Make your wishes come true with this little trick

Make your wishes come true with this little trick- Bulletjournal page

The other day I came across something rather upsetting about myself. I realized that even though i have all these big dreams and wishes, my belief that they actually could ever come true was on a bit of a shaky ground .

It was one of those “Shit, have I lost my belief? When did that happen, and where did I leave it?” .

I remembered a blog post I read many years ago (that I can't find anymore ugh) that was about making your own magic spell list. The idea is that you write down your wishes and dreams you'd like to come true, and then you keep it in a safe place and actively keep those things in your vicinity.

You can write down very concrete small wishes that you'd like to see come true, that aren't too far away in the future. I decided to do this again to kind of break down all those distant and abstract hopes & dreams, and show myself that my wishes do have the potential to come true.

When I look back just a few years ago I wished more than anything to fall in love and be in a relationship. And, although there's probably many factors at play that resulted in that finally happening, i did close my eyes and make a wish many times when I saw a falling star. Just saying.

I've had other dreams come true too, like getting a cat (I even wrote a whole blog post about it, that's how serious I take it). And, at the moment we have TWO cats!! I mean if that's not magic I don't know what is ;) So, why couldn't my other dreams come true too?

Even if you don't believe in a bit of magic, then try making a wish list for the simple reason that when we articulate our goals we actually take more action towards achieving them.

I love making lists and the idea of jotting down the things I really wish for at the moment feels like a nice little way to send out some signals out in to the universe that says "hey, if you've got a spare minute I'd appreciate a helping hand with these things" :)

I'll end with a quote I came across by the genius T.S.Eliot:

"Sometimes things become possible if we want them bad enough"
Make your wishes come true with this little trick- Cat and emboidered cat jeans

What about you, do you ever write down your wishes & dreams?

 

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How to take your best photos for the Instagram hashtag projects

#WHPspontaneous

#WHPspontaneous

The reasons for wanting to get featured on Instagram could be many, the most obvious being that it's such a good opportunity to get your photo in front of huge amount of people.

If you're trying to get more visibility for your creative work a feature on Instagram could be just the trigger that sets you on your path to success.

In this post I wanted to share some of the thoughts and ideas that have worked for me in getting featured, so that you can go out there and take your *cue cheerleader pompom routine*  BEST weekends hashtag project photos EVER!

#WHPillusion

#WHPillusion

If you're not already familiar with the weekend hashtag projects it's a weekly themed photo challenge that Instagram announces on their own account each Friday. Every weekend there's a different theme, it can be anything from #WHPmini to #WHPhome, and every photo taken that weekend with the hashtag included is eligible to get featured on Instagrams account next week.

I've gotten featured via these projects 3 times, which is sort of insane and although I worked for my photos, I'm sure there was some luck with me too (well, I also have the cutest cats=Instagold).

Just to give you an idea what getting featured could do to your account I'll share with you how mine has grown with each feature.

  • #WHPmadewithlove (September 2017)

 From around 2,000 followers to 6,000 followers in just one day.

  • #WHPmyeveryday (October 2017)

 From roughly 7,000 to 11,000 in a couple of days.

  • #WHPspontaneous (January 2018)

 Went from 15,500 followers to 19,500 followers.

#WHPmadewithlove

#WHPmadewithlove

#WHPmyeveryday

#WHPmyeveryday

Taking part in these projects is such a good way to challenge your creativity and work on your photography.

It's really fun to see what others have created within the same frame under the hashtag and discover new like minded passionistas and whimsical Instagrammers.

So, I'll end my pitch on why you should also take part in these right here, and continue with my 4 tips plus the secret sauce to create you absolute BEST Instagram weekend hashtag photos.

#WHpmystyle

#WHpmystyle

1. Use what you already have

Use an already existing idea you have for a photo and tweak it for the #WHP. It can be quite the challenge to create something from absolute scratch in only a weekend, and to do something that both fits the theme and also feels like you.

Especially in the beginning I did the mistake of taking photos that I probably otherwise never would have, and created & posted them just for the sake of the #WHP.

It was a great learning experience but those photos would always leave me feeling a bit meh.

This was not the right path.

So instead I started using things that had worked for me before and do variations on those, OR take an idea I had in the back of my head and make it fit with the #WHP.

