On my third day of Click Away, my first class was with Chanel French. She is amazing at self-portraits. I love the mood and vibe of her images, and I knew that I had to take her class. I want to get better at self-portraits.
For the class, I shot with the Nikon Z7 that I rented for the day. I wanted to use the Nikon Z6, but they didn’t have one available. First world problems.
Chanel walked us through her thought processes when planning a self-portrait. One of the things that she impressed upon us was to give ourselves grace if we didn’t get the image we originally envisioned. When planning a self-portrait, Chanel advised us to start with the big picture for the portrait. Think about the backdrop, lighting, and your wardrobe. If you focus on the small details, you can get lost, and never develop the concept. I found this helpful because this is where I’ve gotten stuck.
Another point that Chanel made was to look for inspiration because it is truly everywhere. Sometimes when I look at my apartment, I become discouraged because there seems to be so little space to execute a good self-portrait. I’m limiting myself by not thinking outside of the box. Chanel advised us to be awake and aware of our surroundings, and to flow with the process as much as possible.
Chanel also told us to be comfortable with our wardrobe. This is a lesson for life in general. If you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing, you will be relaxed in front of the camera, and are more than likely to flow with the process.
When posing, Chanel told us to find ways to bend your limbs to create angles. If you want to go from a more dramatic image, you can use straight limbs for this type of an image. Lighting plays a big part of your image as well. More light conveys a spirit of happiness, and moodier light brings the drama.
Chanel demonstrated all of the advice and concepts to us during the class. Not only did she help us put together a structure on how to approach self-portraits, but she also said the equipment that she uses. Her primary lens? The nifty fifty.
So the next time you’re stuck how on to execute your self-portrait, give yourself grace, and go with the flow.
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