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    Hello everyone!

    I’m a new photographer – started about a year ago. I eventually want to make money out of my photography. So far I have shot friends/family/couples and I did a wedding (unpaid).

    I only recently purchased a wireless flash trigger because I love strobist stuff. I currently only have one Canon 430ex II flash so I am slightly limited with what I can do.

    I’m looking for a critique on this self-portrait I shot this morning. Any tips/suggestions for next time are very welcome!

    Self Portrait

    It was shot at f8, 100 ISO and 1/200


    I like it, but your expression says:  “When is this going to work?”

    I find self portraits difficult.  I suppose it would work with a flash.  The best method I have found is to tether the camera and set EOS Utility to release the shutter every 10 seconds — or any short interval — then pre-focus and step into the frame for several shots.  Listen to music and/or think thoughts to elicit the desired expression.   I have tried it with continuous lights.  Perhaps next time I will try it with strobes.


    Hey thanks!

    Ya, I’m not use to being the one in front of the lens.

    This was pic 8 of like 13 so I was just trying to get the lighting right.



    Hey, sorry to bring back this old topic… But I’m looking for a critique again!


    6 months has passed since the last one and I think I’ve improved!

    This was shot with a white shoot-through umbrella.

    1/250     100 ISO    f 3.5


    New Umbrella


    Let me know what you think/if I’ve gotten any better 😛


    Yes you have, now try putting a BLACK reflector right next to you on the opposite side to the flash. It doesn’t have to be anything special I use polystrene painted black on one side but a black cloth held up by your partner will work. I’m always amazed how well it manages to “reflect” it’s blackness onto the subject creating a much less flat look to the lighting for next to no cost.


    I found the first shot really interesting, I think I just liked the expression. I do really like how even the light came out in the recent one though! I agree with Worst Case about the flatness though. Definite improvement 🙂 MOAR PLEASE!


    Still trying to develop my own style… I feel like I’m getting better…


    How’s this one?

    1/200     f8.0       ISO 200

    Self Portrait


    Definitely getting there.

    Perhaps you should turn your head slightly left so the camera can see the edge of your face, beyond the eye, but not enough that it can see your ear.  Really difficult to do if you are alone when doing this.  Try picking a spot on the wall to look at when adjusting your pose.  If you are doing this with one light, try a white reflector to bounce some light onto your back to separate you from the background.  You can use a commercial reflector or some white foam board from a hobby shop.


    Any suggestions on a DIY way to hold a small 5 in 1 reflector up?


    I’m only learning the technical side of things so I can’t really comment too much on the lighting. Though maybe more of a hair light would be good to separate you more from the b/g.

    I just really wanted to comment on the composition; I kinda wish you were glancing at us, to engage the viewer. However, if you are going to look out of the frame. it would probably be better for you to be on the left of the frame, looking out to the right – as the eye views an image from left to right and that way our gaze would follow your gaze out of the frame, with more of a natural flow. As it is, my eye sort of ping pongs from you to the left hand side of the frame, and it feels a bit claustrophobic, IYSWIM.

    Also, are you actually looking at something, because your expression seems a bit flat, and I think the viewer could engage more if your expression was more genuine, as in something intriguing or whatever had just caught you eye. IMHO.


    When I purchased 5 in 1 reflectors, I got the kits that include a stand.  Westcott make this piece that fits on a light stand.   http://www.henrys.com/62205-WESTCOTT-REFLECTOR-HOLDER.aspx  The kits come with it and the stand.


    What about a chair and a couple of spring clamps?  Or, a chair and a book to keep it from sliding off the seat?  I saw a video on lighting earlier today that included a reflector hung from a microphone stand using three spring clamps.   I guess it depends how handy you are and what you have available.

    Emf makes a good point — you  should rotate just your eyes more toward the camera, once you have your head in position.  On the other hand, being on the right third line is good, with eyes at about the upper third line.


    I never remember to worry about how I actually look, I’m too into the technical side of it.

    I will try again soon with a reflector


    The background isn’t black but rather slightly purple, is that what you meant to do?

    As for the pose, I think it would have worked better if you had looked slightly more towards the camera. Second problem is that you melt in to the background a bit too much. Three options, bleach your hair, wear something around your head (think the Afghan girl portrait how her shawl is framing her face) or get a little bit of light from behind. Easiest would be with a reflector behind you on the opposite side to your main light source. White foamboard works quite well, glue aluminium foil on one side and keep the other white for a ghetto mod reflector. Otherwise a second flash on low power setting would do the trick. A bit of reflection to lighten the shadow under your chin would be nice as well as you can barely see where the neck starts. Shadow on the side of your face can work well if you are going for a bit of mystery but deep shadows under your chin is rarely a good look.

    The photo is certainly sharp but that isn’t all that flattering I’m afraid. If you want more tips there was an article on 500px some time back about Chiaroscuro portraits which could be worth a read.


    I think I shot this with my softbox off to the left. No backdrop, just 6 feet away from my kitchen wall. I KNOW it’s rather blown out on my forehead, I was practicing and I’m not looking for a critique. I’m pretty sure I had to boost the light in my right eye in post too. But I likes my face so I used it (it’s my avatar here). Anyway, try doing something stupid with yourself like this…but with better light than me obviously.



    The background isn’t black but rather slightly purple, is that what you meant to do?


    Yep lol

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