Tag: depth

How to take emotional and meaningful self-portraits

In today’s technologically advanced world, selfies exist everywhere. With the desire to take a photo of oneself comes the desire to look visually appealing. Subconsciously, many of us seek to look acceptable because we wish to feel accepted and welcome. I myself can relate to this desire, one that has often turned into an obstacle in my creative endeavors. Though this need, which is often desperate, makes many people feel like outcasts because of their insecurities, it mustn’t be chastised. A need for acceptance through photos of yourself doesn’t mean you should ditch the mirrors in your home, abandon the art of self-portraiture, and never look at yourself again. Rather than neglecting your appearance, embrace it in an honest way, finding inspiration in the things you often avoid thinking about. Self-portraiture, in its rawest form, is both honest and gentle, revealing the photographer’s strengths and weaknesses simultaneously. Here’s are tips on how to add more emotions and depth to your self-portraits:

Understand and embrace yourself

It can be very challenging to pick out an emotion and label it accurately. Instead of trying to chase and organize your feelings, remember a movie that really touched you. The movie may not have directly explained the actors’ troubles or joys, but what it did was present you with scenes which flipped a switch in your heart. Photography, like any meaningful film, possesses a similar kind of power. Use this to your creative advantage. Read books, watch films, and listen to stories. As you do these things, your mind will get filled with fascinating ideas and the knowledge that you’re not alone, no matter strange your emotions might seem to you. Storytelling will give you the necessary confidence to take self-portraits, and the heart of a creature belonging to someone else will fill you with inspiration. Watching an incredible film right before a shoot will be especially helpful, as your inspiration will eagerly wait to be used by you.


Use nature and objects to intensify your emotions

Weather, colors, movements, and light will all help you reflect your emotions better.
Though facial expressions can often speak for themselves, their effect can be enhanced using things in your home or out in nature. Weather, for instance, can be used either as a dramatic contrast or a direct reflection of the emotion you wish to convey. A self-portrait of a dancing silhouette against a daunting, stormy background has the power to express passion, perseverance, or an inner struggle. No matter how moody or sunny it is in your area, use it to your advantage – if the weather doesn’t match your desired mood, challenge yourself by finding ways to use the current conditions to your artistic advantage.

Other elements that can further highlight an emotion are colors, movements, and light. Colors are especially useful in the editing process, where they can be altered even more to perfectly elevate the image’s atmosphere. Movement can be used to express things like haste, impatience, longing, and fear; a portrait of a person looking frightened in a room filled with falling feathers could express the subject’s fear of moving forward in life. To complement all of these elements, light must be used wisely. Experiment with it as much as you can, even on a daily basis – soon enough you’ll naturally understand what kinds of shadows and highlights would look good in a certain composition. Once you befriend light, things like colors and movements will be bonuses, instead of hindrances, in your work.



Find yourself in other people

Oftentimes, the people and things we photograph are a direct reflection of ourselves. The famous portrait photographer Richard Avedon once stated, “Sometimes I think all my pictures are just pictures of me.” When we photograph others, we usually capture them in moments we ourselves can relate to. The angles and poses we prefer are often very much our own; even the editing process is a quietly personal one.

Since self-portraiture isn’t all about human faces, take photographs of the people or things you cherish most. If you do want to include yourself in the image, place a mirror next to your subject(s) to get an interesting reflection of yourself. Whatever you do, find details, objects, and colors which speak to you and use them during your shoot. Though the results may not necessarily feature you, they’ll contain the very heart of who you are, and that can certainly be considered a self-portrait.

There are countless ways to take photographs of yourself without prioritizing perfection; photography of all types can be celebrated no matter who or what the subject is. Accepting yourself in spite of your insecurities and worries through art will make you an endlessly empathetic individual. Again, this doesn’t mean that your entire portfolio must consist of very raw photographs; what it means is that when you do feel insecure, dare to embrace it, not conceal it.

Happy shooting!

