Blog Photography – How to Take Pictures on Your Own

There’s no denying photography plays a big part in blogging.

Images are great for catching attention, quickly communicating what a post is about, and giving your blog a unique feel. And it’s just nice to look at pretty pictures.

Taking pictures of yourself when you have no friends when you’re on your own can be a bit of a hassle. They’re always either out of focus, you’re caught mid-run by the timer or you didn’t have time to hide the remote in the 2 seconds you have to get into position. I can tell you I have collected some hilarious outtakes over the years from these situations.

This is a guide on how to take pictures of yourself with a DSLR. I have added some quick tips for iPhone users at the end. It can help you take OOTDs, FOTDs or like me, workout pictures without a helper (give your mom/boyfriend a break).

Warning: This post contains very weird pictures of me. Not just less-than-perfect, weird. You’ve been warned. Don’t blame me if you get a heart attack and/or laugh so hard you spit coffee over your screen.

Warning 2: Warning 1 might contain exaggerations.

For a long time, I have just been using my Nikon’s self-timer, where it counts down and then take multiple pictures in a row – but there’s a lot of running, and out-of-focus shots, like this

Look at the lamp, taking all the attention. What a diva.

Other times, you end up not even being in the frame because you can’t see what you’re doing.

At the beginning of this year, I decided I wanted to shoot my own workout guides, and I knew I had to step up my game. Hours of reading blog posts and scrolling on google let me to DigiCamControl.

It’s a program for your PC that lets you control your camera remotely via USB. It does have a lot of advanced settings, but even if you’re not an expert (I’m not), it doesn’t take long to set up.

My DSLR is a Nikon D3200, and you can check if yours is compatible with the program here.

Digicam-ception

Simply hook up your camera via USB, turn it on – Voila! You can click the blue arrow to capture a picture, or the red arrow to turn on Live View.

smooooooooooooothay

Live View is where the magic happens – it lets you see the image live through your camera!

digicamcontrol blog photography self portrait shooting time DSLR remote camera controldigicamcontrol blog photography self portrait shooting time DSLR remote camera control

Always clean your room  BEFORE taking pictures…

From the live view screen, you have all the usual camera settings + a lot more from the program. I’ll explain the most important ones for this tutorial.

digicamcontrol blog photography self portrait shooting time DSLR remote camera control digicamcontrol blog photography self portrait shooting time DSLR remote camera control

There’s the usual settings – Auto Focus, Capture and Record Video. Self explanatory.

Then there’s the settings that make it so good

  • Capture delay: Time between each shot

I usually set this to 2-3 seconds, it gives me a moment to see the image before it takes a new one

You can change how long an image appears after capture under File > Settings > Live view > Live view image freeze in sec.

  • Capture count: The number of pictures taken after you press capture

When I do workouts, I’ll set this to +10, but in other cases I just take a couple at a time, review them, then take some more.

  • Autofocus before each capture: If unticked with general auto focus on, it will only auto focus before the first picture

CHECK! I find it so hard to get the focus right when I’m not standing behind the camera, so this is a gift. You don’t need to worry about standing in the exact same spot every time, or focusing manually.

The exact moment I realised how amazing this program is

LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES

Here are some outtakes that show what can go wrong when you’re trying to take pictures alone.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

UNINTENTIONAL SILLY FACES

WTF is your face doing Anne?

FALLING OVER

Losing balance during an exercise and looking like Gollum

CONSTANTLY LOOKING AT YOUR COMPUTER

Am I looking good? How’s the lighting? How’s the focus? Should I pose like this?

Look into the camera, Anne! And remember to turn auto focus on, whoops.

CAUGHT MID-SNEEZE

Nobody looks good sneezing, it’s just not possible

FORGETTING TO TURN ON AUTO FOCUS + LOOKING DRUNK

So many pictures looking drunk. Why am I always mid-blink?!

FORGETTING TO CLEAN UP THE BACKGROUND

Mom is very disappointed.

SOLUTION

Strategically position your body so it covers the mess.

Now you’re ready to take a million crazy pictures!

DigiCamControl is also super helpful when shooting regular blog images, as the image is shown on the screen right after. It saves you from thinking you got what you need by looking at the tiny DSLR monitor, then realising it’s out of focus or the exposure isn’t right when you import them to your computer later.

If you’re up for it, you can set up remote control on your computer from your phone – so you can have your phone tell your computer tell your camera to take a picture! I have yet to try it.

One limitation of using this is that your computer needs to be connected to the camera; I have a tripod, but it’s difficult to set up because the USB cable is so short (placing my computer on top of a stack of furniture does the trick though).

Another con is my brain keeps singing the Digimon theme song while the program is loading, but that might not be a universal problem.

IPHONE PHOTOGRAPHY

Lastly, I have 3 tips for taking pictures on your own with an iPhone – I’ve done it a lot in the past, and I still use the last one from time to time in the gym.

#1 TIMER

I don’t remember what iOS update introduced a timer to the native camera app, but you can turn on a 3- or 10-second timer, then run into position.

#2 HEADPHONES

Grab your headphones, plug them in, open camera, and click the volume button on your headphones! It’s a simple way to take photos at a short distance. I have two non-apple sets of headphones, and this works as well with one of them.

This is basically how some low-tech selfie sticks work.

#3 SCREENSHOTS

I use this a lot for taking yoga pictures, like the handstands here. I record a video doing a couple of handstands, then go through it frame by frame and take screenshots of the good stills. The quality is not the best, but it’s the easiest method in some situations.

That’s it! Go out and take all the selfies, OOTDs, weird and silly pictures of your unique and beautiful face <3

What is your biggest struggles when taking pictures? Let me know in the comments!



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LET'S CHAT!

10 Comments

  • You have a very lovely blog! 🙂 Will come back here more often I think! 🙂
    Also great tips. :)) And loved your pictures! :)) I had never heard of that computer program and it could be very useful for me too! And I have the same camera, so I don’t even need to check does it work with mine. 😀
    My struggle is with outfit photos outside, as my home does not offer blog-worthy background OR lighting. 😀 I don’t know how to take them without anyones help (I have a tripod but not the remote thingy) and I am still a little bit embarrassed to pose around when alone because I know people will be looking weird at me. 😀 And I am a little bit scared someone will take my camera while I pose in a distance. 😀
    I can manage to take OK portait pictures of myself though. 🙂 Proud of that at least. 😉
    Madara
    http://lookforsmile.com

    • Thank you so much (my fellow smiley 😀 )
      Ah, I have yet to find the courage to take pictures outside too, I just get so self-conscious! (and 100% scare someone will steal my camera too, haha)
      That’s awesome! x

  • SO many good tips here thank you!! I really need to invest in a good camera for my blog! I keep thinking I should take stills of my videos and then I keep forgetting! Maybe now that I have read someone else does it I will remember lol

  • You have a lot of good tips, Anne! I need this program in my life, so thank you for introducing it to us. Also, I really enjoyed these photos of you, cheered me up a lot, haha 🙂 x

    -Leta | The Nerdy Me

  • Oh that Digicam program sounds brilliant! I tend to just use the timer and do a quick run to get into position… I had a cheap remote that I bought from ebay but it seems to have died haha!