That way it becomes more about challenging your own original ideas and taking them further and less about selling your soul in the hopes of a feature.

Being authentic is the only thing that works.

2. Think differently

Okay, so the whole “think outside of the box” concept is easier said than done, but what it really boils down to is having an idea.

The idea doesn't have to be the most genius never-before-seen visual firework, but having some kind of thought behind your photo is definitely key to grabbing peoples attention.

What this practically means is to sometimes not go with the first idea that pops in your head, but instead maybe choosing the second or third or maybe even seventh idea!

#WHPstripes

#WHPstripes

An example of a photo that really made me stretch my own creativity and think outside of the box was this one for #WHPstripes. It didn't get featured but it was so much fun to do!

I was super excited about the concept of cutting the photos to create the stripes, and I would probably never have come up with this idea unless I would've participated in the weekend hashtag challenge.

3. Give them something worth making a remark about

This is a thought I stumbled upon by in Seth Godins Ted Talk “How to get your ideas to spread”:

The thing that's going to decide what gets talked about, what gets done, what gets changed....is: "Is it remarkable?" And "remarkable" is a really cool word, because we think it just means "neat," but it also means "worth making a remark about."

I think this is a nice little reminder that nudges us to choose a path of weird and whimsical ideas instead of the safe and comfortable ones.

When I look back at my photos that have gotten featured they've all had more than one “thing” going on in them. For example the one that got featured for #WHPspontaneous (first pic in this post) have both the noodles that look like a knit project and Bella strutting towards the camera, two things worth making a remark about right there.

What can you add to your photo that makes it worth making a remark about? Is it a surprising angle, a surreal juxtaposition or an interesting pattern?

#WHPwithlove

#WHPwithlove

4. Composition

Composition basically means how you put everything together in your photo. Without a clear sense of composition a brilliant idea is useless.

This doesn't mean you have to stage or style a photo, snapping pics from very real and everyday life moments also require you to choose your subjects and angles carefully. It's all about finding the right balance and rhythm in your photo to support what it is you want to express.

For example I often tend to make sure that I have a very clear point of focus in my photos and try to avoid too much clutter.

One test to see if I've achieved this is to look at a photo I took in that tiny thumbnail size on the phone screen, and see if it's still readable in such a small size.

Learning about the rule of thirds is a great basic guideline when you're editing your photos, and in the end it's all really about finding what works best in bringing out the things you want in your photo.

If your story is about minimalism, then having a lot of negative space is a good guideline. If you're all about dreamy atmospheres, then focusing on the mood and colors become vital elements. If you're all about fun and unfiltered, then go ahead and be crazy and messy!

You decide.

*BONUS*

5. The secret sauce

The final and probably most important thing, which I like to call the secret sauce, is how your photo makes people feel.

We're emotional creatures -who all crave love and to be seen- and the power of emotions is not to be underestimated when creating visual content.

What is it that you want to make someone feel when they see your picture? Will it spark some kind of emotions or curiosity or will your photo be easy to ignore and skip over?

Giving some extra attention to considering how the viewer will perceive your photo is a good idea when creating photos for the #WHPs as you are also trying to reach out to people who aren't already following you.

If you can make someone smile or feel a spark of excitement or inspiration when they look at your photo, you've seriously kicked ass my friend and done something very important *clapping*.

The world needs to see your good stuff.

#WHPpetproject

#WHPpetproject

Ok, so there you have my tips, I hope you've enjoyed them :)

Here I complied a little list of tasks and questions for you to do if, like me, you're a geek who loves a bit of homework (especially if there's lists involved *wohoo*).

TASK LIST

  1. Write down or sketch out ideas you have for photos so that you'll have a list handy for future WHPs
  2. Go back and take a look at photos you've already done that worked. Analyze them and break them down to the things that were part of making that photo good in your opinion. Is there a specific corner in your home with really good light you could use as a backdrop again? Is there a concept you were excited about that you could redo? Do you have an object or texture (I use my knits all the time) that you get inspired by that you could use in a photo?
  3. Articulate what you want the viewer to feel when they look at your photos. You can make a list of words that you would like people to associate with your pictures.
  4. Make a Pinterest board with ideas for interesting concepts and ideas for the future. To get started you're welcome to have a look at some of mine :)

 

Have you taken part in the weekend hashtag projects before? What was your experience of creating something within a specific frame?

