Do you want to reate magical and unique self-portraits? Take your selfie game to the next level by following these tips from the talented Norway based photographer Anne Marthe Widvey.
1. Be a monkey
If you want to make the best out of an outdoor portrait shoot, you just have to move yourself. I normally use my 50mm lens, and move myself wound the model from every single angle. I never use a zoom lens, because I’m afraid that in stead of moving myself (that is way easier), I’m just zooming and get a lot of similar images. The best part with moving yourself is that the model can focus on the pose instead of focusing of everything else. Lay on the ground, jump or climb on everything around you.
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2. Use the nature to create cool effects
I never use anything else than natural light. I also never use anything else beside my camera and my lenses. If you want to get a dreamy look/light on your images, you can just hold for example a leaf next to lens. Then you’ll get a cool effect that looks like you’re shooting between something. If you use white paper and do the same thing, it looks like the images is getting more sunlight.
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3. Shoot a lot of images
You probably read before that you should never take more than the images you want to use. But how do you know that you want to use some of them? I just don’t get this rule. I have two 32GB and one 64GB memory card with me and shoot a lot of images. Some of them looks the same and some of them aren’t good at all. I mean that its better to have too many images instead of having just a few.
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4. Use manual focus
I never shoot with auto focus. I always use manual because then I have to control what to focus on and what I want to be sharp. If you use auto focus, I bet a lot of you have uploaded your images on your computer and then “DAMN IT! the face isn’t in focus” or “aargh.. I focused on the nose instead of her eyes” – you find out that it wasn’t focused. Well – that never happens if you learn to shoot manual
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5. Be funny
If you want real laughs and smiles, don’t just stand there and tell them to smile. Be funny or at least think that you’re funny. Sometimes you may have to struggle to get them laugh, but I promise you it’s worth it. The kids are easy, but grown-ups thinks “poop” and “fart” are funny words too. 😀
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6. Take a lot of selfies
I take a lot of selfies. haha. This is because I can say whatever I want to myself, complain about my pose without hurting someone, I don’t have too look or pay for models, I can shoot the idea i just came up with right a way, I don’t need to shoot and assist. If you take a lot of selfies, you’ll learn a lot of how hard it is to set up everything. You need to find out where to stand because you need the focus right, you need to get the right shadows and light, you have to pull the trigger (if you don’t have a tripod and a self remote) and you have to judge the images to see if there is any images that you can use. + if you want a cool location and a cool costume, you also have to balls. Because people will look at you and you will feel like an idiot. I’ve been walking around the streets with skull makeup, superhero costumes and act like a normal person just to get the right image.
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7. Buy a notebook and a pen
I have a small notebook where I write everything down. If I see a cool location, I take a picture of it with my phone and then write it down where it is, what I want to shoot and when. If you’re doing a wedding shoot and the costumers wants you to find the perfect location, you have your notebook with plenty of locations and ideas. This tip is also perfect when it comes to gearing up your creativity. I can sit for several hours writing down ideas and images that I want to shoot. If you pick yourself a theme, and then try to write down everything that pops up in your head – I bet you’ve come up with something already. Like Halloween, what scares you? what are you afraid of? what did you hate the most when you where I child? Write it down and try to do a shoot out of it.
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8. Use the right aperture
If you don’t know what aperture is, google it. Its really easy to understand. For every portrait shoots you’ll do, it’s best to shoot with a wide aperture. I normally use an aperture around f/1.2-2.8. If I shoot more that 5-6 people, I shoot with f/3.5-4.0. The reason why I shoot with a wide aperture is because the background behind your model/yourself is getting blurred. It gives your image a nice softness and you’re making your model stand out better. I prefer to get the background as blurry as possible.
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9. Break the rules
Forget the rules. I never use them. Use your creativity and shoot what’s in your mind instead. If you want to place your model in the dead center, then do it! Its your image. You can do and shoot whatever you want. This can make a really cool portrait and even magical.
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10. Be patient
Its important to understand that it takes a lot of hard work and time to be a good photographer. You have to fail a lot and take a lot of crappy images to shoot good once. I’m not saying I’m the best, but I know that I take better portraits now then I did for 2 years ago. I hate the images I took a few years ago. I’ve also hated my work so much that I’ve almost quit shooting. But I didn’t. I took a lot more images instead. If you shoot a lot of portraits every year and let yourself fail, I promise you that you will learn so much more and see that you’ve getting better. Don’t delete your images – then you can’t see your progress.
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Anne Marthe Widvey
I’m a self-though photographer from Norway. I started with photography when I was a teenager and now work as a full-time photographer in Haugesund. What’s so special about my work? Good question. To be honest, I have no idea. I’m not here to impress someone or get a lot of diplomas, I just shoot the images I have in my head and upload them on social media. I’m that type that doesn’t care about fancy equipment, edit my images for hours and shoot with reflectors and blitz. Normally you’ll see me jumping and crawling around with my Nikon camera with my 50mm lens. I can honestly say, I look like a monkey when I shoot. I make sure my images is 98% finished while shooting, and my best images isn’t planned at all.
See my work:
- 500px : @widvey
- Website: www.annemarthewidvey.com
- Blog: www.annemarthewidvey.blogspot.com
- Instagram: @widvey