How to achieve a clear self-portrait


blackpeace

New Member
Mar 8, 2011
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#1
I just got my first DSLR, a Pentax KR along with a tripod and remote a few days ago. I'm a fashion blogger, so one thing that I usually do is to take pictures of what I wear and since I do not have the luxury of getting someone to help me with that, I got the tripod and remote to assist in that area.

However, when I tried the remote function out, I found the picture to be rather blurry. At first I thought there was something wrong with the dslr/settings, but after searching through the forum, I realized that taking your own self-portrait isn't as easy as it is on a pns camera.

The thread I saw that gave detailed tips on a taking a self-portrait was in 2008 (I have to admit I have not yet tried out their tips on manual focusing on the camera tripod first so I don't know how effective it is but I intend to test that method out), but I was wondering if there has been any recent updates on how to take a clear self-portrait without so many troublesome steps.

Also, I find that, for the remote, I have to hold it up and point it directly at the dslr. Just holding it by the side and pressing it wouldn't activate it. Is that normal? I've seen my friend use a remote on his dslr before and he did not have to point it so obviously to the dslr.
 

flipfreak

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Nov 26, 2007
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#2
what u can do is setup the camera then focus on a spot where u will be standing. u need to consider the dof vs the shutter speed. it might not be bright enough to use a dof that will give a sharp image. and u cant be standing still got 1 sec.

i think using timer might be better for u than a remote.
 

blackpeace

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Mar 8, 2011
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#3
If the background is plain, eg plain white, there wouldn't be anything to focus on, would there? Since you can't tell anyway if you have focused on anything or not.

Sorry, DOF = ??
 

ZerocoolAstra

Senior Member
Mar 13, 2008
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#5
If you are photographing in an environment with consistent lighting (eg indoor lights), may I suggest you to use 'manual-everything'
It may seem troublesome at first, but at least if you take numerous shots, the exposure will remain constant from shot to shot.

1) Pre-focus (using manual focus) on something located where you will be standing/sitting.
2) Set your aperture and shutter speed till you get enough exposure (shot is bright enough). At the same time, take note that the shutter speed is not too long. Probably up to 1/4sec is ok. Anything longer and you will likely move.
3) If your camera allows "timer + remote" function, that is best. This means you press the remote, and the camera starts the self-timer, which gives you time to lower your hand and strike a natural pose before the shot is taken.

4) check and review and make some adjustments if necessary (eg. increase the f-number for greater DOF)

GOOD LUCK! :thumbsup:
 

ZerocoolAstra

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Mar 13, 2008
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#6
If the background is plain, eg plain white, there wouldn't be anything to focus on, would there? Since you can't tell anyway if you have focused on anything or not.

Sorry, DOF = ??
DOF = depth of field
[http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/depth-of-field.htm]

You need something other than a plain surface to determine focus. Maybe place a chair where you will stand and use that as reference object. If you don't want the chair in your shot, then remove it once you're ready to start posing.
 

flipfreak

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Nov 26, 2007
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#8
If the background is plain, eg plain white, there wouldn't be anything to focus on, would there? Since you can't tell anyway if you have focused on anything or not.

Sorry, DOF = ??
put something where u would be standing la! even for work, normally i get my assistant to stand there while i setup the lighting. then once the model is ready, can snap away.
 

liveevil

New Member
Jan 10, 2006
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#9
- sit/stand at the spot which you will be standing at.
- focus on your tripod head from where you are sitting/standing at
- switch the AF switch to MF to lock focus
- mount camera on tripod and start shooting.
 

wmayeo

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Feb 11, 2008
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#11
use a shutter remote RF trigger for auto focus. Or manually focus to the distance you stand.

mark a spot on the floor to indicate what you stand. did Wallace mentioned that too?

increase the dof, shoot at f/8 or smaller apertures.

keep shutter at 1/80s if possible to ensure you get a sharp photo. (or adjust accordingly to your camera exposure tells you, depending how much light is in the place)

keep ISO setting at your camera base ISO100.

do stand still when you strike your pose. you stood still already right?
 

blackpeace

New Member
Mar 8, 2011
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#12
Thanks for the suggestions. Looks like there really isn't an 'easier' way to this. I'll try the methods you guys suggested and see which one is better.

wmayeo, yep I'm certain I stood as still as I possibly could. :)
 

ZerocoolAstra

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Mar 13, 2008
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#13
Thanks for the suggestions. Looks like there really isn't an 'easier' way to this. I'll try the methods you guys suggested and see which one is better.

wmayeo, yep I'm certain I stood as still as I possibly could. :)
Yes it does seem more troublesome, but I dare say the outcome will be more pleasing than what you could achieve previously with your PnS :)
 

blackpeace

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Mar 8, 2011
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#14
Yes it does seem more troublesome, but I dare say the outcome will be more pleasing than what you could achieve previously with your PnS :)
If the picture didn't turn out blurry, it would definitely be better than my pns! :D I suppose I'll need to keep practising until I get the hang of the manual focusing.
 

wmayeo

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Feb 11, 2008
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#15
it's not easy to prepare the setup then go in front of the camera to take a shot of yourself.
I know the steps doesn't mean I'm good at it yet. it needs practice. :)
 

ZerocoolAstra

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Mar 13, 2008
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#16
If the picture didn't turn out blurry, it would definitely be better than my pns! :D I suppose I'll need to keep practising until I get the hang of the manual focusing.
Usually the kit lenses (those that come bundled with entry-level DSLRs) are not quite ideal for manual focusing.
Reason being that they were probably intended to be used primarily with AF. Slight movement of the focus ring can throw the focus out. The older lenses are better for MF. More precision :)
 

blackpeace

New Member
Mar 8, 2011
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#17
Usually the kit lenses (those that come bundled with entry-level DSLRs) are not quite ideal for manual focusing.
Reason being that they were probably intended to be used primarily with AF. Slight movement of the focus ring can throw the focus out. The older lenses are better for MF. More precision :)
Oh..I was hoping to be able to master the kit lens first. What lens would you suggest that would suit my purposes? Just to keep in mind should I find myself really do needing a better lens.
 

SkyStrike

Moderator
Staff member
Nov 29, 2010
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#18
Oh..I was hoping to be able to master the kit lens first. What lens would you suggest that would suit my purposes? Just to keep in mind should I find myself really do needing a better lens.
Seems like 18-55 would fits your requirement if you are talking abt kit lens......
 

ZerocoolAstra

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Mar 13, 2008
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#19
Oh..I was hoping to be able to master the kit lens first. What lens would you suggest that would suit my purposes? Just to keep in mind should I find myself really do needing a better lens.
Not saying that the kit lens is bad. Far from it actually :)

Just in case you find yourself struggling with MF and start cursing this lens, just wanna let you know that it was designed primarly for AF, thus the MF implementation is not quite so wonderful.
If you have the chance to use some of the old Pentax MF lenses, you'll feel the difference.
But anyway, stick with the kit lens and you'll still be amazed.

edit: Sorry I can't really be recommending Pentax lenses, as I haven't had the chance to use them before.
 

Last edited:

deadsea

New Member
Oct 5, 2010
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#20
Couldn't you just cheat a little? Set-up the tripod and everything. Put something where you're going to stand for the AF to lock then just throw the switch to MF.

Nothing should move after that and you can just use your remote to fire away. Just remember or mark the place to stand.
 

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