6 Ways to Add Depth and Dimension to Your Photos

One of the main challenges photographers face when trying to accurately capture any scene is achieving a realistic sense of depth, whether you’re shooting a portrait or a landscape. For centuries, artists have struggled to effectively portray a three-dimensional object in a two-dimensional image. In the absence of physical depth, artists and photographers are forced to incorporate optical illusions to create a convincing sense of visual dimension.

These techniques will help you capture a more satisfying scene, and will help viewers feel completely immersed in your work. By composing your images to enhance the feeling of depth, you’ll find that your resulting images are more powerful and dynamic. Bring your scenes to life by using these tips to make them feel more three-dimensional, interesting, and realistic.

1. Use Leading Lines

This is one of the most common composition rules artists use to achieve a sense of perspective. Look for leading lines like winding paths, city streets, or natural shore lines to draw the viewer’s eye into the distance. You can also create this effect with things like fences, walls, even fallen trees. While this method is primarily used in architectural or landscape shots, you can incorporate it into portrait compositions for a more dynamic result.

leading lines photo

Leading lines can be found almost everywhere you look, so keep your eyes open and start finding ways to incorporate them into the frame. These lines are an easy way to give your image a stronger feeling of dimension.

2. Layer Objects of Interest

Make sure your shot includes a variety of information for the viewer, to help establish a sense of space. By keeping some foreground details in the frame, as well as interesting background elements, you can effectively build a scene with substantial depth and dimension. Each composition should include a foreground, middle ground, and background, and try to find a way to connect each layer.

layer objects photo

If there’s nothing particularly interesting in the foreground, try framing the scene with branches, leaves, or grass. This can be done when shooting both landscapes and portraits to create interesting compositions with a strong element of dimension.

3. Separate Your Subject

Using a shallow depth of field, you can selectively focus on your subject and allow the rest of the photo to fade away. This will not only make your subject pop, but it increases the feeling of distance between the background, the subject, and you. This effectively creates a sense of depth and dimension, without having to adjust your composition.

separate subject photo

This technique works even better when you can leave an element in the foreground out of focus. Like mentioned above, try using leaves or branches to frame the selective focus on your subject. That way, you can maintain the three planes of your image while still highlighting one specific element, like the model in a portrait.

4. Find Repetition

A staircase, a fence, or even rows of seats in a theater can all help create a visual sensation of depth. As they decrease in size through the frame, the viewer can recognize their distance from the foreground. This information is then used by the viewer to establish a sense of space within the image.

repeating patterns photo

Repetition also allows for interesting, unique compositions, so use this technique to your advantage. You can find repetition all over. Keep your eyes open and search for opportunities to benefit from the depth it can add to your images.

5. Adjust Your Viewpoint

Shooting at eye level is great, but you’ll be able to exaggerate a scene’s perspective by crouching down and shooting from a low angle. You’ll be able to pull in more foreground elements, create a vanishing point, and force viewers to look at a scene in a completely new way.

change viewer perspective

Angling down and shooting from above can also provide this exaggerated perspective by using converging lines in a more interesting way. Just a simple change in viewpoint can often be enough to make a well-composed shot much more dynamic and dimensional. This can give viewers a new look at a familiar scene.

6. Use the Light

Often, this isn’t something you can control. However, when conditions are right, you can use light to your advantage to capture a scene with dramatic depth. The glow of the sun can help build an impressive 3-D effect, illuminating certain elements of the scene and effectively building the three planes you need in your image.

three-dimensional lighting

It doesn’t have to be sunny out for lighting to impact the dimension of your photo, though. An overcast day with clouds and fog can offer some interesting and exciting ways to achieve a great sense of depth.

The next time you’re out shooting, keep these tricks in mind. With them, you can create intriguing compositions with a strong sense of dimension. Let your viewers explore the frame by giving them the depth they need to feel drawn in. The more you practice these techniques, the easier they will become. Soon, shooting in a way that creates a feeling of depth and dimension will be second nature.