You look really good in your Selfie, and that lighting is so cool! How did you do that?
Thank you! (For reference: this selfie)
Above is what my setup looked like. I half sat/half squatted on the corner of the desk, with my face beside the iPhone propped up on the music stand. Totally makeshift, and there are probably easier ways, but I don’t own studio equipment sooo
How to create your own DIY multicolored light portrait
- Gather your materials. Camera, tripod, solid backdrop (dark sheets work well), whatever furniture or books you need to get the light in the right place, light sources (Get creative! You can use neon wallpapers on laptops, colored lightbulbs, lamps with colored shades… at one point shooting I even tried putting an iPhone flashlight behind a Windex bottle, which resulted in a bunch of really cool blue watery shadows)
- Play some sick jams. To get in the selfie-taking mood ;)
- Find a dark room. We don’t want the colors to be overpowered by any boring white light.
- Set up your camera and tripod. Lenses in the 50mm-75mm range are good for portraits. If you don’t have a DSLR, you might be able to do it with the camera on your phone, but you will have to make sure your backdrop is wide enough to cover the scene, since phone cameras use wide angle lenses and will include a lot of things in the frame!
- Set up where you’ll stand. Position yourself some distance from the backdrop, 6 feet should be good (we want the camera to blur the backdrop which won’t happen if you stand too close)
- Adjust your camera settings. Since the room is very dark, we want to use a wide aperture, something like f/2.5. We also want our ISO high enough so we don’t get motion blur. I used ISO 800. Also, the camera will try to brighten the dark room by making the shutter speed longer, which we don’t want! Adjust your manual exposure down a few stops, to compensate (I used -1.3). You can also set your white balance in camera (since all the colors will probably confuse the sensor), but if you don’t, it’s not difficult to fix in post.
- Learn to shoot manual? If you don’t know what any of this camera jargon means and you always just shoot on automatic mode, go and watch Mike Browne on YouTube. Seriously! A year ago I didn’t know the first thing about cameras or photography.
- Set your focus. Place something (a friend, a tall lamp, whatever…) where you want to stand. Go to your camera and make sure the center is in focus, the background is blurred, and there isn’t anything in the frame that you don’t want. Optional: Flip from autofocus to manual to prevent the camera from hunting on every shot. If you do this just make sure to stay in the exact position you focused on, otherwise you’ll be out of focus!
- Selfie away! Everything should be set at this point! If you have a remote trigger for your camera, you can use that, otherwise you can set a timer or trade off with a friend taking shots. ༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ
- Protip: use a mirror. If you’re taking selfies alone, place a mirror behind the camera/tripod and turn live view on. This way, you can see yourself in the mirror and make sure your head is in the center of the frame on the camera screen.
- Experiment. Play around with different colors and textures! Add props, try lighting certain colors from behind, whatever you want. Make it sexy, make it funny, make it introspective… you do you ;)
A bit long, but I hope this helps!