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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> Self-portrait tricks?
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Showing posts 1 - 22 of 22, (reverse)
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11/22/2003 11:30:09 PM · #1
I take quite a few self-portraits and was wondering if anyone had any tips or tricks on how to get sharp self-portraits with an slr.

I usually put something where I plan on being and focus on the object. Then remove the object and set the timer. This method works pretty well with a lot of trial and error involved.

I was wondering if anyone had any other suggestions or tricks that work for them.

Message edited by author 2003-11-22 23:30:32.
11/22/2003 11:55:23 PM · #2
I don't do self portraits but someone told me their technique a while ago. They held the camera at the position they would be in when they took the photo, aimed the camera back at the tripod and focused on it, switched to manual focus to lock it down, placed the camera on the tripod, set the self timer and walked back to their position.
Hope this helps.
11/22/2003 11:57:25 PM · #3
can you manually set focus?
11/23/2003 12:03:48 AM · #4
pcody thats a pretty good method. sounds like it could be more precise than mine. i'll have to give it a try.

11/23/2003 12:23:57 AM · #5
Speaking of self portraits.. I took a couple tonight of me to test some lighting and it worked out good for me. I just focused in on where I would be, and made sure I was at that exact point.. here is my photo I took tonight

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11/23/2003 12:28:09 AM · #6
Excellent work.... the lighting is extremely nice also :)
11/23/2003 12:31:08 AM · #7
Great shot Karen, the lighting is excellent!!!
11/23/2003 09:42:02 AM · #8
Originally posted by Miah:

can you manually set focus?


It depends on the camera. I think all DSLRs allow this, and since you are actually looking through the lens you can do it well. Some lower end cameras have the ability to set the focus to one of several fixed positions. But it is impossible to do fine focus using an LCD display; there just isn't enough resolution.
11/23/2003 10:13:05 AM · #9
can you manually set focus? Miah


Just for kicks I tried focusing on different objects around the room in auto pressing the exposure button down half way to set it then switching to manual. It picked up the new reading every time and stayed at that reading. The auto focus is generally quite good in my camera. Donít think there is much difference between our cameras.
01/31/2004 11:06:13 PM · #10
i set the self-timer to 5 seconds, use a 20 foot long shutter release cable to focus, then toss it aside. this method works great.
01/31/2004 11:14:50 PM · #11
Originally posted by pcody:

I don't do self portraits but someone told me their technique a while ago. They held the camera at the position they would be in when they took the photo, aimed the camera back at the tripod and focused on it, switched to manual focus to lock it down, placed the camera on the tripod, set the self timer and walked back to their position.
Hope this helps.


That's what I use too - seems to work quite well.
02/01/2004 01:06:42 AM · #12
Originally posted by posthuman:

i set the self-timer to 5 seconds, use a 20 foot long shutter release cable to focus, then toss it aside. this method works great.


That's what I do, too. I also usually use a video feed to the television so that the LCD display is in front of me on the tv and I can be more precise.

Catherine
02/01/2004 11:57:17 AM · #13
Originally posted by dr_rick:

it is impossible to do fine focus using an LCD display; there just isn't enough resolution.


Can't you use the method Catherine described with the tv screen and get the focus as "fine"?

My camera has a feature that enlarges a selected area 8x to assist in fine focusing in Manual Focus mode. Wouldn't this get your focus fine enough that your won't be able to tell any difference with the naked eye?
02/01/2004 12:07:38 PM · #14
Manual focus with Olympus 5050 was almost inppossible,the LCD was very low resolution even magnification 5x wasn't working for me!Those cameras have lot of features but very hard to use and you end up scraping lot of good oportunity shots!
02/01/2004 03:45:27 PM · #15
On my Sony F707 (and maybe on your digital camera as well) the preview shows the real image, so also including the full depth of field. (on most DSLR's this is not the case and you have to press a button to get depth of field preview).

Full preview makes it very hard to do manual focus at an exact point because with such a large depth of field as most digital camera's have , you won't see much difference when turning the focus ring.

The trick is to first ensure a wide open aperture, for example F2. This limits the depth of field and makes it easier and more accurate to focus. Once set, then set the required aperture and shoot away.

02/01/2004 03:51:54 PM · #16
A1 and 707 have EVF and that make it easier to know where the focus is .cameras with optical Viewfinder is almost impossible to control especially if you zoom in full tele !

Once I was taking shot of a squirell with 5050 and had a 2x teleconverter on,I look through the viewfinder put the square on the eyes of the squirell and took 6 photos.After when i review the pics on the LCD i had only ears of the animal on the bottom of the photos blur because the focus was on the tree behind!

Message edited by author 2004-02-01 15:56:05.
02/07/2004 11:29:40 AM · #17
When focusing on a stilllife or a particular point in the "studio" I use a tape measure and some feet to meters math... downside of the minolta A1 all measurements are in meters. This worked well for me, but I think I might try this method next time...

Originally posted by pcody:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I don't do self portraits but someone told me their technique a while ago. They held the camera at the position they would be in when they took the photo, aimed the camera back at the tripod and focused on it, switched to manual focus to lock it down, placed the camera on the tripod, set the self timer and walked back to their position.
Hope this helps.
02/07/2004 12:10:33 PM · #18
I found it easier to do self portraits using a Nikon Coolpix with the twist body. You could set the self timer and use auto focus. If you twisted the body around 180 degrees, you could view yourself in the LCD right next to the lens with little parallax shift. Here's a sample collage:

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02/14/2004 08:28:46 PM · #19
I made a long corded remote because the standard remote for the DR, at two feet, was just way too short. My remote cord is eight feet and I have an extension cord at sixteen feet.

I tried to put an object where I would be sitting and focusing just didn't work. All of the images were soft.

By using the long remote I can use AF and get the kind of sharpness I want and need. First thing I do is raise my hand in front of the lens and press the button. AF, of course moves to focus on the hand. I then press the button to focus on me, snap the shot and I am done.

It is also useful for taking several shots to get different positions and expressions. Then all it is is a "picking of the best shots."

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Message edited by author 2004-02-15 02:38:38.
02/17/2004 04:07:39 PM · #20
I take them all the time (boy that sounds vain! LOL) I just usually hold the camera arms length away and have no problems. I also found that natural light works the best.

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02/17/2004 05:09:48 PM · #21
Originally posted by nsoroma79:

I take them all the time (boy that sounds vain! LOL) I just usually hold the camera arms length away and have no problems. I also found that natural light works the best.



beautiful self portraits..and I agree..natural light from sitting near a window works wonders. EVen with my old craptacular olympus I never had problems doing self-portraits at arms length. You can see yourself in the lens, too if that helps.

Message edited by author 2004-02-17 17:10:02.
03/19/2004 06:03:56 PM · #22
I know that by definition it would no longer be a self portrait, but another way to get good focus is to set up the exposure, white balance etc. etc. until all you need to do is press the shutter button, then ask someone to press it for you. Does that count? There's almost always going to be a spare person around somewhere.
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