kramon blog

cycling between video and photography with an HDSLR at hand

DIY portraiture

with 65 comments

DIY portrait

jump portraits: the funnest ones to make!

Do you, as a photographer, have the same problem?

I have plenty of pictures of the people around me. But when asked; I haven’t got a decent one of myself. At parties and social events, at home or on holidays, I’m usually the one taking the pictures ’cause you do it so well’.

And the thing is; almost everybody needs pictures of themselves for their avatars or websites or…

The only (relatively) decent pictures I have of myself, are the ones taken by fellow photographers while out on one of our photo-safaris or somewhere at a workshop. But there’s a way to get your portrait more easely: Do It Yourself! …as in the best punk tradition.

AND; there’s much you can learn by taking/making your own portrait.

When I think of a new light-plan, or want to test some new gear; I pretty quickly want to try it out. I’ve bored my wife, children and even the cat to death with these testshoots. Their interest in the tieniest of light/aperture/shutter variations… well; let’s just say they couldn’t care less. Bless them.

DIY portrait

testing an Elinchrome Quadra turns me into a... cowboy?

– What do you need?

1/ Besides your camera and yourself, having a decent tripod is important… You’re able to frame your picture the same way every shot. Every variation you try will also be more visible/detectable that way. And if you want to experiment with long exposures: no problemo.

2/ Space: almost every room (or garden, or field,…) fits! The tiniest of rooms can throw the biggest of challenges at you. Welcome them. Just try and make a decent picture in your bathroom. It’s good practice for when you’re out on a real shoot and are confronted with closet-sized offices where you have to portray the CEO… believe me: it will happen.

Quadra Testing fun

Quadra Testing fun

3/ Time: take lot’s of it. don’t be happy too quickly; see where you can improve and do it. Try to mimic the style of a photographer you admire and do it step by step; what’s the composition? what lenses does he/she use? what kinda light is at play? where’s the focus? how is the colour being used? …

The nice thing is; you get to see menus in your camera you wouldn’t otherwise go into. You can learn new ways of doing things (how do I focus myself?). You realize how difficult posing can be. But above all: it’s fun! Now GO PLAY!

….and show me what you did yourself via the comments.


Written by kristoframon

June 23, 2010 at 09:53

65 Responses

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  1. Great post! I always wonder why my photog friends have few excellent self-portraits!


    June 23, 2010 at 15:23

  2. VERY cool jumping photo of you!


    June 23, 2010 at 15:23

    • I agree! Love the jump, the setting.


      June 23, 2010 at 19:46

  3. Wonderful self portraits, great tips, and tight well-written prose. Who could ask for more? Me! More, please.

    jim Sizemore

    June 23, 2010 at 15:43

    • I agree! Put up some more pictures please. These are great. Love the lighting in the jumping one.


      July 2, 2010 at 16:20

  4. For years I had the same problem, and it almost became a philosophical dilemma for me: to be involved or to observe?

    I now have a roommate who is a far better photographer (with better equipment). Now I do have photos of myself!

    New problem… I don’t take photos anymore. :P

    Daren Stottrup

    June 23, 2010 at 15:51

  5. Cool post — and good advice! Nice idea to take the portrait outside, like you did in a field. My favorite is the one with your hat blowing off in the distance. Congrats on Freshly Pressed!


    June 23, 2010 at 16:00

  6. agree with you..
    the photographer always have the least no of pics in an album!


    June 23, 2010 at 16:21

  7. Your jumping photo is what got me to click on your blog. Very eye catching and great ideas! Thanks!

    Lissa Rabon

    June 23, 2010 at 16:26

  8. I dig the jump!


    June 23, 2010 at 16:29

  9. My 18 year old daughter is the offical family photographer – find she is not in many picutes either… unless it’s with her cell phone raised above her head in front of a mirror….

    Anyway –

    Love your self portraits!


    June 23, 2010 at 16:49

  10. Oh I love your article. I am in that situation right now, where I am planning on taking a family photo, with my Olympus. And then going to Costco, to have it developed. They have these really great deals, where you can have them developed into canvas, or poster board. So this is timely. Thanks for sharing, praying God bless you, as you take your photographs….Elena



    June 23, 2010 at 16:54

  11. Be careful not to break a hip when you take those jumping photos!

    The Codger


    June 23, 2010 at 17:02

  12. What a cool idea! I love your photos too! I have been thinking of getting into photography and it wouldn’t have crossed my mind to practice on my own self. Neat!

    Have a great day,

    Currie Rose

    June 23, 2010 at 17:04

  13. Great post! It’s a good thing I’m camera-shy, I don’t miss out by being behind the camera. Or maybe I’m behind the camera because I don’t want to be in front of it!


