I’m not someone who likes to draw a lot of attention to myself. Blending in, being part of the crowd, keeping my behavior and the presentation of myself as neutral and unobtrusive as possible is the way that I typically prefer to function. Thus, making public self portraits runs counter to my natural tendencies. However, a good percentage of my life occurs in public, and I want to capture images that will remind me of what it looked like to run errands with a happy, bouncy toddler. Preplanning and a few easy shooting tricks helped me to make a recent public self portrait experience painless and quick.
Preplanning | Making Public Self Portraits
I am working through a weekly self portrait project on Instagram, called #portraitsofme with my friend Courtney of Clickitupanotch.com. The prompt for the week was “favorite cliché” and I knew instantly that I wanted to capture my stereotypically common love of Target. Our local Target becomes extremely busy from about 11am on. Taking that fact into account, I knew that I needed to plan to create my self portrait as early as possible, right after finishing school drop-off. I wanted to include my 3 year old in the picture and I knew that the Target store front should figure prominently in the image in order to make the story easily readable. As the timing of the shoot was to be early-ish morning, I planned to park on the East side of the building so that the sun would be fully illuminating the store facade. If I had chosen the West side of the building the facade would be largely in shadow, making for a tricky exposure situation with deep shadows on the building and bright highlights on the subjects who would be directly illuminated by the sun.
On Location | Making Public Self Portraits
When I drove up to the shopping center I looked over the parking area and decided to park where there were relatively few cars so that I could place one of the sliding doors of the van facing the store front, allowing me to place the camera on the van floor in lieu of a tripod. I used the Interval Timer Mode and set my camera to take 1 shot at 2 second intervals for 20 repetitions. My kiddo and I then walked towards the store, and back towards the car. It took a few cycles of ITM to figure out where to walk to stay in the frame, but the entire process took less than 5 minutes.
Even if you are averse to drawing attention to yourself, such as me, you can easily create public self portraits through careful planning and thoughtful execution.
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