How to Photograph Self-Portraits of Yourself

eric kim street photography portrait
Dalat, 2016

If you’re lacking inspiration to shoot others– shoot yourself.

1. Shoot yourself:

To start off, you are the best person to photograph. You give yourself 100% consent. You won’t punch yourself in the face, and you won’t become upset.

To be comfortable photographing yourself is one of the most important steps to building your personal confidence as a photographer.

I’ve been making a lot of photos of Cindy (#cindyproject) but sometimes she gets annoyed, or she isn’t by my side.

In these situations, I shoot myself. To me, I am the best subject– because I can document my life, and one day, my death:

eric kim photography hanoi-0007085

eric kim street photography hanoi-2-3 cindy project
Hanoi, 2017 #cindyproject

2. Have your loved ones photograph you

Another tip: have your loved ones photograph you, like these photos Cindy made of me:

eric kim portrait hanoi cindy
Hanoi, 2017 (portrait by Cindy)
eric kim photographer photography by cindy nguyen
Portrait by Cindy Nguyen
eric kim photography portrait
Portrait by Cindy Nguyen

The good thing about having your loved ones photograph you is that you empower them. Not only that, but you get a unique perspective and view.

You also make the portrait-making session more collaborative. And you learn how it feels to be on the other side of the lens.

3. Make artistic self-portraits

Regardless of how boring of a place you live in, you can always make self-portraits of yourself. Don’t worry that you will be seen as vain or self-centered– great photographers like Vivian Maier and Lee Friedlander have made beautiful self-portraits of themselves. The secret is to make an ‘artistic’ self-portrait.

Shoot your shadow. Shoot your reflection. Turn the camera around and point it straight at you. Look at the background, the light, and reflect on your inner-emotional state:

eric kim self portrait leica flash

eric kim self portrait leica - trix 1600- black and white

eric kim coffee cappuccino

eric kim self portrait wedding


eric kim bathtub
Photo by Cindy

Photography is about documenting yourself, how you see the world, and the inner-state of your mind. Photography isn’t about making images. It is about making sense of the world.

Learn more: Personal Photography >

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