A nearby park or green space may quickly become your favourite place for a self-portrait. The bigger the park, the more you can explore and find a spot that feels right for you. If there is a park or green space near where you live, it can be really powerful to visit it throughout the year and take photos, noting the changes in season.
These spaces can be anything from a small wildly growing trail between houses, a public park, a community garden, or even a cemetery. The above photo was taken way up in the beautiful hills above the Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, California. One of my favourite places to shoot locally is the stunning Vandusen Gardens. Most days though, the ravine a block from my home or the park nearby were fabulous places to both go for a stroll as well as to engage in some self-portrait adventuring.
A backyard is often one of the most useful places to take a selfie! Often more private and enclosed, you can get dressed up or bring out a few props for your photos without carrying them too far. Its easy to get inspired and head back inside for a change of clothes or to get more things to as props in your photos.
A sidewalk or path can provide an engaging visual in a photo. The way each side draws the viewer into the center of the image can make for a striking image. It also invites the viewer into the story of the image. Where does the path lead? Where is she going?
As well, it is a really simple place to take a photo. In a moment when I see light rays falling on the sidewalk, I head outside with my camera and take a photo of myself standing in the light before the moment passes and the light is gone. If I only have a few moments for a photo walk I will often just go around the block and find a spot on the sidewalk that has a good background. Your self-portraits don’t need to be a grand affair…they can also just be taking a few moments to yourself as you walk around the block and documenting that.
One of the challenges the students in my classes often come across and ask about it “How do I set up a self-portrait and get it to focus without standing in front of it?” Having something to stand beside in your self-portrait allows your camera to have a subject at the same distance to focus on while you are getting from pressing the button to in the shot. Plus they can visually add some texture and tone to your photo or give you something to hide behind or hug!
By the waters edge or shore is a great place to take a photo. The contrast of the shore and the water, the lines and the colours that appear during sunset make it one of my favourite places to shoot a self-portrait!
If you are watching a sunset by the water some day, why not try setting up your camera and shooting a photo of your silhouette against the sky.
One of the best places to shoot a self-portrait is somewhere that holds meaning to you. It could be your home, a place you visit, a place that has history for you, or a place you just discovered but feel at home. Allowing your setting to help you tell a story in your photos makes for a very powerful photo!
Abandoned Railway Tracks are one of my favourite spots to take self-portraits. The simple lines of the tracks are so visually engaging and invite a strong story into the photo. Much like a path or sidewalk, it engages the viewer in a way that pulls them right into the photo. I love simply putting my camera on the rail and taking a photo from that perspective.
Please do make sure they are tracks that no longer run trains though!
What is a better setting to share in a photo than the place you are, right here, right now. A way to just pause and check in with yourself and take a photo of this day.
Do you have a favourite spot to take self-portraits? I’d love to hear about it…and please feel free to share links to your blog or flickr and share a photo of your favourite place to take a self-portrait!
A new session of You are Your Own Muse is starting on October 31st. It is already a really lovely sized group, my favourite sized group for having a strong community energy though there is still a bit of room left in the class! It is going to be such a great session as I’ve got some brand new interviews to share with you, including these photographers & artists: Andrea Scher of Superhero Photo, Tif Fussell of Dotti Angel and Susan Tuttle from Ilka’s Attic!