    June 23, 2010 at 17:28

  14. You’re lighting is awesome in these shots. I wish I had the money for some decent lights…or any lights for that measure. I’m strategically placing lamps in my room at times!

    I too have the same issue of having no good photos of myself. I’m always the one taking the pictures. My problem is coming up with a concept for self portraits. Yours are great with the hat. Tossing it, standing in the field. Good stuff!


    June 23, 2010 at 17:33

    • the nice thing is; it doesn’t have to be about the flashes you use… natural light is awsome at times!
      or at night: get your flashlight out and try to portrait yourself via lightpainting. no big cost, nothing fancy! don’t let (the lack of) money hold you back.
      thx for the comment. have fun.


      June 23, 2010 at 17:51

      • Oh, I still give it a go and take the best pictures I can, sometimes I’m just limited by the light I do have. Which right now consists of natural, house lights, and the pop up flash on my Canon T1i. This is my first DSLR and after fronting the money on the camera I’m broke :) Rockin’ the kit lens too!


        June 24, 2010 at 03:37

  15. […] Do you, as a photographer, have the same problem? I have plenty of pictures of the people around me. But when asked; I haven't got a decent one of myself. At parties and social events, at home or on holidays, I'm usually the one taking the pictures 'cause you do it so well'. And the thing is; almost everybody needs pictures of … Read More […]

  16. Great info! Thanks for sharing! :o)

    Debra Ham

    June 23, 2010 at 18:08

  17. Really well done. I have a couple of self portraits that I really like but since having kids a few years ago seems like the camera is always pointed away from me these days.

    robert barreda

    June 23, 2010 at 18:51

  18. I’m feeling you on having few photos of myself. When they are taken by other people, I feel like they just don’t rise to the level I can take. I love your suggestions and will definitely keep reading this blog. =) By the way, I have the same problem with my husband and cats … they just don’t care that much!

  19. Fantastic! Though I would love to see the fails that take place whilst trying to adjust to self timers.

    Though there’s always remote timers, which are nifty, save for those moments when they just randomly decide NOT to work.



    June 23, 2010 at 19:14

  20. I’m trying to do more SPs this year. The challenge I face is the focusing – because I do not have a remote. I need a remote.


    June 23, 2010 at 19:27

    • focusing is indeed the major one with these shoots… I put it in manual and adjust until I get it right. thereafter: it’s playtime!


      June 23, 2010 at 19:39

  21. oh these pix are just lovely- each of them. love the way the sky looks. the first one is dfinitely in the ‘framing for posterity’ category.


    June 23, 2010 at 19:44

  22. genius man.


    June 23, 2010 at 19:44

  23. This is totally what I’m doing – but in a complete slack, instant pose styleeee.

    I’m documenting a year of my life in clothes, a different outfit everyday, generally using a webcam.


    kirsty allison

    June 23, 2010 at 20:02

  24. my sister is the family photographer BUT we carry the tripod EVERYWHERE so she’s included as well!


    June 23, 2010 at 20:23

  25. What cool shots! I regret not taking more photos of me and my family. Thanks for sharing the information, too.


    June 23, 2010 at 20:26

  26. Awesomeness! here’s one that I did recently that I love


    June 23, 2010 at 20:27

    • always fun multiplying yourself in post
      might do that in my jump pic with 7/8 xtra hats in frame from different shots…


      June 23, 2010 at 20:31

  27. Very good point. The picture taker is rarely in the picture. I must remedy this myself.


    June 23, 2010 at 20:32

  28. Love your jumping shot…I was kind of hoping for more info on how you captured it.

    I think that I want to go and jump too.


    June 23, 2010 at 20:49

  29. I agree! I’m always usually behind the camera and for most of the time, I’m fine with that but you know, sometimes it’d be good to have a really good shot of myself. I think I happen to take good ones of my friends so it’s only fair, right? :P


    June 23, 2010 at 21:29

  30. Zeer leuk :) !


    June 23, 2010 at 22:05

  31. Love the lighting on these! Nice hat, too :-} Saw you on WordPress with their Freshly Pressed.

    ~ calista ~

    June 23, 2010 at 22:23

  32. Congrats on making Freshly Pressed! I need more pics of myself….I’m always the one behind the camera! But my toddler and infant are much easier to get good pictures of, I never like the way I look in photos!
    Love the shot of you in a field!


    June 23, 2010 at 22:48

  33. Well, since you mentioned punk, I was in need of a picture for a lecture on Catullus (long story) and it was just too embarrassing to ask anyone else, so it was just me setting my lame point-n-shoot camera up in my medicine cabinet…at this point I have no dignity, so why not share:

    Love the jumping shot, and the hat!


