You Need to Take More Self-Portraits

As photographers, we may not always think about taking pictures of ourselves, but having a current headshot is extremely important. Think of it as your own personal little billboard that allows people to see your ability as a photographer. After all, if you don't have a good picture of yourself on your website, what would make anybody believe that you can take quality pictures of anyone else?

Before I get in too deep, a majority of this article, which I plan on keeping short and sweet, pertains to portrait and headshot photographers. Although having a nice headshot never hurt anyone. 

You Are the Face of Your Business

As I mentioned above, having a current headshot is a great way to showcase your work. It allows your potential clients to see a glimpse of your ability and it also gives them reassurance that you take pride in your craft. If you don't even care enough about taking a professional portrait of yourself, in their eyes, you probably won't put much effort into their portraits either. On the other hand, if you have a friend who can take your portrait for you, by all means, take advantage of that!

It's Good Practice

Another great reason to take self portraits is to try out new lighting techniques. There are plenty of times where I might want to try something new, but I don't want to waste a models time on something that might look stupid. This is where I become my own subject. Practicing different lighting scenarios is worthwhile because it allows you to work out all the kinks before you get on location with clients waiting.

Regardless of whether or not you currently take your own portraits, it's a great habit to get into. I know I hated taking self-portraits when I first became a photographer because it always seemed to take a ton of time, and I only came away with one or two usable images. In the above video, I share just a few tips that have helped me take better self-portraits where the process doesn't make me want to pull my hair out. Check it out, and hopefully, you'll be on your way to taking the best self-portraits anyone has ever seen!

If you're looking for a few laughs, scroll down and check out some of my self-portraits throughout the years. You're welcome in advance (apologies for the poor quality, I had to pull most of these from the archives)

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15 Comments

Stas Aleksandersson's picture

Also known as selfies.

Mr Hogwallop's picture

Wow you have a lot of self portraits...I think I have two with 10 years in between them.

Simon Patterson's picture

That's two more than me! But I think he has a good point, and I will be taking his advice.

David Vaughn's picture

To be fair, it helps to be attractive. lol

Spy Black's picture

Yes, sometimes a self-portrait is not a good idea for branding. ;-)

Jeff McCollough's picture

What kind of background setup do you have?

Jeff Carpenter's picture

It's just a 5' x 7' collpsable scrim and a single strobe firing at that. If you check out the video there's a couple behind the scenes shots that show the backdrop setup.

In the "This is my serious face" one you look very much like (a young) Michael Stipe!

Norbert Palša's picture

my last selfie (profile pic) - cable tethered Nikon D40 on a tripod, 50mm lens, LED strip leftover, Camera Control Pro 2, triggered with wireless mouse in hand, instant preview on laptop :D

Jeff Carpenter's picture

That'll work for sure! never thought about using a wireless mouse.

Samuel Flores Sanchez's picture

Also, I find that it helps me a lot in my model's direction skills due to a better understanding of the model's psychology since you put yourself in his/her place.
GodDamnint!!!! I never thought the Peter Hurley's squinting thing was so hard...!!!!!

Jeff Carpenter's picture

HAHA for real though! I can never get that quite right!

Philip A Swiderski Jr's picture

Self Portraits are good for keeping your profile up to date. They are good practice for camera and lens settings. As well as lighting technique and to try out new concepts when you dont have a model handy. As always if you like to play with your camera and work on processing and editing, Self Portraits are always a good way to go.

Like mine, I called Dimensional Darkness.

Jeff Carpenter's picture

especially when you want to try new or crazy things and not waste someones (model) time in the process.

Samuel Flores Sanchez's picture

This Spanish photographer started at age 13 making self-portraits and she makes a style from them.

http://cristinaotero.com/portfolio/tutti-frutti/

I hope you like it!