Travel Self Portraits: Photograph Your Own Beautiful Memories | Camille Mortier | Skillshare

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Travel Self Portraits: Photograph Your Own Beautiful Memories

teacher avatar Camille Mortier, Photographer & videographer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (19m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Scouting a Location & Chasing the Best Lighting

    • 4. Storytelling: Using Props to Tell a Story

    • 5. Composition & Camera Positions

    • 6. Setting up Your Camera or Phone

    • 7. Nailing the Focus

    • 8. Posing if You’re Not a Model

    • 9. Getting Creative!

    • 10. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Do you want to have beautiful photos of yourself when traveling? 

Of course you do! ;-)

This course is designed to teach you how to take your own travel portraits. 

If you’re traveling alone, or your travel partner lacks the visual eye, asking someone else to take your picture can result in some really unflattering photos. Or maybe you’ve once returned home without any pictures of yourself? 

Sound familiar? Let’s fix that! 

Taking your own portrait will give you maximum control, resulting in better photos. You’ll be able to capture beautiful memories. You’ll explore how you look good in a photo. And in the meantime you’ll take your photography skill to a higher level. 

What makes me qualified to teach you?

I’m a self-employed photographer that loves traveling alone. A few years ago, I started taking self portraits to explore my creativity. When I traveled to Indonesia on my own, I used this skill to capture beautiful travel portraits of myself. And I’ve been doing that ever since because I just love it that much. 

Some things you will learn in this class

  • How to pose if you're not a model 
  • Setting up a camera to take self portraits
  • Finding the best lighting
  • Scouting a good location

The gear you (don’t) need

We’re going beyond the selfie by using the self timer on our camera. This means you can use any camera that has a self timer. Your smartphone counts as well! 

My preferred way of shooting self portraits is by using my phone as a remote control for my mirrorless camera and by putting the camera on a tripod

However, don’t get discouraged if you don’t have those things. I’ll also show you how to take photos without a tripod or remote control. 

What you won’t learn in this class

You don’t have to be a professional photographer to follow along with this class but if you want to learn the specifics of how to use a DSLR camera or how to edit, I can recommend browsing on Skillshare. There’s a lot of great classes on the topic. 

Let's go! :)


