I’ve been really lacking inspiration for photography lately. I go out weekly, take photos, but have no desire to do more than a couple of edits. I’ve been trying to make videos from these outings, and I have been taking video, but I’ve just lost the mojo to put everything together. So, I thought I would once again go out of my comfort zone and do a selfie shoot.
My first selfie shoot was very formal, and I was wearing shirts and generally quite afraid of experimenting too much. For this experience, I thought I would just be more myself, have some fun and enjoy the experience. I set the cameras to continuous shoot, which took small bursts of 4 or 5 shots, set the 2 second timer, pressed the shutter and just done my thing. Overall I took around 200 photos with my Fujifilm camera, and a dozen or so from my Olympus.
For the most part, the cameras were set manually to F/1.8, ISO400, 1/125 using the 23mm F/1.4 Viltrox on my Fujifilm and the 17mm F/2.8 on my Olympus.
The main, initial edit of the raw file was carried out in Darktable. Here I simply brought down the exposure of the background by masking the area out. I also concentrated a lot of the exposure of myself, and generally finalised by increasing the exposure of the face using an oval mask.
[Image 1 – Create a mask around the subject. As I was using a black background, and hard dark clothes in some shots, and of course my hair is dark, I found it better to quickly use a drawn mask using the paths tool]
[Image 2 – I then inverted the mask, so that the background was selected, which enabled me to darken the surrounding area.]
[Image 3 – The completed Darktable image. Once all the corrections to exposure, colour, contrast etc is made, the image is finished off with an oval mask over the face to increase the exposure.]
Once I was happy with these initial edits, I saved the images as jpeg files and then moved them into either Gimp or Photoscape X Pro. These programs allowed me to add textures, light leaks or other images and merge them into the Darktable edit. Areas which affected the main subject, that I felt were a distraction, were edited out of the subject using a soft making brush.
Here are the 14 Darktable edits I decided to make from the selfie shoot. A selection of serious, not-so-serious and funny images. Further down you will see the final images. All the image EXIF data is available by clicking on the image. And of course, images look better on a bigger screen!
As you can see, even without effects they are quite nice, however, I believe they really come into their own once you add effects and backdrops. For this I used either Photoscape X Pro or Gimp with a selection of blend modes, and as mentioned above, by removing sections of the overlaid areas that I did not want.
Depending on the software you are using, there are multiple ways to add over lays to an image.
[Image 4 – Adding the effect. In this example I’ve used an example from Photoscape X Pro which offers a large selection of overlays and, depending on the section you are in, blend modes. Using Gimp will give you similar results, and much more versatility, but just use whatever works best for you. You’ll of course need an image to use as the background/effect.]
These are the final 14 images that I chose, and the results I came up with. Some of them quite simple, some of them more complex. I think sometimes, less is more, although sometimes more is fun!
Once again, all EXIF is in the images, and they are best viewed full screen on a monitor. All images are once again cropped to a 5:4 ratio, as that just works for me these days.
I think they just come alive with these final tweaks to the images. I decided on the effects I would use, after I had edited the images, and in fact, a couple of them I re-edited as I was not satisfied with the initial look of the finished image. I think we have a learned to go back to images a few hours later, and see if the still stand up to your initial edit.
There will be a video follow-up to this feature, where I will use my “Darktable Simplified” philosophy to show you how to use masks and masking very simply. I know a lot of people get really confused with many of the videos out there, so this will be a useful one for you all.
If you have any feedback, please let me know, and don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe if you like what I am doing.
4 thoughts on “An Informal Selfie Shoot”
Hey Mark, we all have lack of inspiration sometimes, I think it has a lot to do with the end of winter, and we all desperately need sunshine to recharge our batteries. But you did take a nice series of selfies.
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Thanks Marc, they sure were fun to do again!
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You are Doing GOOD Mark Adams…Keep Up the Good Work. You not lost your Mojo, it’s just hiding.
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Thank you Dennis 🙏 appreciated.