How do you get over disliking your self-portraits?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Mike Henley, May 6, 2006.

  1. Mike Henley

    Mike Henley Guest

    I think it's quite an ironic situation that anyone would have a camera
    or more that he uses often and yet, as the years pass by, has very few
    images, if any, of himself to look back on and feel good about.

    My problem is that I have a kafkaesque sort of self-loathing. I always
    avoid having my picture taken, like a horror, and if ever, then you can
    tell from my facial expression and body language that I am far from
    comfortable with it. Stance and limbs are as stiff as wood. Even when I
    force myself to smile, it comes out a rather
    don't-fool-yourself-you're-friggin'-ugly kind of smile. I see those
    people on flickr who appear natural, carefree and self-assured in their
    images and I'm sometimes envious. Some have obvious flaws in appearance
    but their self-affection is disarming, charming and endearing,
    sometimes even captivating. I don't know if I can ever have that. I'm
    thinking of perhaps, to try something at least, taking a few pictures
    of myself everyday till I feel comfortable with it.

    Any of you guys had this problem?
    Mike Henley, May 6, 2006
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  2. Mike Henley

    Paul Furman Guest

    I allow very few photos of myself & I'm not bad looking. I certainly
    will not put on a fake smile for a camera and don't care for candids
    that capture real smiles on me. I have done a few self portraits though
    recently and I do them alone at a comfortable pace with many tries &
    much culling, soft blurry background & all that so it looks respectable.
    My usual dry facial expression. Just make it honest and that's all you
    can do IMO. Wear some decent but comfortable & normal clothes. Go ahead
    & show them to people & you get used to it. In the misc-photos gallery,
    I'm not providing direct links here. heh
    Paul Furman, May 6, 2006
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  3. Mike Henley

    Rudy Benner Guest

    Nope, I have no character defects at all. I used to be perfect but now I am
    Rudy Benner, May 6, 2006
  4. Try printing them mirror image. Really.

    Others see you as you see the photographs. You see yourself as a mirror
    image, except when looking at a photograph.

    Many years ago I worked in a photo studio. Quite often they would
    intentionally print one photo mirror image and often another of the same
    image normal. The family (back then it was unusual for friends to be
    consulted about those things) would seldom pick the mirror image, but the
    subject would usually pick it.
    Joseph Meehan, May 6, 2006
  5. Mike Henley

    Rudy Benner Guest

    Now that is very interesting.
    Rudy Benner, May 6, 2006
  6. Mike Henley

    Tim Guest

    I'm with Mike on this one, you have to be quick to catch me with a camera
    It's not a bad idea though as I suck at taking portraits, I'm self concious
    and then so is the sitter

    Tim, May 6, 2006
  7. Mike Henley

    Paul Furman Guest

    Ditto there.
    I'm as uncomfortable shooting other people as getting shot <cringe>
    Paul Furman, May 6, 2006
  8. Mike Henley

    Annika1980 Guest

    Any of you guys had this problem?

    Hell no, but then I'm beautiful!
    Annika1980, May 6, 2006
  9. Mike Henley

    RW+/- Guest

    Heh, I'd forgotten about that one, it is so very true.

    So here is how one can rationalize a decent self portrait.

    View them all as mirror images
    Pick out the ones you like
    Print or post those pic's as normal, with whatever fixes you did to them
    rationalize to yourself that the "normal" pic's are how everyone else see's
    you and that you liked or could reasonably put up with the mirror images
    ones, then put on a smug smile as you have gotten over the phobia of self
    images. ;)
    RW+/-, May 6, 2006
  10. Mike Henley

    Mark² Guest

    I can't believe you didn't post a link to your window/bath-robe shot for
    this thread...
    Mark², May 6, 2006
  11. Mike Henley

    RW+/- Guest

    ?????? link?????
    RW+/-, May 6, 2006
  12. Mike Henley

    Mark² Guest

    Don't know... I just remember a rather less-than-self-conscious shot Bret
    posted once upon a time.
    -Funny, too...
    Mark², May 6, 2006
  13. Mike Henley

    Mike Henley Guest

    It's this one
    Mike Henley, May 6, 2006
  14. For many years I took few photos of people...and none that I would call a
    portrait. But since I started working for a periodical I have had to shoot a
    lot of head shots and discovered that I was good at it. This was a complete
    surprise as I don't consider myself a people person. Maybe the reason I am
    good at it is that, since I am so uncertain of what I am doing, I put a lot
    of effort into it. Over time I have accumulated a couple of backdrops and
    some strobes and am learning to do studio type shots. This leads to two
    types of shots...the Wal-Mart sort that I avoid and the kind that brings on
    a collaboration between subject and photographer that happens when there are
    no distractions.

    On the subject of self-portraits...I did my own. I have a release cable and
    took dozens to get one I liked. I took a few years off in Photoshop and the
    results are good enough for my obit.

    A young male friend of mine lives in a book store that his parents own and
    was looking at an arts photography book by a fellow who took some nude self
    portraits. My friend, a minor, asked me why anyone would do such a thing! I
    told him that it was a common artist pursuit. I then told him I could show
    him dozens I have of myself (I don't really have any). It then occurred the
    me that I had committed a couple of felonies....the obvious one of
    course....and "making terrorist threats".

    Gene Palmiter
    (visit my photo gallery at
    freebridge design group

    Gene Palmiter, May 6, 2006
  15. Mike Henley

    BobFlint Guest

    You probably have a non-symmetrical face... most people do... except movie stars
    of course! You are used to your mirror image, your real image is foreign to
    you, like some kind of evil clone...

    You should replace your mirror with a web cam and flat monitor so you can see
    your real image... but it will take a while to learn to comb your hair again...

    I was told to look at paintings I was doing, in the mirror, since one gets used
    to the image, and starts to get used to the flaws (like your wife...) and the
    mirror will show you the same painting in a different way, so you can better
    judge it.

    I tried this, and after seeing my work in the mirror, I bought a camera and took
    up photography... ;>)
    BobFlint, May 6, 2006
  16. Mike Henley

    Annika1980 Guest

    I can't believe you didn't post a link to your window/bath-robe shot for
    I actually thought about it.
    Annika1980, May 6, 2006
  17. Mike Henley

    Cynicor Guest

    So the moral of the story is to never look at your wife in a mirror?
    Cynicor, May 7, 2006
  18. Yes. I have very few pictures of myself over the years. Not because of,
    "self loathing", but simply because few of my friends have been
    photographers, and I seldom let them borrow my camera to take my own
    picture. Now, I am pouring over my old filmstrips and slides trying to find
    useful images to scan into my computer and send to my children, and so few
    of them have my own image on them. When I find one, it is a treasure, and I
    work on it for hours with Photoshop 7, trying to get something useful out of
    William Graham, May 7, 2006
  19. You're only character defect is that you're too modest......:^)
    William Graham, May 7, 2006
  20. Mike Henley

    Paul Furman Guest

    OK, a friend just came over to visit & I handed him the camera to take
    my picture as we talked. Oh man, that is strange. I really should get
    used to that though. Smiling, making expressions, smoking a cigarette...
    I had little idea what I actually look like in conversation. Surreal. I
    recommend this experiment. Just continue talking with your friend and
    act as you normally do as they snap away.
    Paul Furman, May 7, 2006
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