 

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Celebrating the Imperfect

Celebrating the Imperfect-Photos from the archive. Rose in a little vase

Look, I'm not a perfectionist when it comes to many things in life. I rarely shave my legs regularly (even in the Summer), I'm really lazy when it comes to putting the lid back on things, and if you'd see the chaos in our fridge you'd understand why my boyfriend thinks I'm a messy little piggy.

But, one thing I am quite perfectionist with is my creative work. That's why, even though I must have snapped thousands of photos last year, a very small fraction of them actually made the cut and ended up online.

So I thought I'd share some of these hidden gems from the archive that I didn't consider good enough at the time of shooting them.

Photos from the Archive- Celebrating the Imperfect

I took this photo last Summer out on an evening walk. I'd made the flower wreath for another picture the day before, and being the opportunistic spirit I am I threw it in my bag along side with my camera.

I did contemplate wearing it in my hair but I was in a less "bohemian love child" mood and more "grumpy and it's too hot to be inside" mood. Real life isn't always as pretty as in the photos eh?

Photos from the Archive-  Celebrating the Imperfect. Spring blossoms captured with my iphone in Stockholm

Looking at this photo makes me think of cherry blossoms and all the pretty pics I see in those dreamy Japanese instagram accounts.

Makes my lifelong dream of visiting Japan even stronger and my heart starts beating just a bit faster. Ever since I was a child I've had a longing to visit that country that seems like utter aesthetic heaven and sushi lovers paradise.

One day my friends, one day there will be a blog post about my travel to the cherry blossom country. In the meantime, a photo of the flowers on our street in Stockholm.

Photos from the Archive-  Celebrating the Imperfect. Carousel goinf round at Gröna Lund

When I was age 11 my family lived in Paris for a year. Sometimes when my Dad would come pick me and my sister up from school we would take the long way home so we could take a ride on the carousel (somewhere by the Seine) and eat popcorn.

I'd say my childhood was pretty ok ;)

Photos from the Archive-  Celebrating the Imperfect. A pink house surrounded by pink flowers

Last Summer I passed this house every morning when I walked to rehearsals for a project I did on the Åland Islands. I really wanted to get closer and take more pics from the yard, but being the little wuss I am I never dared to get any closer and this is what I got instead.

Photos from the Archive-  Celebrating the Imperfect. Pink flowers on crinkled up white sheets

Taken at a moment when I felt lost and confused about what the hell I'm doing with my life and questioned what truly is meaningful. When I look at this photo now it feels like I was trying to find some consolation in the non-judgement flowers and plants offer in their silence.

Photos from the Archive-  Celebrating the Imperfect

This is from a phase when I wanted take these contemporary-ish fashion magazine kinda surreal stylized photos. Well, as it turns out I'm not really cool enough to pull off that style, and I chose a different path of whimsy instead which fits me much better.

Still, funny to look back at these ideas I've had along the way of my creative identity soul searching journey (which btw is totally still an ever ongoing process).

Photos from the Archive-  Celebrating the Imperfect. Sitting in the sunset out on a meadow

Another photo from last Summer when i dragged out my boyfriend to capture this glittery dress in the golden hour. This was my "California dreaming" phase.

Photos from the Archive-  Celebrating the Imperfect. I made a little origami paper boat

A photo I did last Summer for one of the first ever weekend hashtag projects I took part in, but ended up choosing a different version of the same idea.

The day I took this I had set my alarm really early because I wanted to catch that magical morning light. Well, I  biked down to the beach only to find that I had forgotten to put back the memory card in my camera.. So I had to bike all the way back home and then out to the beach again, and missed the morning light glow... So that didn't go as planned haha.

Still, now when I look at this photo which undoubtedly looks a little flat due to the midday light, I kinda like the roughness and imperfection of it (can you see that horizon is tilted? :)).

Photos from the Archive- Celebrating the Imperfect. A butterfly caught inside against the window against the green forest

From a trip to my parents house in Portugal. I kept chasing this butterfly for hours like a little kitty cat.

When it finally sat down on the window I went crazy and snapped away hundreds of pictures, and then, thanked the little butterfly and let it out the window.

Photos from the Archive-  Celebrating the Imperfect. An old window with a bit of sunshine coming though

Last photo is from my Grandmothers house, I mean these kind of curtains only exist in the houses of old people.

