Shooting Challenge: Self-Portrait

Illustration for article titled Shooting Challenge: Self-Portrait

Be it oil painting or digital photography, the self-portrait has become one of the most fascinating motifs in art. Sometimes brazen, like Chuck Close's Big Self-Portrait, sometimes hidden, like Michelangelo's in The Crucifixion of St Peter...good self-portraiture is always fascinating.

Illustration for article titled Shooting Challenge: Self-Portrait

The Crucifixion of St Peter

The Challenge

Take a self-portrait—and that's it—photograph yourself. The camera can be in the shot, or not. You can be in the foreground or background, a subject or a mere reflection. The way you capture the self-portrait is really the entire challenge, so I'm not telling you what to do with any more specificity.

The Method

I think the hardest part of shooting a self-portrait is letting go of self-consciousness...and either embracing or rejecting vanity, depending on your ego. But for some more practical tips, this list from Digital Photography School is handy, as is this brainstorm over at ShutterBug. And may I suggest, emulating another self-portrait isn't a horrible way to start.

The Rules

1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos need to be taken the week of the contest. (No portfolio linking or it spoils the "challenge" part.)
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings and technique used to snag the shot.
4. Email submissions to
5. Include 800px wide image (200KB or less) AND a 2560x1600 sized in email. (The 800px image is the one judged, so feel free to crop/alter the larger image for wallpaper-sized dimensions.)


Send your best entries by Sunday, May 30th at 11PM Eastern to with "Self-Portrait" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameSELF.jpg (800px) and FirstnameLastnameSELFWALLPAPER.jpg (2560px) naming conventions. Include your shooting summary (camera, lens, ISO, etc) in the body of the email along with a story of the shot in a few sentences—the story here may be particularly interesting, so don't cheat that part.

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Sorry to nitpick. I remember from my art history class that Chuck Close's "Big Self Portrait" is actually a painting. That's acrylic on canvas. Damn good technique. Most people think it's a photo. Nope!