Meet Your Teacher

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Camille Mortier

Photographer & videographer


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1. Introduction: We all like to have create photos of ourselves when we're traveling. But we've also all been there. You ask a travel buddy or a stranger to take a photo of you and what you end up getting is a bad photo where you look awful and your arm or head might not even be fully in the picture. Or you're always the person behind the camera and you end up having no photos of yourself. I want to help you solve that problem. Hi, I'm Camille Artesia. I'm a self-employed photographer and in my work, I focus mainly on concerts, editorial work, portraits, and of course, self-portraits. A few years ago, I traveled to Indonesia on my own, instead of relying on strangers to take my photo. I took them all myself. And I've been doing it ever since because I love doing it and I loved the results I get. In this class, you'll learn how to take your own travel portraits. I'll show you how to pose if you're not a model, even if you're shy like IM, I'll teach you how to set up your camera using your timer. You'll know how to scout target location and find the best lighting and much more. You'll then use these skills to take three photos of yourself in a beautiful location near you. I'll provide you with a checklist to help you achieve this. This class is aimed at students of all levels. If you don't have a DSLR camera, you can just use your phone or even an instant camera, as long as it has a self timer, a tripod will make things easier for you, but it's not a necessity. I won't teach you how to use a camera or how to edit your photos. So if you want to know more after this class, I can recommend looking up some classes on Skillshare. There's a lot of great ones. By taking self portraits, you can become more confident because you'll know how you look good in a photo. You can explore your creativity and you will finally have some good photos of yourself when you're traveling. We're focusing on travel portraits in this class, but you can use this skill way beyond that, let's get started. 2. Class Project: Your class project is to take three self portraits in the same location. Your goal is to share your favorite one in the project gallery to open it up to feedback from the community. As a bonus, you can share your photos to Instagram. To do this project, you will pick a location near you by using the tips from our next lesson, you can find spots everywhere so you don't have to travel to do this. If you're scared to go out in public, find a nice spot at home or in your garden where you feel at ease. Next, you will set up your camera the way we learn in class, and you will take a few test shots and your first self portraits, this is your moment to try out some different poses and to get a bit more comfortable on camera, It's important to take multiple photos because with each photo you take, you will improve bit by bit to help you implement everything we've learned. I have provided you with a checklist. You will find it under resources. Let your creativity flow if you want to take yourself portraits to the next level, take it one step at a time, and don't worry, if you don't instantly see the results you want to get. Just keep practicing. Good luck. And I'll see you in our first lesson about lighting and locations. 3. Scouting a Location & Chasing the Best Lighting : In this lesson, we'll talk about lighting and locations. These two will make or break your photo, and they will be your first step in completing the class project. Your location helps you tell the story of your travels. So go for a place that defines which you like to do. I personally love shooting in nature. I'm a real sucker for beaches because they are always beautiful wherever you go. Lighting is crucial to photography and will help you determine your location and the timing of your shoot. My favorite time as golden hour, right before sunset or after sunrise. This sliding will give a nice orange glow to your photo and a dreamy travel feeling. It's easy to work with because it's nice and even and there are no harsh shadows or highlights. What you do have at midday when you do shoot during the day, class could become your new best friend. They diffuse light and make it less harsh. If you really understand lighting and shadows, you can use harsh shadows to make your photos more interesting. Don't feel like you have to avoid them altogether. Right after sunset, you get blue hour. The blue and pink tense can be nice to experiment with, but it's also difficult to get nice skin tones in this lining. Again, as a beginner, I would go for the easier golden hour. But it's up to you of course. Because I of course don't know by heart, when the sun sets and rises, I use an applet tracks is for me down to the minute. It also tells me where the sun will be at that point. Mine is called Sun Surveyor light. But there's plenty to choose from. Everyone loves a good sunset on vacation. So nice parts can get busy at that time. Especially in the beginning, you might feel too self-conscious to shoot in public. That's why I recommend getting up early for Sunrise. You might even have the whole place to yourself. If there are people tried to ignore them and focus on the task at hand, you will get more confidence the more you do this. Avoiding crowds isn't just about that. Less people equals less chance. Someone will walk into your shot, which is great because that's ugly. Don't be afraid to go off the beaten track. You'll have more unique photos and all the other people who just go to the same places they all see on Instagram. Let's recap. Choose a location that defines how you travel. Lighting is crucial. Golden hour is your best bet. Use an app to track the sun. Go at sunrise to avoid the crowds. And don't be afraid to go off the beaten track. See you in our next lesson about using props to tell a story. 