Yuck. Photo of Myself

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by jeff_c|1, May 20, 2004.

  1. Hi All,

    I find myself in an unusual situation. I need a theatrical headshot
    of myself. As a semi-pro portrait photographer, I am comfortable
    lighting other people, but now I have to decide how best to light
    myself. I know some will evoke the "Doctor heal thyself" mantra and
    suggest I let someone else do the shoot, but I have not yet given up
    hope that I can do it myself.

    Here's my question; I am rotund. My face has its own zipcode, so I
    need to do some creative thinning. I usually do a 3:1 ratio, and
    will likely shoot with a 150mm on my Contax 645. Beyond this, I am
    open to suggestions; shoot from above?

    Thanks
     
  2. I am rotund. My face has its own zipcode

    I am also a large fellow, and I found this the most amusing quote in a long time. I HATE the photos I take of myself. If I could only figure out why I look so much better in the mirror than I do on film...

    The only thing I've found so far is that my face looks a bit thinner with shorter focal lengths, because of the added depth.
     
  3. So, don't photograph your out-side, photographaph your in-side.
     
  4. I'm another somewhat... oversized photographer! I became a photgrapher and never let my picture be taken! I like being on the "taking" side not the "taken" side. But since you need to do it, make it a really interesting one. The last time I did a self portrait, I did a harsh split light kind of lighting. Sorta like the lighting on the Beatle's first album. Unfortunately I had a hard time getting a good focus. Of course, I was about 90 pounds lighter then! So I guess my advice would be to split light to thin at least half of yourself, with a bare minimum of fill. Any pose you want! Just get some body to focus for you! Or maybe use barn doors to narrow the light on your face! That would do the trick! Marty Rickard used to use gobos and barn door type modifiers to control the light like this! His stuff was great!

    Dave
     
  5. Short lighting.
     
  6. "If I could only figure out why I look so much better in the mirror than I do on film..."

    Seeing photos of yer own mug is a little like hearing recordings of your own voice, both seem a little strange and discordant. As for self-portraits, the way to make them resemble the image that peers back at you from yonder looking glass, is to invert the image (flop the negative, in darkroom terms).
     
  7. Steve's response is the usual solution, especially for headshots. Use you're 3-1 ratio if you like, but put the three on a light that is more than 90 degrees around the clock from the camera position and point your nose at 30 to 45 degrees from the camera position. This places the side of your face that is toward the camera in the dimmer light, and the side of your face that is most strongly lit is only slightly revealed to the lens. Then you have to deal with the fact that what you look like is the very commodity that you are selling. There's only one way to avoid being cast as the "big" guy, and that has nothing to do with lighting schemes and lens selection... t
     
  8. well maybe more than one way, but photo trickery is only good if it's the only way people will see you... like internet dating. But if you actually will actually show up at a casting call, then a WYSIWYG type photo is the best one... t
     
  9. I didn’t mean to sound flip, a basic look is the starting point of most calls. However,
    since you will be competing with other individuals of great physical presence,
    accentuate your personality in your headshot and carry that positive first impression
    into the call. A DP casting for a “jolly fat man” will most likely avoid an actor with
    “sad” eyes or one exuding some other “unsuitable” quality. If your headshot targets
    your strengths and not merely your physical appearance you do your agent, yourself
    and prospective clients a service forward of the initial meeting. It is not uncommon to
    have multiple headshots, which can be specifically targeted to prospective jobs. Just a
    thought, dq.
     
  10. Thanks everyone. You're all right on target. The easiest way to make myself prettier would be to get out and exercise a bit more. But my panic stems from what seems to be a common element among photographers; I hate pictures of myself.

    To that end, I guess what I am trying to do is damage control in the short term. I agree that it's not wise to create a photograph that radically portrays me as other than I am (Although my co-star in one film looks nothing like the vixen-like image on her headshot) My goal is to make the most of what little I have. In the end, I am telling myself what I tell many customers - the camera sees you as others do, so no one will be shocked by an accurate likeness. Strange, and sad in a way that our mind's eye allows us to see ourselves as other than we are! JC
     

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