Everything in that blue house is like over a hundred years old with cracks in the wall paper and yellow stains in the ceiling. Last time I was there I looked through some of the old drawers and found tons of buttons, pieces of yarn, tin boxes with letters and ribbons- truly a dream come true for a vintage enthusiast.

Nothing was thrown away back then and even a tiny piece of soap or used wrapping paper was kept to be re-used, some day. I like that idea of treating even the things that aren't worth a lot as truly treasured possessions.

 

Do you ever go through your camera roll and find hidden gems that you discarded at the moment of shooting them?

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The Magic of Creating Something Out of Nothing

Coffee bean owl

The cliché expression "a picture says more than a thousand words" is ancient wisdom and the fact remains that visuals are still an extremely strong way to communicate and tell stories. But lately I've also been wondering if we're really getting all those thousands of words and stories out of a single image when we're being handed SO much visual material on a daily basis?

Like who has time to analyze and ooze over every single pic they see?

In fact, one study said the average time a person looks at a photo online is two tenth of a second.

Two tenths of a second! That's not a long time to captivate an audience and tell a story, and as somebody who is really into sharing photos it sounds pretty brutal *wipes sweat from forehead*.

Do your own thing

But that's actually why I think it's even more important than ever before to stick to doing your own thing and not be too concerned with trying to be the one that shouts the loudest out there in the online world.

Instead, I think it makes more sense to focus on telling the stories that inspire you and rock your world, or even just nudge your world a little from side to side.

I mean, obviously we don't go around feeling super pumped and inspired all the friggin' time, but I know from experience that there's always something that is worth your attention and curiosity, no matter how small and simple it may feel.

The key is simple

Actually, I believe it's in the simple things that the true key to amazing creative discoveries lie (and I say this as somebody who always over complicates things).

I mean, I once made a whole dance solo based on our cat, not exactly the most original idea (remember Cats the musical?), but I did it and learned something in the process. It was just something I had to do to get out of my system.

Sometimes it's better to start with the thing that comes naturally than not starting at all just because you're waiting for the perfect idea to land in your lap.

Popcorn cloud

Something out of nothing

I've always been fascinated by the process of creating something out of nothing. Being able to give something that did not exist before a form, an identity and a story is super exhilarating to me. That in itself motivates me, the magic of "first there's nothing, then there is something". How cool is that?!

If I would have to choose just one moment to live in for the rest of my life I would choose that moment of initiating something new, when that spark of an idea lights up and starts to wander around in your mind and body.

That moment when everything feels possible and all the boring obstacles of reality that will inevitably compromise the brilliance of your ideas are still only faded whispers in the distance.

In the beginning the idea is a bit like a timid creature that is hiding in the bushes, and you don't know what kind of animal it is yet so you have to try to seduce it out with milk, berries and cookies to see what will attract its taste buds enough to make it come out from its hiding place.

Sometimes it's a beautiful unicorn, other times it's a grumpy hedgehogish thingy with spikes. But you'll never find out if you don't give it a try right?

The curse of being a serial project maker

The strange thing is that as soon as I've managed to lure the idea out and captured it after all the seduction tricks I often tend to lose my interest in it quite quickly. When I've cracked the mystery and the idea doesn't need my full attention anymore I'm quickly moving onto my next lover instead.

I think this might be the curse of being a serial project maker, being on the constant search for the next idea and work of art, motivated by the hope that the next project will be the one where everything comes together just perfectly.

It's also an emotional thing, I seek the rush and the promise of uncharted lands with new exciting opportunities where the birds might be even more majestic and the stars even shinier.

It reminds me of those hours spent as a child building up imaginary worlds in preparation for playing. Often that ritual of inventing and setting up the scene would be so much more satisfying and interesting to me than the actual execution of the playing itself.

In a sense I find that same pleasure in creating an image that I post on instagram. It's the process that I live for, the result is obviously also nice but that's not really the main motivator if I'm honest.

I like to spend time with all the choices I need to make as a photographer. That process of making creative decisions feels meaningful to me and gives me a deep sense of satisfaction.

White dress and photography

What motivates you?

Do you also get a rush out of creating something out of nothing?

