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The various lockdown restrictions in place in the UK since March 2020 have left many of us left with sterile Instagram pages, sharing endless flashbacks to make up for the lack of events we had to share on social networks. Where there was once a street style, selfies became one of the only ways for those who didn’t have a willing photographer to photograph themselves. And other photography opportunities outside the home were largely limited to particularly visually pleasing trees and faded sunsets.
Now, as the world begins to open up again, there are many more opportunities for Instagram-worthy content. But posing while someone takes a photo of you can seem quite intimidating, especially now that we all lack practice. So why not start by mastering the art of the self-portrait, instead?
The self-portrait is something photographer and influencer Onyi Moss has been practicing for years. Selfies are not only a creative way to improve your Instagram feed, but they can become an act of self-care and help boost your self-esteem.
“It’s almost like a ritual,” Onyi says of the self-portraits. “It’s between you and yourself and you’re just in that open space where you’re trying to capture a moment that you feel special to yourself. I’d say it’s definitely a process that can be mindful.
Taking selfies, like any other form of photography, is a skill that takes practice in order to develop your technique, however, and Onyi has some tips on where to start – equipment you need to decide which story you want. want your pictures to tell.
4 useful things that will help you take selfies at home
- A camera or smartphone
- A tripod
- A Bluetooth remote control / timer
- A good backdrop and props
Search online for free photography resources and tutorials
Onyi never had any formal training in photography, but was able to develop impressive photographic skills and a distinctive style that helped boost her career as an influencer. She explains that she learned photography when she started watching YouTube videos. “I would watch people like Jessica Kobeissi, who is a photographer, and I would watch a YouTube channel called PH Learn.”
“It wasn’t necessarily about buying the most expensive equipment, it was about making the most of what you already have,” she explains. “I also watched videos on how to edit images – color grading is very important.”
Don’t invest in camera equipment right away
“Try it with your phone’s camera at first,” advises Onyi. “We now have timers that we can set on our phone to shoot after 30 seconds so you can put it on a mini tripod and set it up. And the quality of phone cameras these days is absolutely excellent, especially in portrait mode.
Onyi explains that people often ask her what equipment she uses to achieve her high level of photography and sometimes it turns out that these people use exactly the same equipment as her, or sometimes even better quality equipment. “It’s something I learned about photography,” she says. “It’s not necessarily about what you have or how much money you have spent. It’s about practice and with practice you develop your own style. If you can’t tell your own story with what you already have, then a better camera won’t help you achieve it.
If you ultimately decide to invest in hardware after taking selfies on your phone and deciding you like it, Onyi recommends the Canon EOS M200 as a beginner’s camera, but stresses that the lens you choose is the thing. the most important because they are more affordable than cameras and more adaptable too. Onyi suggests the Canon EF 50mm fi.8 II lens for portrait and landscape images.
Establish the story you want your images to tell
There are many things to consider when shooting a self portrait, including angles, decor, and wardrobe. Onyi explains that before thinking about all of this, she establishes the story and the message that she is trying to convey through the photos: “I have to make sure everything is cohesive for the story to unfold beautifully. “
You can then think about how to use things like wardrobe and location to build your story. Onyi uses the example of a recent Instagram post that she wanted to signify the start of spring. So she incorporated floral elements into her outfit and focused on specific elements like her floral nail art.
When it comes to finding locations, Onyi’s advice is to pay more attention to the rooms in your home and your everyday surroundings that you have become accustomed to: “If I go shopping, I go shopping. be careful of what about. “
“Everything could easily be a backdrop,” she continues. “So you just have to notice it and that’s how I’ve always been able to create locked out content because I’m just using my local area. “
If you’re not happy with the options your home gives you for pictures, a few simple tips that Onyi suggests are to hang a bed sheet to give yourself a blank canvas to lay in front of it and use things like plants and books as props.
Make mistakes to know what kind of photos you like
Onyi says she finds it easier to get a photo she likes when taking selfies than when someone else takes a photo of her because she’s looking at the photos she’s taken almost immediately after posing for them and she can decide which items she doesn’t like right away. She then changes her poses or the scenery accordingly, rather than relying on someone else’s opinion.
“You know which direction you’re going and if you think it’s something that looks good,” Onyi says. “Looking at one photo tells me what to do in the next one. “
Using your phone’s front camera is another option, so you can see yourself while taking the photos and adjust your poses as you go.
Have confidence in yourself
If you are uncomfortable or lacking in experience posing for photos, Onyi suggests practicing poses in the mirror: “You can also review photos of yourself that you have already taken and you can try to recreate the poses you like.
A lot of people feel uncomfortable taking photos in public, but it can be a necessary part of taking a self portrait that you are happy with, especially when you’ve exhausted the options offered by the four walls of your home. House. “I’ve been there and yes it can be scary,” says Onyi. “What I would tell people is to find quiet places. Before confinement, I went to restaurants when I knew people wouldn’t be on lunch breaks, for example. “
“But that also comes with experience,” she says. “The more you put yourself forward, the more you don’t care.”
You don’t have to post your photos on social media, says Onyi, “If you feel like it’s a personal project, don’t feel the pressure to share. You can keep it for yourself, your family and your friends.
But social media can be a good way to hold yourself accountable for improving your skills, and it can also serve as a way to track how far you’ve come in terms of improving your skills. “I never delete old photos,” says Onyi. “I want people to see it’s a trip and I don’t even feel like I’ve hit the best yet. I am always open to learning and actually looking for new ways to improve myself and improve my skills.
4 key tips to take away from the Onyi tutorial
- Experiment with the equipment you have before you buy anything
- Your photos must have a story behind them
- Use unconventional locations and accessories
- You don’t have to post your photos on social media – selfies can be personal projects
Onyi Moss, photographer and influencer
Onyi Moss is a self-taught photographer, specializing in self-portrait photography. She has amassed 165,000 Instagram followers by sharing her photographs and working with brands like Viktor & Rolf, Pandora and Elemis.