    June 23, 2010 at 23:50

  34. Well, you’ve said it all! I just came back from a trip in Whistler. I love mountains and I’ll go back as soon as I can. I had that very problem. Wanted to have a picture of me that had some “FEEEEEEEEELING” and how can you explain to anyone how to catch such a moment?

    I’ve spent long minutes explaining to a reluctant tourist how I wanted a shot: “fist focus on me, then keep your finger on the button halfway (so the focus will be locked) then place me in the first third and take the picture…” O_o I had the dear-in-the-headlight look.

    Next day I had to use a tripod and a timer, guessing the focus to have a decent shot (success… but still).

    I know the pain!!!

    JF L'Internaute

    June 24, 2010 at 01:23

  35. That’s so true! I don’t have any good photographs of myself. Love your blog x


    June 24, 2010 at 02:07

  36. great jump shot! awesome background!


    June 24, 2010 at 05:11

  37. nice post!


    June 24, 2010 at 05:24

  38. Great! I read and hope to try your advices as soon as possible.

    Thanks a lot!


    June 24, 2010 at 06:12

  39. […] Do you, as a photographer, have the same problem? I have plenty of pictures of the people around me. But when asked; I haven't got a decent one of myself. At parties and social events, at home or on holidays, I'm usually the one taking the pictures 'cause you do it so well'. And the thing is; almost everybody needs pictures of … Read More […]

  40. Can I get a witness? About three years ago, two of my girlfriends and I were all pregnant at about the same time. Who took their pregnancy photos? Me. And who took mine? Me. I have found that if I want my personal portrait taken, I have to do it myself. All of the photographer’s whose work I admire the most, I can’t afford. That leaves me, a tripod and a remote. However, like you said, it’s great practice for when I need to take it out into a real-life scenario.

    Loved the article and congrats on the fresh pressed recognition! ~kl

    Karen Lee

    June 24, 2010 at 06:23

  41. I love this post. I just hope I have my own cam for a DIY portait of myself. LOL

    I’ll put your blog on my blogroll, I hope you wouldn’t mind…


    June 24, 2010 at 06:36

  42. Love it!! Best punk traiditon!! Love the jumping pic… very cool idea!


    June 24, 2010 at 07:43

  43. image when jumping with stylish …
    good but a little bit brighter … source


    June 24, 2010 at 07:47

  44. I love that photo of you jumping! Very cool! I now want to try it for myself!


    June 24, 2010 at 09:09

  45. There is an old riddle:

    A town has two barbers. The first is meticulously clean-shaved and has a face free of scars. The other has uneven stubs overall his faces and seen blood drawn on a number of occasions.

    Which barber do you chose?

    The answer is the latter, because they shave each other (in the not-entirely-foolproof assumption of the riddle).

    The same could apply to photographers.


    June 24, 2010 at 10:44

  46. All the pictures of my girlfriend and I are mainly taken with a camera/phone with one of us holding it at arm’s length. Consequently we have to bunch up together to get in the frame. It’s romantic, but it does look like we are joined at the hip or something!


    June 24, 2010 at 12:53

  47. thans for great sharing

    Teksan Makina

    June 24, 2010 at 12:53

  48. genoious man.


    June 24, 2010 at 13:18

  49. […] Do you, as a photographer, have the same problem? I have plenty of pictures of the people around me. But when asked; I haven't got a decent one of myself. At parties and social events, at home or on holidays, I'm usually the one taking the pictures 'cause you do it so well'. And the thing is; almost everybody needs pictures of … Read More […]

  50. This blog post made a follower out of me. Thank you for sharing.


    June 24, 2010 at 13:57

  51. What a cool idea!
    I love your photos too! I have been thinking of getting into photography

    This is my blog


    June 24, 2010 at 15:10

  52. I just remembered I had a pretty sweet jumping shot. It’s not of me, but it was my first time shooting in a studio at school with strobes. It’s posted on my bluecanvas site.


    June 24, 2010 at 15:28

  53. The pictures along-side your blog is what got me reading your step-by-step approach to the practice of self-pictures/portaits…I’ll pass your blog onto my sister (she’s a photographer and will really like reading/seeing your stuff). Thanks for sharing this!


    June 25, 2010 at 15:04

  54. Nice blog bro!

    Madhav / Harshad

    June 26, 2010 at 15:00

  55. those are some pretty epic shots. props to you ^_^


    July 4, 2010 at 20:05

  56. Hey, awesome website. I actually came across this on Yahoo, and I am stoked I did. I will definetely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the post and bring a bit more to the table, but am just absorbing as much info as I can at the moment. thanks for sharing.



    July 6, 2010 at 03:31

  57. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

    Thanks for the photography tips, and your pictures are very well done.


    July 8, 2010 at 17:02

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