 

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My First Encounter with a Broken Seam

Winter landscape and roses in my hood

When I was a little girl I had this habit of hanging from my Dad's pockets like a little monkey. I remember how much fun it was to to feel that thrilling sensation of floating off the ground as we walked down the streets of Helsinki together, up up up and away!

But as I grew bigger the pockets started to look more and more sad from all of my monkey business, and slowly but surely the the seams started to break and unravel. And so to my disappointment, my years of hanging from my Dad's pockets came to an end.

For some reason this memory feels like a really big turning point in my up to then very short life. It was the first time I encountered having broken something (well, that I can remember at least), and where growing up was preventing me from doing something that I loved.

I was basically standing in my own way of happiness as I saw it.

It was confusing to face the fact I could do such damage, even though, in the bigger scope of life breaking a pocket is not such an epic screw up, but from a child's perspective it was a big deal.

The reason this particular memory has bubbled up to the surface recently is that I've been thinking about how the way we perceive ourselves affect the way we react and respond to the world around us.

As a child I was surprised that I had become bigger and had the capabilities of such destruction, and had a hard time accepting that change. My self image and reality were struggling to keep up with each other.

Now after over two decades of dance training I'm more aware of my physical limitations and 1,71 m wingspan (although, I just managed to knock over my coffee all over the couch so I guess the body awareness thing is still a work in progress).

faded blue jeans and pink flowers

But I share this because I wanted to talk about something that feels pretty vulnerable and scary to bring up that I think many can relate to, which is having self destructive thoughts and standing in the way of your own success.

People close to me (mostly my boyfriend and Mom, yes my inner circle is very cool LOL) have mentioned a couple of times that I have a tendency to be a bit self destructive at times.

It mostly manifests itself in me being too hard on myself and self criticism that can numb me and wipe out all my self confidence. Not great when you're trying to build up your whole life around your creativity.

My creative process is a bit like that time when I was hanging onto my Dads pockets.

First everything is happy go lucky ad I'm swinging away for a while, until my inner voice starts to go “hey this isn't good enough” and the seams of the pocket starts to fall apart, but I don't realize that it's the weight of my body, or in the case of my negative thoughts that are actually causing the damage.

Again I wonder, is self awareness the key to avoid this confusion and pain?

Maybe all the self help meditation gurus do have a point after all?

Will I be able to handle it all better if I keep track of my own growth and somehow try to observe my mind when these thoughts of self destructive nature begin to cloud my blue inner sky?

Snow globe

A lot of introspection and reflection going on here today, and I don't know if this is helping me anymore than it is you, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that we all have inner battles that we're fighting, and that talking about it and getting some perspective on the whole thing is probably not such a bad idea.

Anyway, I'll go back to try and plan my upcoming vlog now (self destructive thoughts nightmare), and if you want to share your thoughts or experiences on this topic I'd be delighted to continue the discussion over here or on Instagram :)

 

 

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Fill Up Your Creative Karma Bucket

Strawberry shaped heart with wings

It's Christmas morning and instead of joyful carols my Dad is singing “It's a hard knock life” (think Annie but as a 60-year old pyjama wearing dude) as he balances on a rickety kitchen chair and tries to reach for the iphone that is taped to the ceiling.

I've instructed him to push the self timer button and then quickly remove himself from the frame so that I'll get the photo I've planned to post on Instagram in the evening.

Oh and did I mention it's Christmas, and this is what making your dreams come true looks like: putting your family at hard labor at the most inappropriate time of the year.

The reason I'm choosing not to “slow down” for Christmas is because I've got this theory that I call the Creative Karma Bucket. Basically I believe there's a bucket that fills up with all the work and effort I put into achieving something, and that when it overflows, something great will happen.

So, the quicker I fill up my bucket the quicker I'll get my next breakthrough.

I write this because I recently got featured by Instagram (for the third time in four months!!) and just a few weeks before that I was in a major creative slump (like Britney, I was in one of those “Not a girl, not yet a woman” phases, only concerning my creative identity rather than my female one ).

I felt things were going nowhere and that the stuff I was making was all rubbish. But, I still kept on working even though I was feeling utterly uninspired because I knew that that's the only way to achieve what I want, and hopefully will get me there a bit quicker.

