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52 Week Challenge- Week 1: Self Portrait

Selfies: A Professional Photographer’s Thoughts and How To!
Written by M. MaGaurn – Interview and photo – John Latourelle

Selfie was chosen as the word of the year in 2013 by Webster’s dictionary. Since, the style of photography has grown. Everyone from your professor, coworker, to your mom is taking and posting selfies. We explore ourselves as well as contort other’s thoughts about ourselves though selfies. This post will cover some thoughts, posting habits, and how to’s from professional photographer John Latourelle.

Nineteen percent of Americans report going online exclusively from their smartphones. (Pew Internet Research 2015). Before the invention and permeation of the smartphone, photography was something that even when using a digital camera still had to be processed and printed. Smartphones have made anyone a photographer at anytime. This being said- not everyone who paints is an artist, not everyone who snaps with a cell is a photographer. Following camera accessibility is a mobile connection to the internet, opening a channel that was once only accessible through a computer plugged into a wall.

Selfies are controlled expressions of the self, distributed through social media software specifically made for photo sharing. Two mainstream examples being the photography heavy blog site Tumblr and Instagram. Motivation for the photo is usually based on: construction of a positive self, self-promotion, cries for attention, or as a way to express belonging to a certain community even if it is a digital hashtag community. No matter the motivation selfies are controlled by the photographer* or themselves.

When I asked John what he thought about selfies as a photographer and how they could be improved this is what he had to say.

M: What do you think about selfies as a trend?
John: I hope the trend slows down. I wish more people would use professional portrait photography. I do think the selfie has its place; capturing a candid memory in the moment. If you have 700 selfies on your instagram page it might be time to schedule a professional photoshoot.. Many times people think of having their photo taken as a nerve racking somewhat stressful event. When people book with me I try to bring out their personality and help them enjoy their time in front of the camera as well as the photos after as well as get them some variety.

M: How do you feel about everyone having a camera and access to sharing images at all times?
John: I think Instagram and mass camera access is great. I love tagging and sharing. Although I will admit when I am searching for professional photography, Instagram is not my go to and I do not usually search or browse images there. I do think that higher quality photography on the outlet of Instagram gets shared more. I am a member of 500px which is sort of like a professional instagram. It trims down poor quality and is more specific to subject matter.
M: How often do you post and do you have a strategy?
John: Maybe twice a month, My stategy is to increase awareness about my business and provide people with an easy to see portfolio, I am also trying to get better about posting more frequently

M:Tips on our reader’s selfies?
John: Find your best angles.
We are all human and we all have flaws, finding your best angle including where your eyes are, sitting ¾ or profile to the camera can change how the camera shows you.

Use good lighting: I understand posting a lot but posting with quality also matters. Dark grainy selfies are not going to show your best. Standing with the light source in front of you will illuminate your face.

Have confidence.
Do not over edit yourself; you should still be able to see texture in your skin. Learn to like who you are though your selfies.

M: Yes, let’s talk about the use of filters, the overuse of photoshop and editing. What do you think about the alteration of a selfie image?
John: Ninety percent of my clients want me to change something about them in their photos. I use photoshop and clean up images. I take out stray hairs, zits, and smooth skin. I think hyper edited selfies and photos sometimes can skew self worth and of course reality. Post processing is wonderful, I think it adds to the creativity of the person taking the selfie. Many times I take photos with a certain idea in mind that I use photoshop to help me create, I set lighting and the subject for that particular editing process. Although I have found this to be incredibly helpful in my photography, I do not want it to limit new photographers in thinking that filters make things look fake or should not be used. By all means play with filters and editing techniques – I ask you exercise caution when altering a photo in hopes it will still look realistic.

M: How did you take this selfie?
John: Camera and lighting setup: Canon 5D Mark iii, 1 – 400 watt strobe, medium 12×24 strip, with a 24-70mm lens, triggered remotely with Pocket Wizards. I wanted to use an off camera flash and stretch what I can do. I enjoy hockey and I wanted to showcase a selfie with no short cuts. I posted it on Facebook, Instagram, 500px and my blog.0C6H6908