Self Portraits from 2018 — What I learned from taking weekly 'selfies' / by Laura Dux

We’ve made it friends! For the first time ever I have finished a photo challenge. I ended the year with 52 photos and only two camera selfies. There are some photos I’m really proud of, some that don’t show me in great light, and some that I shot in the last hour at the end of a long week. Overall, I’m just so happy I kept it up as long as I did. I wrote a short clickbait list on what I learned taking a photo of myself for an entire year. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

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  1. Learn how to pose yourself

I identify myself as a portrait photographer, but posing myself in front of a camera I am not holding is incredibly hard for me. In a lot of these you’ll see I’m making myself laugh. Encouraging myself to smile and giggle at nothing helped me to become comfortable with standing in front of my camera in a posed but candid manner.

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2. You are going to miss that day you looked great

And you’ll have to accept that. I went to an award ceremony in a phenomenal dress as the photographer for the evening. And guess what? I did not take a single photo of myself that night besides a quick camera selfie. This happened a lot during the year. I knew I was going out on Friday so I didn’t bother taking a photo from Monday-Thursday. Friday comes around and I want to focus on getting ready to go out rather than setting up a shot. In the end, I would get the ‘late Sunday night’ shot—which isn’t always bad. But I could have saved myself a lot of late night stress if I settled for average looking me on a Tuesday afternoon.

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3. Settle for the mirror shot

It’s the most basic selfie out there. It’s going to happen. Just let it.

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4. Let someone hold your camera

Having either a tripod or a stack of books hold my camera up was a rule I broke early on. For the most part, I did try to avoid someone taking the shot for me this entire challenge. But sometimes, you just want the nicer shot that only another human can help you with. Rely on them as a tag-team portrait.

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5. Go outside to take your shot

If you have the time during the week, push yourself to go on a walk for the picture. Make yourself uncomfortable with you and your camera in public. Let people stare at you and look indifferent. Make the portrait an excuse to look nice for no one else but yourself.

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6. Your ‘studio’ apartment

I lucked out that I lived in three different places this year to give variety, but making my apartment a make shift studio helped me on days I didn’t want to go out for the shot. Turn the flash on, take the photo in different parts of your house, do close up portraits to make it look like you are totally wearing pants (when in reality, you aren’t)

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7. No matter what, don’t miss a week

You feel over worked and gross? Take the shot. You feel really emotionally drained? Take the shot. You are drunk from a concert at it’s 11pm on a Sunday? Take the shot. Photo challenges are to build routine. I imagine healthy routines like going to gym and keeping a diet are similar to this. You do it no matter what. It’s your routine—and you can’t break any more New Year’s Resolutions!

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There was a lot of personal growth for me this year and I’m so happy I have something silly like this to document it. If any of you are considering doing a photo challenge for next year, feel free to ask me for any advice or join me for 2019. I don’t want to give this up just yet.

xoxo, Laura

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