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    Create a self-portrait to support your brand identity

    The message How to make a self-portrait to support your brand identity first appeared at Digital Photography School. It is written by Charlie Moss.

    Personal branding has become increasingly important in recent years. As photographers, we often carefully curate the image that we present to the world, even as amateurs. Our brand and image are usually closely related to the type of photos that we take.

    Photographers will often compile the appearance of their website. They will spend hours thinking about the images and text they use to express their photographic hopes and dreams. They want their websites and online portfolios to give people insight into their creative work process and the kind of photos that they intend to take.


    I often start with natural light when I make self-portraits. It is how I prefer to photograph most of the time!

    And yet I often look at the ' about me ' page on a photographer's website, portfolio page or social media, and in the front and center is a photo of them made by someone else. The image on your ' about me ' page, or the profile photo of your portfolio, is a great piece of marketing real estate. You can use this space to express yourself and tell a story. So why does someone else have that photo taken?

    So what's the solution? Make a self-portrait! Place your own work in that valuable space and express yourself and your photographic style clearly and coherently – even on your ' about me ' page.

    What is a brand identity?

    More than ever, photographers are the face of their brand. Almost everywhere you are on the internet, you have the option to upload an ' avatar ' image that you represent in digital format. This avatar image is a space to tell the world something about you and your photography.

    A brand identity is the way you present your work to the world. It is the visual and textual elements that distinguish you from other people in the minds of your audience. Because photographers are usually the most important (and often the only) person in the creative process when it comes to creating images, they are often the embodiment of their brand.

    Image: A single large beauty dish for this portrait reflects one of my usual lighting styles.

    A single large beauty dish for this portrait reflects one of my usual lighting styles.

    In general, for a photographer, their brand identity is strongly linked to the style in which they usually work. A photographer who makes beautiful portraits of fine art inspired by the old masters can have a brand identity that embodies timelessness, heritage and classical values. On the other hand, someone who creates contemporary portraits can embody qualities such as innovation, diversity and courage.

    The key is to get your values ​​in the photos that you are photographing. You will probably notice that it happens naturally if you have photographed for a while and have developed a style. However, making a self-portrait for your ' about me ' page and avatars is a good time to brainstorm about what your work is about. The challenge is to see if you can capture these ideas in one go.

    Are you afraid of taking self-portraits?

    Self-portraits are difficult. They are technically, creatively and emotionally hard. It is no surprise that photographers often shy away from self-portraits. Portraits can be difficult enough to be right when you photograph other people, let alone when you photograph yourself!


    Experimental tricks such as this shallow depth of field in combination with Christmas lights can add an artistic side to a self-portrait while disguising all perceived flaws in the way we look.

    Apart from that, a self-portrait or two is also a great way to improve your skills, try new things, and ensure that all your personal branding works in a coherent way. You will probably be your most patient subject, and if you take a day off to take your self-portrait, you have time to get it right – even if you try something new.

    Go light on the retouch. When working on a self-portrait in post-processing, it's easy to be super critical about everything you don't like about yourself. Stick to your usual workflow and only retouch as much as you would normally.

    Start easily

    If all else fails, start like any other portrait. If you usually start with a simple two-part headshot in your studio, try that first. Check your images and then make adjustments. Once you've found a shot that works, try something a little different. You may find a whole new direction for your work!

    Image: This self-portrait was made with natural light against a gray paper background. Often simple ...

    This self-portrait is made with natural light against a gray paper background. Often simple photos can be very effective!

    It is easy to think of self-portraits in the context of a studio, but do not limit yourself! Bring your camera outside in natural light if you usually like to make portraits of it. You can even buy stands for reflectors, so you can take advantage of all the usual light modifications that you would use.

    But if you go out on location to make self-portraits, consider taking someone with you. It is easy to get distracted while photographing self-portraits. An extra pair of eyes can help protect you and your equipment. You can also have your assistant hold the reflector or a flash!

    And if you really want to show what you are doing, consider an environmental portrait in your own studio and surrounded by your photographic instruments.

    Think about the context

    Where is your self-portrait placed? Is it on your own website or on social media?

    In traditional media, you usually want the subject to be focused on the viewer or the center of the book or magazine. There is a reason for that. It helps readers focus on the content and not on the edge of the page to the rest of the world. It is a simple trick to keep the readers' attention wherever you want.

    Image: the "about me" page on my portfolio website that shows my self-portrait in relation ...

    The "about me" page on my portfolio website shows my self-portrait in relation to the text block.

    You can also apply this to your website. Think about the placement of your self-portrait on the page of your website. Does it fit better to the left or right of the ' about me ' text? Keep this in mind when working out your poses and make sure that you are looking straight ahead or in the direction of the text block.

    It is of course possible to break the rules, but make sure you photograph both options if you are going to be adventurous!

    What about the practical aspects of self-portraits?

    If your camera connects to a phone app that can help with exposure and focusing, make sure you take full advantage of it. Self-portraits used to be a lengthy process in which I had to place my manikin on a chair in my studio to get the focus and the exposure right.

    Now I can see everything in real time, including exposure and focus adjustments, using the Fujifilm Cam Remote app that connects to my camera.

    Image: use the Fujifilm Cam Remote app to set the lighting and lighting, and the resulting self ...

    Use the Fujifilm Cam Remote app to set the exposure and exposure and the resulting self-portrait a few minutes later. (Lighting was a single large beauty dish).

    If you do not have a camera that connects to your phone, provide an external trigger and consider photographing on a laptop so that you can see the images while activating the camera. You can view software such as Lightroom or Capture One Pro for tethering. That way you can make small adjustments to your posture and settings while you go along to make sure that you really nail everything and make your best work.

    If you use a good tripod, you also save some frustration when taking portraits. Balancing the camera on a stack of books can work (believe me, I did it before), but a tripod will help you make a shot more effective. Don't forget to also try unusual compositions. Lifting the camera above eye level can be very flattering, while shooting from a low position can create a powerful pose.


    A profile self-portrait recalls the type of images that you often see historically on coins and medals. Don't be afraid to experiment with unconventional attitudes when you photograph yourself.

    Keep your standards high

    And finally, be as thorough and strict with your standards as you would when you photograph a portrait of someone else.

    Make the effort to do your hair, press on your clothes and get a great expression. Just because it is a self-portrait does not mean that it is an excuse to be lazy and ' resolve it & # 39 ;.

    I would like to see how you continue to photograph your self-portrait to support your brand and to express your values. Leave a comment below with the results and don't forget to update your avatar with your new portrait!


    The message How to make a self-portrait to support your brand identity first appeared at Digital Photography School. It is written by Charlie Moss.

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