How do you focus your self portraits?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Rachelsne, May 6, 2008.

  1. Rachelsne

    Rachelsne TPF Noob!

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    I used to have an S3IS it had a flip screen and it was easy to focus on me, now I have a Canon 30d, I was attempting some self portraits earlier, I was using a broom against the chair I was going to sit on and I was focusing on the broom.

    How do you do your self portraits, as this seems a rather fiddly way
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That way is as good as any. Just make sure that you are using an aperture that is small enough to give a sufficient DOF, so that your focus doesn't have to be spot on.

    Another option would be to use a string. Measure a string from the camera/tripod to the point that you want to focus on, (use a sub or object) that you can focus on. Then sit in place and put your face at the end of the string.

    Older lenses have a distance scale, which you could use to set the focus based on the distance.
     
  3. asfixiate

    asfixiate TPF Noob!

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    not just self portrait but with my fiance and I. I use a tripod and zoom in on her. I set the timer and run over and sit with her.

    Everything mike says as well as what you do will work too.
     
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  4. Rachelsne

    Rachelsne TPF Noob!

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    This is my attempt with the broom, took with the 50mm at f1.8, so I should have had a larger number?) I look kinda scary, but its the image that counts not what i look like LOL Ill have to try the string thing, that sounds a little bit easier.

    (excuse the white neck.i was walking in the sun and chest face got colour and neck didnt)

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Stranger

    Stranger TPF Noob!

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    I use a stuffed animal.. I have a bear that when standing is about as big as i am sitting (height wise) so i stand him up in the chair i will be sitting in and focus on him..

    While standing, i sit him down and focus on him, then i stand with him sitting between my legs. I also use him to setup my lighting which i find helps a lot for testing. I do not do full body self portraits so that is not an issue as of yet..

    hope that helps, i waited until right after v-day to grab a bear for a few bucks on clearance.
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Looks like the focus is pretty good.

    The lens is fine...but what aperture do you have it set to? I'd start with F8 (give or take)
     
  7. Rachelsne

    Rachelsne TPF Noob!

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    The bear idea sounds great...Ill have to hint at hubby that i need a romantic giant bear gift!
     
  8. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    helium ballon string and brick
     
  9. jg123

    jg123 TPF Noob!

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    You look awesome, love the freckles...the picture looks good too.
     
  10. danmass

    danmass TPF Noob!

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    I'm no pro yet, and you'll have to excuse my description as it might not be as technical as you're used to. I had this same exact question though and can't remember if somebody here pointed me to the solution or if I found it through a google search. However, I'm grateful I found the method. I spent a quick two or three minutes searching for the same tutorial but to no avail.

    http://photodoto.com/im-ready-for-my-closeup-6-methods-for-perfectly-focused-self-portraits/

    That one is just as good I suppose, and the method I've adopted and have had great success with so far is method #5 - the flashlight (or any type of bright light you can shine towards the camera.) I don't always shoot in a dark room with a flash like the tutorial suggests, but I will dim the lights if necessary so the light I'm shining toward the camera is brighter than my ambient lighting. Then when I'm ready for the photo I'll flip the lights back on. This works best in manual mode and by taking a preliminary photo of just the background so that you can set the proper exposure, but there are probably some minute flaws with this method as the metering won't be exactly how you want it (you are on the other side of the camera after all.)

    I set my camera up on a tripod, initiate a 10 second timer, and change the focus metering to "C-AF" (not exactly sure what the 'C' means and I don't have my manual) so it focuses automatically on the light I shine towards the camera (again I'm not too competent in explaining the technical reasoning for this or why it works but the quoted section below may give you an idea.)

    Then I'll hold the light up near my eyes (or wherever you want the camera to focus), and press the shutter button down half way so it "locks" the focus into place. Then I press the shutter fully to start the timer and get into place.

    The only problem I've had with this is I need to be within arms length to press the shutter button down (unless you have a remote shutter release), which I don't. Here is a poor quality example of me improvising with the glare of my watch from the sunlight coming in through the window. It was taken from my Myspace page, which means it's an extremely low quality image (damn them.) I'm at work, and have another example I can provide with much better quality if desired but hopefully this will provide a little help. My apologies again if my explanation isn't much help, it turned out longer than I actually anticipated coming into this thread. Good luck! :blushing:

    [​IMG]
     
  11. danmass

    danmass TPF Noob!

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  12. chrisburke

    chrisburke TPF Noob!

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    i use auto focus, and my remote
     

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