* The Empowering Spirit of Photographic Self-portrait

One of the most powerful tools of self-appreciation is the photographic self-portrait. As a process, the self-portait offers an opportunity to explore the many aspects of your unique being, including the familiar and the unknown, to be expressed for your photo. As an image-capturing machine, the shutter records your spirit at the moment you reveal and demonstrate that part of yourself.  As a permanent record, the photo depicts the beauty and magnificence that is you, which may, indeed, cause you to feel awe and self-appreciation for years to come.


Self-Portrait as Trance Dancer

Who are you now?  Who would you like to be?  Who is your alter-ego?  Preparing for the photo shoot is an opportunity for self-exploration that can be expansive and revealing.Take time to think and plan on what apsect of yourself you would like to express. Are you a wild woman? A peaceful priestess?  Both? Get in the spirit, find props and decide on a location that will help support and accentuate the womanly aspect you wish to reveal.

 Self-portrait at Zuma Beach

The shoot is a meditative experience that’s best performed alone. No need to follow someone else's direction on how to dress or pose. Take time to feel what or who is inside that wants to reveal itself. Aspects of inner-self will rise to the surface and express through your gestures and facial expressions. You may experience a sense of freedom and release. You may feel more in touch with yourself than before, and even awaken a new part of yourself that has been hidden away.  When the shutter clicks, the spirit that you exude at that millisecond will be captured for all time.  That spirit is the most important part of your portrait.  That spirit is you.


Self-portrait at Joshua Tree

When you look at the photograph, gaze at it in awe for your spirit is powerful and fantastic! The self-appreciation and gratitude that arises from visually observing the power and beauty of your various expressions and aspects is tremendously healing and empowering. And you can continue to evoke the memories of that moment each time you look at it forevermore.



It’s not difficult to shoot a self-portrait, but you do need equipment and time.  The steps to shooting an expressive self-portrait follow:

  • Gather your photo equipment, including a camera with a self-timer and a tripod. Tripods are inexpensive and can be purchased for as little as $40 at Best Buy.  You can also prop your camera on available materials, too (like boxes, furniture, a shelf, a rock.
  • Think about the aspect(s) of yourself that would like to express. It may be a part of yourself that you present to the world everyday, and would like to capture for the sake of posterity.  Or it may be an alter-ego that’s never seen the light of day. 
  • Gather clothing and props that will help you to personify that aspect. 
  • Decide on a location that will support your expression. Will you shoot in nature? A garden? An alley?  For interior shots, shoot in an area that’s brightly illuminated with natural daylight. Otherwise, you need flash or a lot of lamps and lights.  Shooting outside provides tremendous freedom with backgrounds and available light.
  • Take your materials to your location, set up your tripod and spend a couple of hours posing, expressing, and snapping photos.  With today’s digital cameras it’s easy to check each photo to assure you’re composition in the camera.  If you’re shooting film, judge the width of the shot and identify marks to position yourself so that you actually end up in the picture.
  • Review the photos in awe.