If you've been following along with my blog and Instagram for a while, by now you probably know I shoot the majority of my photos with the help of a tripod. My most recent tripod shoot was last Saturday when I took photos in this lemon dress from Smak Parlour. I ended up taking the photos outside of a bodega in West Village. The bodega was right by a traffic light, so every time the light turned red, cabs and cars would pile up at the light, which meant people stared at me from inside their vehicle. Some people looked pleasantly amused, some people looked at me like I was straight up crazy. I inevitably get stares whenever I shoot photos alone with my tripod, but I probably looked even crazier for this particular shoot because I had two lemons as a prop and kept tossing them in the air.
People often tell me they can't believe I shoot alone or say they'd be embarrassed to take photos by themselves, so I decided to write a little post for some tips if you're thinking of shooting outfit photos alone.
start in an isolated location:
I've been shooting photos with a tripod for about 2 years now. At this point, I'm immune to the stares and comments I get from people who pass by, so I feel pretty comfortable shooting in bars, restaurants, cafes, etc, but when I first started, I was pretty self conscious. The first shoot I did alone, I shot in front of a wall near my apartment, so there wasn't much foot traffic. I definitely recommend choosing quiet locations to get started, then slowly work your way up to more populated spots.
invest in a sturdy tripod:
When I first decided to start shooting photos by myself, I bought a $12 tripod off of Amazon. I didn't want to spend too much money on it because I wasn't sure how much I would actually use it. Well once I got the hang of it, I loved shooting with a tripod. I would carry it everywhere with me because it was so lightweight and came in a convenient drawstring bag I could easily throw over my shoulder. It was great, until I broke my camera TWICE, because I knocked into the tripod and it tipped over while my camera lens was extended. Now I have a more heavy duty tripod, it's a bit more annoying to carry around the city with me, but I have more peace of mind knowing that my camera is secure while I'm shooting.
allow for extra time:
Unfortunately, shooting alone takes extra time. If someone is with me to take the photo, I can easily get a good photo in less than 5 minutes. But with a tripod, getting one good photo can take at least 10 minutes, sometimes more. You have to set up the tripod, experiment with the shot, like where you're standing, what you want to be in focus, etc, run back and forth to check how it looks, then once you get the shot, take the tripod down. If I just need one outfit shot, I usually try to give myself at least 15 minutes to shoot with the tripod. If I'm shooting photos for a full blog post, it can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.
self timers & remotes:
I use a self timer to actually take the photo. For full body shots, I set the timer to a custom setting that gives me a 10 second warning, then it takes 10 shots. For portrait shots, I put it on the self timer setting that takes one photo after a 2 second warning. For this setting, I start by already standing in front of the camera before I click the button to start shooting. My camera isn't compatible with a clicker, but that's another tool you can use to help take photos by yourself. I also recently discovered the Canon app I use to download the photos off my camera also has a feature where you can see what the camera sees from your phone, to avoid the running back and forth to see what the shot looks like.
don't worry what people think:
Even though I've been shooting with a tripod for 2 years now, I still get embarrassed or shy from time to time. What helps me get over it is reminding myself to not care what others think, but that can be easier said than done. My boss at work always talks about "the spotlight effect", where you think everyone is thinking about you, when in reality they're not. True, someone might walk by and think what you're doing is strange for a second or two, but I guarantee 30 seconds after they walk by, they've completely forgotten about it. Reminding myself that them thinking I'm weird is just a fleeting thought helps me feel less self conscious.
If you'd like to shop my dress, you can find it here:
Dress: c/o Smak Parlour
Bag: Sun Jellies
Location: West Village, Manhattan