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Self Portraits = Major Key to Success

Welcome back, everyone!

In my previous–and first–entry I mentioned that I was going to be blogging every week. That was two weeks ago…off to a great start. Fifteen+ photo shoots later and I am back!

Let’s let bygones be bygones.

On to more important things: the topic of the day, as dictated by the title (inspired by my friend Taylor and internet acquaintance DJ Kahled) is self portraiture…

…particularly how it has helped improve my process.

Imagine a stranger coming into your home with the sole purpose of capturing you in your element, no matter how disheveled, discombobulated or distressed you happen to be feeling in that moment.

…can you imagine?

Obviously this got me thinking about how I act in front of a camera, outside the odd candid photo you might find in the ‘photos of CameronTroy’ section on my Instagram.

Am I cool, calm and collected, or am I a deer in a radio controlled or camera-mounted headlight?

What better way to find out than setting up in my makeshift living room studio and snapping a few shots?

 As you can see in the image above, I am a good ol’ boy with midwestern values and a taste for local attire.

As you can see in the image above, I am a good ol’ boy with midwestern values and a taste for local attire.

As a photographer, my job is to capture moments that convey a message, an emotion, a memory.

Sometimes it’s as simple as a senior portrait, the idea being photograph this person being just who they are known to be. 

 Clearly I’m a rebel with astigmatism...

Clearly I’m a rebel with astigmatism...

Other times it’s ad work, and I have to take a model and turn them into someone else entirely. 

Finding a “groove” as a subject/model can be just as (if not more so) difficult as finding your light or composition as a photographer. I struggled through this little self-inflicted exercise for about an hour, moving from pose to post, trying to control my face (and failing miserably most times). 

But at the end of it, I came out with some images that I can say I am proud of.

Not because of my movie star-like good looks *eye-roll* but because I made myself uncomfortable and that will help me relate. And when you can relate, you can contextualize. 

After my bout with discomfort I started laughing at myself, and finding more ways to do so with every pose. 

After awhile the ability to place yourself in someone else’s shoes can become stale, and you need to refresh.

I’m no long-term industry god like some of the people I look up to, but I care about what I do, and I believe I do it well. Though my hope is to improve every single day.

Bottom line: the only way to improve is to practice (unless you’ve somehow developed the technology from Space Jam). There are two things that should always be with you: your camera and yourself. 

So I encourage you to point that thing at yourself (your camera that is…). 

I appreciate you hanging around and looking at my face in between reading my words.

Until next week,

Cheer, all!

Cameron (Troy) Story