Since I’ve been asked quite a few times who takes the photos of us I thought I’d write up a brief tutorial on how I take our personal photos because yes, they are in fact, selfies. I’m also asked at least once a week about what gear I’m currently using (which is far less important than how I’m using it as it’s hard to go wrong with most cameras available these days).
First, my gear. I currently use a Canon 5D Mark IV mostly with a 35mm and a 50mm lens (I do also have a 24mm and a 100mm macro) and a Leica m10 with a 35mm. However, I definitely wouldn’t recommend them to most people! The canon is very expensive and you can get similar results if not identical with so many more affordable options (the Leica is even more expensive and is manual focus only). I usually recommend for those who feel like they HAVE to have a DSLR I always recommend getting one of the lower end full frame cameras like the Canon 6D or Nikon d750. I haven’t used any from other brands but no doubt there are other competitive options out there. If you go for the entry level I can pretty much guarantee you’ll want to upgrade in a year anyway. Both Canon and Nikon offer a very affordable 50mm option to get you started with lenses (I’m not a fan of zoom lenses) or if you have more money to spend the Sigma 35mm 1.4 is an excellent choice! Both of these cameras have been heavily used by professionals, especially in the wedding industry, for the past couple of years.
If you choose to go the more portable route look into the Fuji and Sony mirrorless systems or even something compact like the Sony RX100 (or one of its newest versions… this camera is full frame and very highly rated amongst photographers for their own family/travel snaps).
Whatever you choose if you wish to take photos of yourself or your own family easily I recommend ensuring whatever you pick has inbuilt wifi and an app for your phone! You can, of course, buy a clicker or run backwards and forwards but you always risk losing focus, getting the settings wrong or frustrating everyone.
Onto how I take our personal photos!
The super brief summary is that I use my cameras wifi to connect to an app on my phone (cameraconnect for canon cameras with wifi. Other camera brands have their own apps) where I can control all of the settings, pick the focus point and snap away.
The longer version is that I mostly use my Canon camera on a very sturdy tripod for selfies as it has autofocus, I pop it into manual mode (or you could use aperture priority mode I just don’t recommend auto). I then connect to the camera connect app provided by canon to use with its wifi enabled cameras. Choose the framing of the shot (sometimes I just opt to crop afterwards) and then get us or myself kind of in position. From there, on my phone, I can actually see how my settings will affect the final picture so I control the aperture, ISO and shutter speed to get an exposure I’m happy with and with the amount of fall off/bokeh I’d like. If I’m taking a photo with the dogs I also use the 2-second timer which is also accessed from the phone. The added bonus of using your phone/wifi for these is you can also see whether anyone in the frame needs to be moved/adjusted and you can do that without having to run back to the camera to refocus/change settings.
An extra tip… If you’re opting for photos outside a degree of shamelessness is definitely needed. You can mitigate the worry about feeling embarrassed or having your gear stolen by opting for a sunrise session. This is also one of the absolute prettiest times to shoot anyway so set those alarm clocks and beat everyone else out of bed.
Additionally, I shoot my files in RAW, not in JPEG. This gives me more room to adjust things when I move to post-processing/editing, of which I do very little. My post processing normally involves the odd eye booger removal on one of the dogs in photoshop and the application of either one of my personal presets or one from Mastin Labs plus some white balance/exposure adjustment which I do in Lightroom.
If you have any questions please feel free to ask in the comments or shoot me a message on facebook or Instagram.
A few of our more recent selfies….