is…but it’s also fun. I’d love to see an example of an unexpected or haunted selfie from you…share please..and link back to this post!

Do You Selfie?

This week’s Weekly Photo Challenge on the Daily Post is the selfie–that ubiquitous self-portrait, usually taken on a mobile device.  They highlight the National #Selfie Portrait Gallery, an exhibit of the art of the self-portrait or selfie.

I’m not much of a selfie taker.  I don’t love to post photos of myself on social media and there are just so many other interesting things to take photos of that it doesn’t occur to me to turn the lens on myself.

But when I saw the challenge, I realized that I do have a small collection of selfies.  This one, taken in the Natural History Museum in Denver, is one of my favorites.  I couldn’t resist the multiple mirrors…and then I used some editing apps to transform the image into an artistic interpretation of me.

museum selfie

I had fun playing with the colored light at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, creating a refracted light selfie.


A mirrored wall at the Getty Museum created an opportunity to catch a selfie of myself…with my son, and a little of the marble surfaces of the buildings and walkways.

getty selfie

And since so many of my photo are of landscapes and the natural beauty of the place where I live, I do snap of few shadow selfies.  (Is that a selfie sub-genre?)  This one was taken on an exercise walk…you can see my sweatshirt tied around my waist.


And then the classic shadow couple selfie…my hubby and I out on one of my picture taking expeditions.  I was loving the long and lean shadow here.


On social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) I see some people who document their actions through selfies.  They snap pictures of themselves at landmarks, with friends, eating and drinking…  It seems to be a way to create a scrapbook of sorts of the moments they want to remember.  And as you can see, I do a few of my own.  Most of my selfies come from moments where the picture of myself (or my shadow) emerges as a way to play with photography–to try something a bit different and maybe even to prove I am physically present in some way.  I do capture the occasionally accidental selfie–standing in my own light and causing a shadow, shooting a reflective surface and surprising myself with a picture of myself instead of the image I was after.

Do you selfie?  Do you have a signature style or a classic pose?  Do you favor using your front facing camera on your phone, shooting into reflective surfaces or capturing shadows?  Do you post on social media or just share privately with friends?  What do your selfies say about you?