About a month ago, I read a short blog post by Petesteph1. In that post, he makes a great point that when starting out with photography, you should shoot subjects that you already naturally like or are drawn toward.
I agree with his thesis, and as I’ve returned to the idea over the past month, the one thought that I wanted to add to it is this:
Be Your Own Best Subject
YOU are always available. YOU are never inaccessible due to inclement weather. YOU will always be on time to your own appointment.
Now, I know a lot of you would rather get a tooth pulled than be in front of the camera, but I promise it’s worth it.
With me in front of and behind the camera, I:
- Could practice with my lighting equipment whenever I wanted
- Got a better understanding of how that equipment worked
- Played with tone and mood
- Improved my understanding of my face, body, and general features
- Became much more comfortable as a subject for others because of it
Beyond being able to practice your technical skills, being your own subject helps you better empathize with people who will (hopefully) be your subject in the future and gives you more confidence when you’re the subject for others.
I’ll admit, it is a little more work to be on both sides of the camera, but it’s not insurmountable. All you need is 1) a tripod and 2) the timer setting. I’m sure you’ll quickly get tired of using the timer setting though, as I did, so it’s worth it to buy a wireless shutter remote.
So have at it! Find your light, set up a little studio space, and put your best face forward (but don’t worry if it takes you a few shots to figure out what that best face is!).
Are you already using yourself as your favorite subject? What are your favorite subjects to photograph? Comment below!