You’re So Vain (Self-portrait 01)

Just because someone takes photos of themselves doesn’t mean they’re conceited.  Ok, so sometimes it does.  But when a photographer does a self-portrait, I tend to think it’s for one of two reasons:

1. They’re testing out a new photography technique (or new camera gear).

2. They’re telling a story about themselves (describing their personality).

By “self-portrait” I’m not talking about someone holding their little point-and-shoot camera in front of their face and snapping a shot for a new Facebook profile picture.  What I’m talking about is when someone busts out the tripod, works with angles and lighting, and actually puts thought into the desired outcome of the shot.

When I do self-portraits it’s usually for the first reason.  I don’t have willing subjects at my beck and call, so I’ve taken to snapping photos of myself when I want to try out a new idea.  This has become much easier to do since I got a new tripod.  And with every shot I learn more about the best way to position the camera, what settings to use, etc.  It’s kind of like being homeschooled all over again.

I do eventually want to take self-portraits that tell my story and describe my personality.  I’m terrible at making myself smile though.  I have the best cheesy fake smile in the world.  But according to the people I know, I (genuinely) smile a lot.  So I’ll have to find a way to make myself genuinely smile when it’s just me, the camera, and no one else around.  This could take a while.

In the mean time, I’m going to do a series of self-portraits.  Every week here on the blog I’ll be posting a new self-portrait.  I don’t know how long it will go on for, but it sounds like a fun project and a good way to challenge myself and broaden my expertise.

What I like about this one is how the light hits my left eye.  I was experimenting with shooting profiles in low light and got a few nice shots out of the session.  This one is my favorite.  :)

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Do-It-Yourself

What do you do when you have limited space and resources?  You get creative and make it work.

I love natural light for my photos, but I’m a wimp when it comes to cold weather.  During the winter months I’m confined to the house and I drive myself nuts because I want to take photos but space and light is limited in the house.  There is hardly a space with a clean background and light comes through the windows just right only at certain times of the day.  Missing those brief opportunities means you have to wait a whole day before you can try again.

What do you do in these challenging situations?  You get creative and make it work.  Yesterday I put up a backdrop in my studio (bedroom).  As you can see, I took the liberty of painting all over the biggest piece of blank wall space in my room, which left me without a clean background for taking photos.  I solved the problem with a backdrop.  It’s not a proper backdrop like what we had in the studio at school, but it’s definitely better than what I had before.  I can easily move the material so it drapes onto the floor, put different material up, or take the whole thing down if I want to.

If you’re going to make a backdrop like this, make sure you mount the screws or hooks into studs in the wall.  Doing so will make it very sturdy and able to hold up whatever (lightweight) material you drape over the wire.  (My backdrop fell down a couple times before I had the screws in the wall properly.)  If the material is sheer enough, you can stick some Christmas lights behind it for a little specialness.  :)

Brothers and Sisters in Christ

It’s the third day into the new year and I’m still riding on a spiritual high from attending OAFC New Years! :)

Ongoing Ambassadors For Christ has been a part of my life since junior high.  I’ve really loved growing up being involved in such a wonderful organization.  Going from being a youth to one of the adult leaders has been a great experience, and the entire time I’ve been encouraged by amazing Christian fellowship and God’s Word.

Over the past year and a half or so, I’ve evolved into being the volunteer photographer for OAFC.  Since 2006 I’ve nearly always had a little point-and-shoot camera with me at OAFC events and enjoyed snapping photos during our many activities.  When I invested in a DSLR I began taking things more seriously.  I started treating OAFC like an event I was hired to shoot.  I take photos at the local weekend events in my area, but the majority of the work is done at the national Summer Training and New Years events.  I’m now able to capture the many things we do in OAFC, freeze memories so they can be enjoyed after the events when everyone is missing their friends, and provide nice images to be used on the OAFC website and our newsletter the Crier.

I really do enjoy OAFC so much and being able to help the organization by taking photos is such a privilege.

It’s been only two days since OAFC New Years ended, but I already miss everyone.  I miss my amazing team, my friends I’ve known for so long, and my friends I’m just starting to know.  I actually felt like crying when people started leaving to travel home.  You know the phrase “brothers and sisters in Christ”?  OAFC is like that.  It’s my second family.

I can’t wait to go to the local weekend events in my area and Summer Training this year.  I’m also looking forward to the work I’ll be doing with the Board of Directors and PR Committee.

I miss my brothers and sisters in Christ and I can’t wait to see them again.  :)

(I was going to put just a few of my favorite photos from the event in this blog post, but I picked out too many favorites when I sorted through the nearly 200 finished images.  You can see the rest of them in this album.)