NAME: Alice Che, Alice Che Photography
LOCATION: Mountain View, CA
I’m Alice, a hardware engineer for the Google self driving car team by day and a San Francisco wedding photographer by night/weekends 😉 Photography is my creative outlet from my technical job and before I discovered my love for wedding photography, I took a LOT of self portraits. I still love self portraits because they are such a wonderful way to express my emotions and I strongly believe that it is important, especially as photographers, to get in the frame.
Okay, so I personally love self portraits, but I know that not everyone loves to get in the frame! So I am here to share a few tips with you and hopefully convince you that it is absolutely worth it (and can even be fun!)
1 – Start off small and easy! – If you’re nervous about getting in the frame, I would recommend starting out with something simple and easy. Do a faceless selfie so you don’t have to worry about your expression… or go for a deliberately OOF shot so you don’t need to mess around with getting tack sharp focus!
2 – Use it to practice your skills – Are your kids tired of being in front of your camera? Do you need a subject to finish an assignment for a workshop or to practice some new skills? One of the best things about being a self portrait artist is that you always have a willing model! I learned how to see light by practicing on myself. Whenever I saw interesting light, I would pull out a mirror (or even my cell phone, if I’m being honest!) and tilt my face around and turn my body and watch as the light fell differently. That’s actually a great way to get a specific kind of light if you’re taking a self portrait too! If I am using pockets of light in dappled light, I definitely use a mirror to make sure the shadows aren’t falling on my face.
3 – Use a tripod + remote – Trust me, this will make your life easier! You can absolutely take a self portrait by propping your camera on a flat surface and a lens cap (I do this all the time when I am traveling, haha!) but you’ll be much happier if you use a tripod. It’ll allow you to control the height of your camera and the angle much easier than anything else. A remote isn’t strictly necessary either. I actually often leave it at home and use the self timer on my camera instead, but having a remote cuts down on the running back and forth quite a bit and it can also be a great way to focus. Just be sure to take your camera off of back button focus if you want to focus with the remote, because the camera will react to the press of the remote the same way it reacts to the press of the shutter! If you’re in back button focus mode, it won’t refocus when you press the remote, just like it wouldn’t refocus if you pressed the shutter button 🙂
4 – Bring in a loved one! I love taking artistic self portraits of myself… but my favorite self portraits are the ones where I bring in my boyfriend Sam and capture our relationship together. It’s also an easy way to relax a bit because I don’t really need to worry about posing as much. I used to find it difficult to pose myself, but interacting with Sam is easy and natural. Bring your kids into the frame and keep them entertained by letting them press the remote! Embrace the silly faces. The outtakes with Sam are often some of my favorites, and I love laughing over them.
5 – Remember these photos aren’t just for you. When your kids grow up, they are going to want reminders of what their mama looked like when they were little. As photographers, we often do such a good job of documenting the lives of our loved ones… but we forget that we were there too. Don’t be missing from your photo albums. In ten years, you aren’t going to care that your hair isn’t perfectly made up or that you didn’t have any makeup on. All your children are going to see is their gorgeous mama and how much she loves them.
Do you want to learn how to use light more creatively? Do you want to feel confident that you can find beautiful light even outside of golden hour? Join Alice and Melina as they teach you to master many of the most difficult types of light, including dappled light, direct light, and even artificial light. You’ll learn how to incorporate beautiful shadow patterns in your work, how to create flattering light from unusual artificial light sources (including street lights and lanterns), and how to use light boldly to create a striking composition. You’ll also see their unique perspectives on golden hour backlight, you’ll learn how to use haze and flare creatively to enhance the atmosphere and emotional impact of your photographs, and you’ll see the many ways one window can be used to create beautiful images. Learn more HERE.