It's Week #1: Self Portrait

To be shot and submitted between Sunday, Dec 27 and Sunday, Jan 3 (noon, Eastern)

Well here we are, the very first challenge of 2016!! Selfies! Self Portrait!

This is honestly my favorite challenge of the year!

Firstly, it’s an opportunity for all of us “Framers” to introduce ourselves (also a good idea to write a quick introductory text as your photo description!)

But more than that, it’s an opportunity to let go. 52Frames is very much a place of vulnerability. You’re crafting together a creative piece of work (and you only have 7 days to do it…aaahh!), and then you are showcasing it to the world.

Well, I personally believe that creativity lies in this space of vulnerability. In order to achieve full creative self-expression, I believe one must surrender themselves to this vulnerable process.  Let yourself go.

Create a photo that truly exemplifies your essence. Too ambitious? Why not at least give it a try? Don’t go for safe. Don’t shoot your “good side”, or make sure your hair is perfect. Go nude. Shoot super close up. Shoot yourself doing something crazy in public. Or maybe exhausted, pumping milk at 11pm, gently bathed in the refrigerator light. Capture your essence, the way you feel, not the way you feel you should be seen.

#THISISNOTASELFIE!! In fact, this is the opposite of a selfie. A selfie is a relatively thoughtless shot, solely meant to boost one’s ego. A Self Portrait should be crafted, in order to communicate one’s essence.

What’s your essence?

-Yosef, 5X Weekly Warrior.

PS – to those just joining us, please don’t take my anti-selfie rant as a knock on phone cameras. Here at 52Frames we encourage creativity, through whatever medium you can get your hands on, and people have taken fascinating photos with their mobile phones. If that’s what you’re shooting with, more power to you, just shoot with intention!

Tips and Tuts for this week:

  • Go for the non-obvious. Shoot from a unique angle, change your perspective.
  • Create your story. What elements are you including in the image? What is your background? All of these things should feed into the story you are telling.
  • Be a model. You have the most patient and willing model at your disposal, and that is you! What would you want to do if you had a model that would do anything you tell them to? Try it out for yourself, risk free! :)

I found a great post by Tristan Jud, over at his blog, called 11 Tips for Shooting Self Portraits and Some Inspiration.

In it, he goes over the basic gear that will help you out: Tripod, Remote, Lighting, Computer to tether … As well as some other important tips to consider, such as telling your story, trying something new, and having fun!

For some more visual inspiration, check out this great post on Tutsplus and this photographer’s “selfie” project.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out our previous albums, Self Portrait, and Emotion, and of course, The Googles!

Extra Credit: Composite Image

What is the Extra Credit Challenge you ask? Well, it’s just that! For those of you that are on a more advanced level, or perhaps you’re going on 2, maybe 3 years in this project, it’s an opportunity to flex your creative muscle. We’ll give you a shoutout on your photo that you completed the Extra Credit Challenge for that week! At some future stage, there will be rewards for participating in the Extra Credit Challenges, but right now it’s just for simple fame, glory, and self-improvement.

For some extra credit joojoo, try your hand at a photo composite. A composite is a flat image that is made up of different elements taken at different times. It could be anything from placing a bird in a scene, or having a subject in an entirely different background.
At the heart of every composite are what’s called Layer Masks, and they are super easy to do in Photoshop!

Curious to try it? I put together a quick video last year on how to do it, which you can see here: 52Frames blog post on layer masks. If text is your thing, here’s an excellent primer on creating a composite.

Remember, it is not necessary to work in this Extra Credit piece. It’s extra credit!