4. Storytelling: Using Props to Tell a Story: In this lesson, we'll be talking about using props to tell a story. This might be the most important lesson in this class. Taking great photos is all about storytelling, along with your location, props are a great way to tell a story. Let's take this photo as an example. Without a surfboard, this would just be another bikini shot. But I went to Bali to serve. So I wanted to use this in the photo to tell that story. So what can be used as a prop and travel photography? Well, that goes from gear for your activities to traditional crafts and foods from the places you visit, your mode of transportation, stuff you're using on the road and actually just about anything, anything around you can be used as a prop. Let me show you here. The story is less clear, but that can be caused. Well, I just saw a piece of a Brooklyn flowerpot lying around on the rooftop of our hostile and Portugal. The photo makes you stop and wonder, What am I doing with that against my face. But actually nothing. But it makes your photo look more editorial and the viewer can invent their own story about a photo. Here's a little exercise. Look around you and grab the first thing you noticed. This, for example, play around with it or another prop to help you make things more interesting when doing the class project. So that's it. Anything around you can be a prop and props tell great stories. That's the main takeaway from this lesson. In the next lesson, we'll talk about framing and camera positions. 5. Composition & Camera Positions: Now let's talk about composition and how to position your camera. I often choose to point my camera right at me from about the height of my waste disk creates a much more natural feeling than eye height and it makes your whole body seem in proportion. You can point your camera up if you want to look extra powerful in a specific photo, tilting down can make you look vulnerable. You might have noticed that 99 percent of my photos or vertical, that's because I like to post them on Instagram. And the best size for Instagram is four by five, is better than a square photo, in my opinion, stands out more than a horizontal photo. It's a bit less so than a normal 40, so you have to crop it in. Think about that when shooting because I've totally been there where I had to crop off a part. I didn't want to be gone. You might prefer horizontal photos if you have a different purpose. So just keep in mind how you want to use your photos before composing a shot. You might have heard of the rule of thirds before. This massive guideline dictates that you want to position your subjects on one of the intersections of these four lines, also known as a tourist, does because the eye of the viewer will automatically be drawn to that point. A good composition, also less headroom above and on the sides and the wider space that we call looking room. I actually ignored the rule of thirds a lot and I like to place myself dead center in a photo because I feel like this grabs your attention just as much. The rule of thirds gives your photo more balanced though. So don't feel like you should follow my quote unquote, bad example 0 and never cut off your subject at the joints. This just looks awkward, was also important, is how close you want your subject to be to the camera. I'll divide this into three categories. The first one I call the landscape selfie. This is a wide shot with a human element attitudes that makes it more interesting than a normal landscape. Next, we have the full body shot, Let's say the background and you take up an equal amount of attention. The last one is all about you, yet you're in a beautiful setting. This is a close-up shot in the class project. You can try all of these out if you feel like it. Now, it's time for a little recap on to cameras straight at you for a natural feeling. Point up for a power pose, point down for vulnerability, should for recall, and leave room to crop. If you want to post on Instagram, think about the rule of thirds or ignore it. Never cut off your subject at the joints and play around with different proximities to the lens. Head over to the next lesson to learn how to set up your camera. 6. Setting up Your Camera or Phone: Time to set up your camera. Let's first assume you have a DSLR camera and tripod. This is the method I use and the one I recommend. But I'll go over some alternative situations. So just keep watching. If you don't have those, the first thing you'll want to do is open up your tripod and set it up at waist height, like we talked about in the previous video. A lot of cameras nowadays have an app where you can connect your phone to the camera. Your phone now acts as a remote control. The way the connection works depends on the camera you have. So you have to look this up online. By the way, if you don't have this function, you might be able to buy a physical remote control. If you put yourself in position, you can try out different poses and look at the phone to see what you like. Once you've decided on a pose, you can start taking photos. I usually use a timer of about two or three seconds. That way I still have time to put my phone in my pocket or underground on the app. You can see the result. So you won't have to run back to the camera after every shot, a bunch to make sure you have a good one. Keep making slight changes until you see something you love. Now let's assume you only have a phone or a camera without a remote control function. In this case, you will have to try a bit longer, but you can definitely make it work. Setting up will be roughly the same. Did you know you can buy mini tripods for phones. You might have to find something to put it on, but that said, Choose a timer of about ten seconds so you have enough time to go standing position, wait for the shot to be taken, and run back to see what it looks like. When looking at the result, think of what you should do differently and try to alter this in the next one, this will be a good workout because it might take you a few tries to nail the shot. Okay. So what if you don't have a tripod? But when I went to Indonesia, I actually left my tripod at home. So believe me when I say it is possible anything can be a tripod as long as you can securely place your camera on it. I even have my camera up in a tree ones for my first ever travel self portraits in Spain. You won't have the same control over where to put your camera. So you'll just have to get a bit more creative. Now pause the video and try to do this at home. If you're having trouble setting focus, we will talk about that in the next video. 