Although the term “selfie” has only been around since 2002, the concept is far from new. The debut of the portable camera in 1900 led to self-portraiture becoming a more widespread phenomenon. Bill Coyle’s photograph, taken at the Lincoln Memorial, demonstrates some modern techniques we use for capturing the best selfies. For example, angling the camera from slightly above is always best, since taking one from below will make your proportions seem distorted. Also, natural lighting can provide ideal illumination for a selfie, with soft and diffused light being the most flattering for all complexions.
For photographers, rain is often a significant deterrent from going outside and shooting. However, rain should not dissuade you from getting out there and taking great photos; just check out Eric Merideth’s photo here! Overcast weather can often result in photographs that are dark and gloomy. To let more light in you may want to consider opening up your aperture like Meredith who shot this image at f/8. You may find it challenging to take steady pictures in this kind of environment; consider using a tripod to help eliminate shakiness and trembling.
The best portrait photographs are always the ones where the subject looks relaxed and natural, and Miki Jourdan’s photo here does a great job of that. Looking directly into the camera, the woman looks comfortable as she rests her head against the mirror’s frame gracing the viewer with a soft smile, and I, in turn, found myself smiling back at her. For many subjects who are not professional models, it can be tough for them to get into a confident mental state. As the photographer, it is your job to help them with that. One suggestion is to get your subject into position then forget about controlling the pose and just start shooting! Talk to your subject, make them laugh and capture those in-between moments. The results will often be far better than taking photos of a subject in poses that are rigid and static.
The ability to manipulate shadows with varying shades of light can result in significant variations of the same composition. Having the ability to work with these elements is a mark of a skillful photographer. In this image, John J Young uses the shadow of the tree trunk to direct the viewer’s attention to the tree and its branches that stretch across the frame. From this, we become aware of the extensive detail of the branches of the tree, as its silhouette is highlighted against the light emanating from the sky. As a side note, when the sun is closer to the horizon, the shadows will be longer, which can add a sense of drama to a photograph as demonstrated here. Kudos to Young for his excellent photo!
In this photo, Harrison Jones presents a unique perspective of the Super Blue Blood Moon that graced our skies not too long ago. This multiple exposure was taken as a time-lapse over the course of an hour. As Jones described it, “The unmodified combined images were taken roughly every four minutes for the duration of the moonset, and then finished with a brighter exposure of Washington once the moon was obscured by clouds.” Thanks for sharing your skills with us, Harrison!