16. March 2013 · 2 comments · Categories: Photography · Tags: ,

I was a little bored this afternoon as Lisa and Abi had gone out for a girls day out, and James was really engrossed in his XBox game.  So after lazing around all morning I went for a run and then decided to get the camera out.

It was a little miserable outside so I decided to photograph something indoors.  But what to shoot?  In the end I went for a self-portrait.

Now I’ve taken a few self-portraits before, but quite frankly it’s a pain to do.  You have to set up the lights without having the subject in front of you (because the subject is actually fiddling with the lights), then you have to turn the camera onto timer mode and run backwards and forwards and well take LOADS of pictures.  Getting good focus is a nightmare, you have to go to manual focus and then adjust, shoot, adjust, shoot etc., until you nail it.

I thought I’d do something a little different and as I spend my life in front of my computer I thought that might be a fun picture.  So out came the Mac, out came the lights and the setup began.

One of my favorite photographers is a guy called Joe McNally (he really is amazing).  Anyway I’ve been to some of Joe’s classes and one thing I saw him do was take a portrait picture of a guy on his computer.  What he did was place a piece of white paper on the computer screen and fire a light against the white paper that reflected back on the person’s face, this made it look like the computer was lighting the person – and it looked cool.

So that was light one.  I wanted to shoot the portrait kind of in the dark so I needed a back light behind me to provide separation for my hair and t-shirt.  So that was light two.  Things were looking pretty good, but the front of the computer was really dark, so that was light three.  The last problem was the Apple logo on the computer wasn’t bright enough, so I had to take a second picture without lights with a longer exposure to get the logo, and then put that into my picture in post processing!  Fun eh?

So that was the setup, next I had to take the picture.  So you’re probably wondering how many pictures is LOADS to get the focus right.  Well this afternoon it was 79 pictures.  79 attempts to get a picture in focus that I liked.  In reality focus took around 40 pictures, then nearly another 40 to get a picture of me that I was willing to share – hey, photographers don’t like being in front of the camera either!

Once I got the shot I had to do some tidying up in Photoshop and of course add that bright Apple logo to the front.  I didn’t do too much here, brought back some of the shadows in my t-shirt, sharpened the image and added some clarity (another form of sharpening) that makes me look all manly :-)

Here’s the end result, and I’m pretty pleased with it too.  In the end it was a fun afternoon and well worth the time.


  1. Julie Valvano says:

    Impressive Tony! Your skills have exploded over the past year+. It’s great to see you evolve, find unique subjects (even if one of them is you – lol). Your passion really shines. Congrats on your success!

  2. keith says:

    you manly…. are you sure
    great pics will email you soon
    love to all
    Keith & family


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