The things is, we've all got goals and dreams that we're aiming for, and when it feels like things aren't moving forwards it's easy to get discouraged and lose the drive and motivation. I've realized I need to look at the whole thing from a perspective of what I can't, and more importantly what I can affect and control.

I can't decide when the stars will align and give me that break I've been looking for, or when a photo will go viral on Instagram or somebody I admire will share or compliment my work.

But, what I CAN affect is the amount of effort and work I put i to getting closer to making those things happen.

Instead of spending time on feelings of self doubt, fear or whatever excuses I make up for myself that hold me back, I only have to take care of filling up my Creative Karma bucket and hope that the excess spill will happen soon.

Origami dresses and birds on a string

Now, in the name of transparency i should probably also mention that I really like working and I enjoy having a lot of creative projects going on at the same time.

People keep talking about finding "work-life balance", and while that sounds like a very sensible thing I also believe that you sometimes just need to push yourself if you want to make stuff happen.

Let me give you another example of my obsession to fill up my bucket:

So, it's Saturday morning and I'm sitting at the breakfast table watching a youtube tutorial on how to fold origami dresses. I'm trying to hurry as I only have a few hours of daylight left (because Winter) to take the photo I've been planning.

An hour & lots of crafting later I stand out in the park freezing as my boyfriends snaps away at location 1, 2 and finally 3. The evening is spent at my laptop photoshopping, only to find the the ideas isn't working after a full day of work. Meh.

The next day I get up early because I've come up with another version of the same idea. As soon as my boyfriend comes out in his pyjamas I ask him to help me take some photos, again... Poor guy hasn't even had his coffee yet.

I pose for the picture I have in mind and he takes the photos and does all kinds of fancy plié moves to get the camera in the perfect angle for the ideal shot.

After this I put my boots on, say bye to him and hike to the park which is one hour away from our home to take more photos while there's still daylight outside.

By Sunday evening I've got a few photos that I feel happy about and I sit in the couch feeling satisfied with all the work I've done.

My boyfriend sits quietly on the other side of the couch, looking sort of grumpy and murmurs something about me working all weekend, oops.. I did it again (wow, second Britney Spears reference in one blog post :D).

Bird against light blue sky and forest

I guess what I'm trying to say is that sometimes you just have allow the passion for making your goals and dreams come true spill out onto your loved ones and trust that they will understand and support you.

I believe the only one who is ultimately responsible for my happiness is myself, and with risk of sounding like an over privileged millennial, I think that means I have to stand up for my passions and make sure I follow them in this one lifetime I have.

Anyways, keep filling up your Creative Karma buckets, and I'll just leave you with these words of wisdom by Britney:

"You better work bitch" ;)

 

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10 tips for taking self portraits when the camera doesn't love you

Girl in red dress and wellies

There seems to be those people in social media realm that just look brilliantly natural in every single picture they post no matter the angle, pose or face expression. Then there are people like me who mostly end up looking awkward with weird smirks and beady eyes, features that make me look like a combination of a confused alien and stuffed rodent, which is not exactly the look I'm going for ;)

When I look at my photos I start feeling self conscious about the way I look, which in turn makes me look even more uncomfortable in the photos I take. It's as if my face has too many expressions to choose from, and only once in a while when I'm lucky I manage to capture one of the ones that I like.

When taking self portraits the inner critic in us is probably at its loudest pointing out all the things we're unhappy about with ourselves. But that's exactly why I believe it's worth while to put in the effort in taking self portraits that can make us see our own beauty and uniqueness. I don't want to sound too wishy-washy or naive here, but I really believe self portraits have incredible potential to empower and make us feel good about ourselves, something the world and especially women could use a bit more of, don't you agree?

The other thing is that self portraits have amazing story telling capabilities and power to engage people. I've always found looking at other people fascinating  (not in a creepy way *nervous laugh*), and the same applies to when  I'm looking at pictures, having that human presence in there just gives it that instant relatable feeling and sense of communication.

So, I made a list of the tips I've used in my own photography that will hopefully give you more inspiration when it comes to taking self portraits. It's really not that serious when it all comes down to it, see this is an invitation to have some fun and be playful with it!

Winterlandscape and girl in a red dress

1. Stand really far away from the camera

Place yourself in a bigger context and no one will see the details of your face, awkward-face-expression-problem solved, haha :) No but really, showing your whole body in the picture from a distance gives you the possibility to play with the whole range of body language instead of just focusing on the facial expressions. We are all masters at reading body language, and there is so much you can communicate just by the way you stand, how hold your arms, how you carry your head etc.