7. Nailing the Focus: Focusing can be hard for self-portraits. So if you don't want to rely on the autofocus, tried to do the following. Place an object in front of your camera exactly where you will be focusing on that object and then change to manual mode, your focus, you will now be locked in place. You can also do this on your phone. Take a few test shots to make sure you're in focus and you like the shot. I'll see you in our next lesson where we'll talk about posing. 8. Posing if You’re Not a Model: Let's talk about the juicy part, posing. This will be very personal because everyone looks different. So you'll just have to start exploring how you look good in a photo. First, you need to determine your good side. If you have one, look at yourself in the mirror from the front, a 45 degree angle and sideways from both sides. Which do you prefer? I prefer my left side at a 45 degree angle and looking straight at the camera. But I do try to mix it up when looking straight at the camera, try lifting up your chin a little bit. This will make you look more confidence and you will avoid a double chain. I also really like looking down sideways, which results in a more innocent look. And it's a good expression to start with because it looks cute and you don't have to look straight at the camera, tilt your head around in slight movements and play around with the wide array of possibilities. Moving around. You will also avoid looking tense with my mouth. I often go for a little smile part in your lives a little bit will always look good as well. A lot of you are probably scared of looking occurred. Well, the first thing you'll want to do is erase that thought from your heads because what you think shows on your face. So what I tried to do as I channel the emotion that I'm trying to portray. For instance, if I want to look confident, I will think about being the boss. If I want to look happy, I'll think about something happy or I'll try to feel it. I know this sounds very strange, but it actually works. So just give it a try for your body. You again have to try what works for you. The first step I'll give you is to save some photos with poses that you like on Instagram or Pinterest. That way you have something to fall back on if you don't know what to do for the class assignment, I urge you to save tree poses and to try to mimic these as close as you can, the longer you take self portraits, the memorial, and venture own poses and the less humanities. But it's still a cool way to get inspired. The body part closest to the camera will always look the biggest. You can use this to your advantage. For instance, if you want to have long legs, tried to position them in front of the camera and don't forget to point your toes. Moving your hips away from the camera will make your waist him smaller. A lot of people don't know what to do with their hands, but they are your biggest tool. Use them to touch your hair, your face, or your sleeve. Put them in your pockets, hold the prop, wrap them around your body. And what I always love to do is moving them slightly away from my body. I think this looks absolutely flawless. To make my arms look natural. I move them around slightly while the photo is being taken. Never feel like you have to stand completely still. That's how you look. Awkward again, I have one last tip for you. Don't feel like you always have to look at the camera when your back is pointing towards the camera and you're looking at a view that could look amazing, covering your face, which are hair also works. So remember this, look in the mirror to find your best angles. Move around your face and body to look natural. Channel the emotion you want to see in the photo by thinking and feeling it. Save a few poses you like and try to mimic them for the class projects, move body parts towards the lens to make them seem bigger. Move them away to make them seem smaller. Point your toes and use your hands to your advantage. This was a long video, but we're almost at the end of the class. So just keep going. 9. Getting Creative!: Once you've mastered the basics, you can get a bit more creative to try to take it to the next level. Here are a few options. Play around with light. Remember what I said about using harsh light to your advantage? Maybe even play around with a flashy few. They're using instant camera or shoot on film to get edgy results. Instead of only trying to look good, triumphs on weird poses to make things more interesting. Do I even need to say it again? Props, props, props, the weirder, the better. Have fun with it. Nothing is off limits. The craziest idea might result in the coolest selfie. Join me in our last video for a little recap. 10. Final Thoughts: You did it. Congrats on watching the whole class. We've now covered everything from finding a good location to using props, setting up a camera, and more. Now you can start practicing during the class project. You don't have to check off everything or follow every tip I gave you. The checklist is there to help you think about everything before you take photo. Don't forget to share your favorite photo in the project gallery. I'm excited to see your first self-portraits. If there's one thing I hope you take away from this class is that you can have nice photos of yourself when you're traveling and you can do it all by yourself. Please leave a review and follow me if you like the class, maybe we'll see each other again in the next lesson.