Creative Photo Project Ideas: Daily Self-Portrait Project
Looking for a photo project that encourages growth, pushes you to think outside of the box, step out of your comfort zone and into the frame for a change?
How about a daily self-portrait project?
Daily Self-Portrait Project
When’s the last time you stepped out from behind the camera and actually jumped into a photo? If you’re anything like me, you probably can’t remember when. Truth be told, I’m a little a shy went it comes to being in front of the camera, but there’s no denying the importance of being present in photos alongside the ones we love.
When I heard about my friend Sarah Reinhart’s Daily Self-Portrait Project, I was blown away. The photographer, doula, childbirth educator and author of The Sunday Spill created her self-portrait photo project when she noticed a disturbing trend in her photography. She had a slew of lovely family photos, but she was nowhere to be found. She’d been too busy taking the photos to remember to jump in.
Sarah’s Daily Self-Portrait Project is a beautifully inspiring collection of intimate self-portraits; a window into her heart and home.
Whether she’s reading a book to her little girl,
schooling her son in a game of pool,
or rocking the heck out of a side ponytail, Sarah’s self-portraits are beautiful, honest and nothing short of fun.
Read on to find out what Sarah had to say about her creatively inspiring Daily Self-Portrait Project, how she executes her photos and what you need to know about starting a self-portrait project of your own:.
There are so many photo projects centered around capturing everyday family life, but I’ve yet to really see any mainstream projects that have a strong focus on capturing one’s life through self-portraits. What inspired you to begin your daily self-portrait photo project and what are your long term goals for the project?
The start of the new year is always a time that gets my creative wheels turning. For me photography is more than work. It’s such a pleasure and a creative outlet. I wanted to begin a photo project in January that was fun and challenging, but without too many restrictions. Something I could do daily. I thought I’d like to try a 365 project but wanted to make it a bit more special. When I thought about it more I recalled that every week for the last few years it’s been the same. I take oodles of family shots and when I’d sit down to pull the pics from the card and look at my cute, silly kids and husband – something or someone was always undeniably missing.
I’d read an article (The Mom Stays in the Picture) on the Huffington Post and thought, “That is it! I’m tired of bothering other people by handing them my camera to get myself in some frames. I’ll just make my own portraits.” That’s my one and only rule for this project: I have to snap the shutter – whether handheld, by setting the timer or with a remote shutter release.
The very first self-portrait in this project is of me sitting on my couch eating my son’s leftover banana. I captioned it: I’m hoping to learn something from this. Something more than that I look sad while I’m eating bananas.
As far as long term goals go, I’m really just hoping for some self-discovery and to find more self-love. To learn to be more comfortable on that side of the lens. To make some great memories and keepsakes of both the mundane and the zany things I do in a day’s time. As the project progresses, those goals are subject to change and I’m cool with that.
Your daily self-portraits are wonderful – sweet, quirky, intimate and fun. What inspires your choices, in terms of capturing your self-portrait of the day?
So far my self-portraits of the day are thought out only moments before I take them. No big planning involved. Not yet, anyway. I might be playing with my kids and we’re having a good ol’ time when – oh! I see this making an excellent picture and I reach for the camera. That might change as the year continues, but for now I’m having fun keeping things simple. At present I’m mostly letting everyday family life drive the portrait. I want to capture our authentic moments – as authentic as they can be when I have to get up, set the shot, jump back into the frame, and keep it natural looking. Or at other times I’ve thought, “Wow! That light is so yummy or so interesting or so beautiful, how can I incorporate it into a portrait?”
What tips do you have for people looking to capture unique self-portraits?
The thing I pay most attention to is the composition. It’s often just as much about what I’m keeping out of the shot vs. what I’m choosing to show. Very often less is more. Even though I’m going for an authentic approach, I’ll still shove some clutter out of the way if we’re in the living room. Also, if I did a black and white yesterday I’ll think about keeping the next day’s portrait in color. If I’ve done some shots where I’ve really pulled back from the scene, I’ll make sure to switch it up and do a close-up for that day. As much as possible, though, my goal is to keep the self-portraits coming organically. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring until it’s here, so why try to mess with the flow? Just have to trust the process and let the ideas and scenarios come as they will. I’m already learning more about my body language. I’m becoming more aware of how I hold myself – what I do with my hands, the direction of my gaze. Most importantly, when capturing unique self-portraits, be aware of your own presence and what you are intentionally saying with your body.
Sarah’s creativity and commitment to her beautiful Daily Self-Portrait Project is incredibly inspiring. I encourage you to follow suit, get in front of the camera from time to time and follow Sarah on Facebook for your daily dose of self-portrait inspiration as well.
Do you make it a point to be present in photos? If not, what’s holding you back?
More creative photo project ideas:
- Marc Orbito’s One Thousand in Nerd Glasses
- Amanda and Kristi’s People Of Photo Project
- FREE printable photography bucket list
*Photo credit: All photos © Sarah Reinhart.Pin It