(Ps. This pic was taken with an iPhone, so you don't even need fancy photo gear to take self portarits ;))

Fairylights and polaroids on a white wall

2. Put your back into it

Face away from the camera and let your back do the talking. I've always thought there's a a sort of intimacy and vulnerability in seeing someone from behind, it's a part of our body we can never see for ourselves unless through a mirror or a photo. This angle also allows you to invite people to share your point of view and what it is your looking at, which is a way to make your storytelling more personal and bring the viewer in closer to your world.

Let me just end this by a quote from a song by Ice Cube  "You can do it, put your back into it" (the next line goes "I can do it put your ass into it", but I'm not going to make that one of my self portrait tips ;)

Ferriswheel and fairylights on a table

3. Change the angle

Try experimenting with placing the camera in different relations and angles to yourself. What is it that you want the viewer to feel when they're looking at the picture? For example having a birds eyes view gives the whole photo a sense of playfulness and unexpectedness that you don't come across in normal day to day life. Ask what specifically photography can do that other mediums can't.

Stars in my hands

4. Focus on your favorite features

I've always really liked my hands, so I take a lot of pictures with them in my photos. I feel I can tell a story about vulnerability, intimacy and get across the feeling of touch by holding something in my hands. Focus on a favorite part of yourself and make that the angle of your self portrait.

Place the camera on the ground and take a photo of your feet walking out on an adventure, or capture a slow morning in bed by just focusing on the messy texture of your hair. You don't have to show everything to tell an interesting story.

Scandinavian kitchen and rustic table

5. Do something

Use props to show yourself doing something or in relation to something. Just because it's a portrait doesn't mean you have to pose statically. Showing some kind of a physical activity in the pic can actually make the overall composition more interesting and draw upon the imagination of the viewer. My go-to thing is to hold stuff in my hands, it's simple but it works.

Blue dress and flowers in front of wooden door

6. Crop the head away Marie Antoinette style

Sometimes the photo will actually speak stronger if you cut away the face from the composition and make it more about the things and composition. We're always drawn to look at the eyes and face of a person, so by cropping away the head we can guide the focus of our eye elsewhere.

Pile of knits

7. Be in the photo as little as possible

Try and see how little you can be in the photo and still call it a self portrait. Challenge the definition of what a self portrait is and how you can express you personality by using composition, things, textures and colors instead.

Three dresses and a girl

8. Make it a cover up story

Sometimes it's just impossible to get a single shot where you're happy about the way your face looks, but no need to give up on the photo idea, you just need to take out that face by covering it up. You can use your hands, flowers, a book, a glass of milk, or if you want to do it the Hollywood style stick a pair of sunglasses on your face and problem solved (just kidding, never do this, you will end up looking really douchey haha).

 

White dresses hanging in a tree

9. Play the supporting role

Put the main focus on something else in the frame and become the supporting role. Make yourself part of a pattern or blend in with your environment, that way you become just a piece of the composition instead of being the thing that draws the attention of the eye. I have this thing with white dresses so I made this photo inspired by them.

Also, can you see how I've used the same composition in this and the previous photo? Re-using a concept is a perfect way to improve your ideas, and they can end up looking really different.

Slow mornings in bed with a teacup and messy hair

10. Look down

The eyes can express so much, unfortunately it's just quite challenging to capture that on camera and make it look pretty (unless you're Bambi). I've got quite an animated face so i'm just never happy with the pics that i take where I look straight into the camera, my face does all these weird things I'm not aware of.

So, to calm down the circus that's going on in my face I often end up looking down. That tends to bring a more comfortable and peaceful feeling to the overall mood and a sort of gentle aura around the face. It's also a less confronting composition and can be more inviting as a photo.

 

As you can see most my tips for self portraits involve thinking outside of the "pose stiffly in front of the camera" concept and instead focuses on re-thinking the whole idea of what a self portrait is. Most of all, follow the things that come naturally to you and trust the simplicity of it, no need to make it more complicated than it has to be. Just start somewhere and explore further from there.

 

How do you feel about taking self portraits, is it something you enjoy or rather stay away from?

 

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