Self Portrait Tips

A few folk have reached out to us saying they wanted some tips on taking their photos. So I’ve put together some things to think about that might make taking your hottie photo easier.

  1. Location – many of the Hotties photos over the years have been taken in interesting location, eg on SF trams, near famous buildings, with the city as a backdrop. We love those images, but feel free to mix things up a bit this year (after all the focus is you as the Hottie), take your photo in the exchange, on outreach, or just wherever you feel comfortable being a bit exposed.

  2. Background – decide if you want interesting stuff in the background (syringe boxes, posters, the Mona Lisa or Betty White riding on a Harley), or do you want to go plain and simple.

  3. Props – ‘Masks’ are of course the theme this year… how you wear them though is up to you. Consider using other props (big syringes, sharps bins, suits of armour, or even a small gekko called Bernard).

  4. Stable – err… we mean the camera of course. If you are taking the photo by yourself either use a tripod or think about fixing your phone to something using sticky putty (ok… in all honesty I have no idea what Americans call their putty, here in the UK we call it Blue-Tac… I’ve been down a internet rabbit hole trying to find the US version… poster tac? I have no clue).

  5. Use a timer – and burst mode of your phone has it, you’ll maybe take a few attempts to get a shot you like but the burst mode helps.

  6. Composition – while a photo with you in the middle of the frame can be fantastic consider using some basic “rules” of composition… for instance the “rule” of thirds

Beautifully center framed photo, notice how the writing sits in the lower and left 3rds, and how their faces are at the intersect points.

The hotties here are all about that right 3rds and the right hand lines, but Alcatraz sits wonderfully on the line to the left.

  1. Get twisted – people tend to take photos trying to make them as level as possible, but putting your camera/phone on a twisted angle can really work. Think about putting the camera on the floor and shooting up, or tac it (seriously what do you folks call Blue-Tac?!) to the ceiling.
  1. Take 100s of photos – gone are the days of film, when it cost loads of money to take photos, develop them weeks later and realise they’re out of focus. With digital you can take loads of images and pick the best, hell print some out for yourself… as a bonus in 10, 20, 40 years you can surprise the carer looking after you in your old age by showing them how amazing you looked in these photos (nothing cooler that a very elderly person showing you evidence of how amazing they’ve been in life).

  2. You look better than you believe you do… seriously you do.

  3. Have fun – This shouldn’t be a chore, enjoy it, you might even find it’s something your really good at and that you want to do more often.

Hows that? Feeling more inspired to get your camera going? I really look forward to seeing what you do.

Nigel Brunsdon 
Photographer (making it all up as he goes along…
except the bit about Bernard the gekko,
Bernard is a STAR! )

Twisting the camera often gets interesting results

© 2004- Hotties of Harm Reduction