The Self-Portrait Series | Personal Project / by Emily Margaret

At the start of this year I had been thinking about starting an on-going photography project. Of course, I had several ideas, but picking just one to start? That's a hard call.

January Self portrait | Emily Margaret

One afternoon in late January I was experimenting with my new tripod and remote shutter (thanks mom & dad!), when I had the idea to do a self-portrait series. As a photographer, I'm most comfortable behind the camera and feel absolutely ridiculous taking photos of myself. So what better than to do a self-portrait project? *insert sarcasm*

Really though, I've read countless articles on personal projects and the self-portrait series has been touted as an excellent way to challenge yourself creatively in a completely different way. When you're in front of the camera instead of behind it when you hit the shutter, you have to pre-set up the shot, which is much more difficult that it seems at first. So throughout this year, I'm going to shoot one portrait for each month and I'll write a bit about how it came about, how I set it up, etc etc.

This image was shot in my room against a blank white wall, with late afternoon light coming in from two windows-one in the front and one to my right. I used my 50mm f/1.8 lens and my camera settings were f/1.8, 1/60 shutter, without flash. It took several tries to get my focus set where I wanted it on the necklace I was wearing. Setting the focus on auto resulted in the focus in the wrong place, so I set it to manual, took a shot, and then adjusted until I got it where I wanted it. Post-processing was done in Lightroom 5, where I converted to b&w, bumped up the exposure and contrast, clipped the blacks for a matte effect, and added a radial filter to increase the vignette. I thought about keeping it in color, but the vibe I wanted from it came through better in b&w.

What do you think? Have you ever done a self-portrait project?