Monday, February 6, 2012

Me. A self portrait. | Helena Montana Portrait Photographer

Have you ever tried taking a self portrait?  With serious face?  Better yet, with a laughing face?  I just did.  It was hard!  Seriously harder than I had expected!

Besides the obvious how-to-focus/set-the-timer/run-back-and-forth-trying-to-determine-just-how-to-hold-my-head-and-body-to-look-best (for the record I *really* need to get a remote trigger if I plan on attempting this again...), just playing with the *idea* of taking my own picture took a little time to get used to.  'Cause I'm really bad at having my picture taken (ask my husband and he'll use a few words worse than "bad" like "annoying", "ridiculous", "difficult", etc....  and he's totally right).  I tend to avoid it like the plague.

It recently dawned on me when my daughter was assigned a preschool project that involved finding a family picture how BAD I am at actually being in and taking candid photos of our family.  The most recent I could find for her that had all the members of our family was either Christmas 2010, Easter 2009, or a trip to Big Game Alaska from two years ago when a random tourist asked me to take her picture then offered to do the same for me.

So.  Here I am with a eleventy-billion pictures of my adorable kids, a couple million of my hubby and three of me.  Three.  I need to do something about that.

In addition to the family picture thing, I *really* needed to do something about the horrid head shot of myself on my website.  (By the way, have you noticed my new website?!  Totally new.  Totally awesome.  Go check it out then come back and finish reading.  Or finish reading then go check it out.  Either way, check it out.  Please.  I put in a ton of hours and am really proud of it.  AND it has fun photos of me in the "about me" section that I took myself).

I'm getting off track.

I had a ridiculous picture of myself that I'd been using as a head shot for a while.  I'd begged my hubby to come press the shutter a few times (a job he's not that fond of) so I could have something half way decent a while ago.  It was OK(ish).  Actually, I'm lying.  It embarrassed me.

Want proof?

This is what happens when I get my picture taken: (this is *not* the one that I had been using for my head shot, but it was almost as bad;) )


Seriously NOT GOOD at being on that side of the camera.

Blah.  Point of all of this?  It's more than just a picture.  It's putting myself out there in a way I never have.  It's looking at myself in a way I never have.  It's defining me and accepting me in a way that I never have before.  I'm not perfect, I'm not gorgeous, I'm not a lot of things.  But I am me.  And I'm OK with that.  In fact, I like me (don't my girls have a book with that title?!)

I finally went for it.  I took my own picture.  And I was determined to get some images that I wouldn't be embarrassed of.  I hadn't really planned on it - in fact the only reason I did it this particular day is because I happened to think of it while I was doing my hair (something I haven't done often in recent memory) in the morning and I *really* didn't want that crazy embarrassing picture on my new website.

The kids were occupied with their daddy, so I snuck (sneaked?) downstairs and I did it.  I took about 20 minutes, and I felt like a complete fool (do you know how hard it is to get yourself to laugh?!)  but I did it!  And it worked!  I actually like them!  and I posted them on my website in the "about me" section.  (Did you check it out yet?)

OK, without further ado.  The results of my crazy self-portrait session (I should clarify -- the KEEPERS of my crazy self-portrait session)  Ta daaaaaaaa!!! 

self portrait quad

Done.  I'm not even embarrassed at the fake laughing one (didn't know I was faking it, did you?!)

Oh, and since this blog post is all about me, me, me.... some Suzie facts. 

~ I pretty much never have a completely clean house
~ I have a cake problem (as in, if there's cake in the house, it's not going to last long)
~ My favorite pet ever was a mini weiner dog with no teeth named Star. 
~ I let my kids watch too much TV 
~ I lived in Alaska for 8 years and honestly miss it from time to time (sometimes it's just the brag factor that I miss -- that I survived at 50 below...yada yada...) 
~ I spent 31 days of my life (college life) in the backcountry of Alaska without showering
~ I'd rather stay in and watch a movie with my hubby than leave the house
~ I secretly want another kid, but I don't think I can deal with having a newborn again. I wasn't the best at it.

I do have a point with all this blabbering, if you were wondering.  My point is that we all need to get ourselves in front of the camera more.  Chances are, if you're reading this blog, you're a mom who is interested in photography, or you at least enjoy looking at pretty pictures.  And chances are that you're always the one carrying the camera around capturing moments of your family at special times.  But how often do you hand that camera off to a person standing next to you at the carousel to snap a pic of you and your kids?  How often do you turn on that fancy little timer, prop the camera up on a shelf and snap a few silly shots of everyone wrestling in the living room after dinner?  How often do you put yourself in front of the camera so that years from now your kids will have a full sense of what life was like back then?  

The answer is probably "not that often".  That's my answer.  So I vow to do it more.  And I think you should, too.

Say it with me: "I am me.  And I'm OK with that.  In fact, I like me."

(I'll be doing a challenge throughout 2012 -- at least once a month, I'll turn the camera on myself.  It may be artistic, it may not.  IDK.  You can keep track if you'd like -- I'll post them all here on my Flickr page.  Feel free to join me!)


Misha February 7, 2012 at 8:44 AM  

Great post! I disagree with one thing, however - you ARE gorgeous!

I now have quite a few recent photos of me thanks to some really cool photographers I went to New Orleans with (hee hee), but I should probably follow your lead and try to be in more photos from time to time.

Julie February 8, 2012 at 4:49 PM  

the crazy one is the "real" you ;-)
such a true post. i need to get over myself and put me in some of the pics with my family. like you said, they will appreciate it some day. oh, and there is a pic of you and one of the girls fishing, so there's 4 :-)

Christy February 8, 2012 at 6:51 PM  

What I need to know is how to achieve a nice result without a backdrop, proper lighting, etc.

Suzie February 8, 2012 at 9:05 PM  

1. It doesn't always need to be perfectly lit or exposed or processed... Just being in a candid shot is part of what I want to express.

2. This shot was all natural lighting. I sat with my back to a sliding glass door with sheer curtains and exposed for myself, which overexposed and blew out the background. No studio set up at all! Of course if you don't have a spot like this for a clean white background you can just set your aperture wide open to throw the background out of focus!

amy February 9, 2012 at 2:52 AM  

You have inspired me to learn how to use the timer on my camera. I like all of your keepers.

Suzie February 9, 2012 at 6:41 AM  

Yay! It's kind of liberating... Have fun :). And post the results.

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Originally from upstate NY, then transplanted to Alaska where I found my husband and started the family chapter...  Moved to Montana after 8 years in AK -- lived in Bozeman for 4 years and settled in the mountains south of Helena for the rest of the story...

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Zo-Mak Photography is an on-location custom portrait studio based in Helena Montana. I specialize in people - all people; the people who are special to you. Bringing a fresh perspective to custom photography, Zo-Mak Photography loves vreating images of your family, children, newborn baby, roly poly baby, high school senior and wedding that will be cherished for generations.

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