Self Portrait Shoot 4 Review.

Following my tutorials with Caroline and Emma, I brainstormed and came up with a few more ideas for potential shots to include in my book. Caroline was particularly keen for me to create images which will really make the viewers feel my anxiety, so I thought more about things I do when I’m having a particularly anxious spell.

  • A close up of nails digging into knees.
  • Rubbing/scratching of collarbone.
  • Roller on wrist.
  • Biting nails?
  • Tear falling from eye.

After showing my initial idea for the set up of my book to Emma, she encouraged me to shoot more images which show the other elements which helped me get over my anxiety. There were things that helped me which I didn’t really felt were suitable to shoot such as coming to university, but I did think of how helpful music has been to me as well as writing a journal. Therefore new ideas for the shoot included..

  • Writing in journal.
  • Headphones/listening to music.
  • Close up of eye, with image of family photoshopped in.
  • Ben’s hand on shoulder.

I decided I wanted to take most of these pictures in the studio and the same as my other previous shoots, I explained the concept and idea to Ben, set up the shot myself with him as the subject to get the correct lighting and composition then swapped places for him to press the shutter. I also went back to using pre-visualised sketches to save time with composition and help Ben understand what I wanted to achieve.

(include photocopy)

ContactSheet-001 ContactSheet-002 ContactSheet-003

This shoot didn’t run as smoothly as the others, but I still came out with suitable images to use for my book. The biggest problem was struggling to get the camera to focus, whether this was my fault or an issue with the camera, sometimes it was difficult to focus or it kept jumping in and out. Obviously once I had managed to focus it and placed myself in the frame, this became a problem for Ben trying to keep it in focus. This was unbelievably frustrating but solved with a little perseverance. This was particularly a problem with the close up of the eye which left me wishing I had borrowed the macro lens to get a good close up. I wanted to make sure the eye was wide enough include my other picture and also not have too much distracting detail around it, but I couldn’t get as close as I wanted with the lens that was on the camera therefore this will need to be resolved in Photoshop with a close crop.

There were a few images I took during this shoot which I have decided not to take further. Throughout my anxiety, I have been using a Neal’s Yard Remedy to Roll which has been unbelievably useful in helping me cope severe feelings of anxiety. However, I was really struggling to compose a suitable image to include it in my book. At first, I experimented with using the light to highlight the liquid on my wrist. Although I quite liked how the light picked out its shiny texture and the lines of my veins on the wrist, it didn’t work in terms of the viewer being able to understand what it was. Because of this, I tried to introduce the actual roller into the image but this just looked forced and uncomfortable, as well as more of a ‘product’ shot rather than a self portrait for my project. I also wanted to try and get an image of myself and Ben, to show how he has supported and helped me through my anxiety. However, Emma wasn’t so sure about the idea of the image beforehand and after shooting it, I didn’t feel particularly enthusiastic about it myself. Although I think it captured the concept well, the image just felt flat and uninteresting. Seeing as I already planned to include the other image of the eye with my family (and Ben) inside, I felt this was enough and didn’t need to include this other image. Despite this, I was able to get a few suitable images for my book with one of my particular favourites being of the tear rolling down my cheek. At the end of the shoot, I also took a quick couple of images with the mask to use for my front cover of my book with limited lighting to cast some dark shadows and interesting contrasts creating quite an eerie, scary image to introduce my battle with anxiety appropriately.

The other 2 pictures I wanted to shoot of writing in my journal and listening to music, I didn’t want to take in the studio. Although I could have changed the backdrop to white rather than black, to lighten the atmosphere as these images will be going on the ‘positive’ side of my book, I simply felt the images would look better in a more ‘natural’ environment. This did mean shooting in poorer light conditions but this was easily resolved with the right shutter speed setting and the help of a higher ISO. Luckily I didn’t feel like I needed to take too many images here as the concept was quite simple and to the point.


I decided I wanted to do something a bit different with the picture of my journal because I thought just taking a picture of me writing on a piece of paper would be too ‘standard’. Therefore I decided just to frame the shot of pen and paper, and with the use of Photoshop to layer over a text extract from my real journey for something a little different. With the headphones shot, I kept this quite basic with the main focus on the headphones with little distracting detail, trying to keep the background light to help enhance the positivity. Now this shoot is complete, I am able to put the last few images in to finalise my book and get it sent off to print.


~ by victoriasimkissphotography on May 7, 2015.

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