When I started in self-portrait photography, I often struggled with indoor photography. I found walls and ceilings dull to be quite honest. And this made me hate bad weather and yearn for summer all the time.
The seasons no longer restrict my self-portraiture photography. It doesn’t matter if it’s pouring, hailing, or snowing outside. I can fulfill my self-portrait ideas and artistic needs. I do this by going to places that don’t rely on the weather.
I’d like to share 7 of these places with you. They’ll help take your self-portrait photography skills to the next level.
7. Thrift Stores (For the Rare Finds)
Second-hand stores have great deals, we know that. But they’re also great locations for indoor photoshoots!
The lighting may not always be perfect. But the clothing, accessories and even furniture can inspire your photoshoot. On top of that, you could find a gorgeous and irresistible item to take home with you!
If possible, ask for permission to use some of the store’s items as props for your photos. In exchange for using the location, you could advertise or mention it online.
It’s important to note that many shops are very strict when it comes to cameras. You might get a few rejections. Don’t take them personally and don’t get discouraged.
Once you find a store that embraces your skills, you’ll discover a brand new world of opportunities. You’ll find great deals, and maybe a few valuable connections.
6. Greenhouses (For the Nature Lovers)
Greenhouses merge the vibrancy of the outside world with the warmth of home. This creates a cozy atmosphere that can fit in any portfolio.
Other than being welcoming, they’re usually well-lit. Taking self-portraits in an open space like this will give you lots of great light to work with.
It will also provide you with a comfortable, peaceful space to practice your art in. Its a perfect portrait location for better photos. You’ll be able to roam around, surrounded by flowers, while the weather rages on outside.
Plants in a greenhouse can be used as subjects, foregrounds, or backgrounds. Their exquisite colors alone are bound to give you self-portrait ideas you’ve never thought of before.
But with the many details and colors, there comes a new challenge: getting the right focus.
If you use auto-focus for your self-portraits, make sure that your camera won’t focus on any plants in the foreground.
If you use manual focus, place an item where you’d like to stand and focus on that first. This will guarantee sharp results.
Every greenhouse has its own rules about touching and photographing plants. Make sure you’re familiar with the restrictions so that you don’t have to deal with unnecessary stress later on.
5. Transportation (For the Travellers)
Buses, cars, trains, and airplanes can all be used to take fantastic self-portraits. The ever-changing scenery and light will allow you to experiment as much as you want.
But as fun as this can be, taking photos among strangers can also be intimidating. This is a great place for shallow depth of field and close-ups from your DSLR.
If you want to take photos in a vehicle but don’t want to lose your equipment, take photos in your (or a friend’s) car.
If you want to take self-portraits on public transportation, keep this in mind:
- When you take self-portraits, make sure the location isn’t too crowded. Go out when there aren’t too many people around so that you don’t have to worry about awkwardness, lack of space, or theft.
- Make sure you keep your camera close at all times (in a safe camera bag when you move from place to place), even if there aren’t many people around.
- I wouldn’t recommend using a tripod. Instead, use an empty seat, your knees, or just your hands when using a timer.
- Don’t take self-portraits when you’re rushing somewhere else. You’ll increase your chances of leaving valuable equipment behind.
4. A Friend’s House (For the Really Bad Weather Days)
A friend’s place is familiar enough to keep you comfortable. But it’s also unknown enough to give you outstanding ideas.
In this new environment, you can spend quality time with your friend, and take cozy self-portraits. This is an opportunity to not only get better at indoor photography but to celebrate your friendship!
Another benefit of taking photos in a friend’s house is the lack of boredom you’ll experience. Taking photos at home can often result in creative blocks, distractions, and tiredness.
Taking photos at a friend’s place will replace all of these obstacles with a flow of ideas, pleasant distractions, and energy.
If your friend is open to being photographed, you could have an indoor photoshoot together. This will give you both self-portrait and portrait experience, which will make future photoshoots with other people easier to manage.
It will also give you and your friend wonderful memories to keep for the rest of your lives.
If you’re a beginner in self-portrait photography, taking photos with a friend will help you practice. Your friend doesn’t even have to be a part of the photo.
They could help you find the best lighting, pose, and expression. Instead of feeling shy or giving up, you’ll feel motivated to improve.
Self-portrait photography is all about independence. But the support of friends and/or family can help you improve.
3. Libraries and Bookstores (For Fellow Bookworms)
If you love reading, you must have at least one self-portrait in a place overflowing with stories. In addition to being eye-opening, books are photogenic.
They make consistent yet eye-catching backgrounds, graceful foregrounds, and thoughtful subjects.
It’s not surprising, then, that there are so many beautiful book-related photos out there
Here are a few ideas for indoor library photoshoots:
- Shoot through bookshelves
- Take a photo of yourself looking through interesting books
- Make a diptych (a collage of two photographs). Use a detailed photo (a page, for instance) and a wider shot (a photo of you holding a stack of books)
As is the case with thrift stores, not every library or bookstore will give you permission to take photos.
If there are no nearby locations open to photographers, try a second-hand book store. Or you can try a thrift store with a book section.
2. Cafés (To Stay Warm and Inspired)
Many of them offer privacy and a safe, relaxing atmosphere. This is why so many portrait photographers are drawn to them.
Most cafés will allow you to access the Internet, too. You can look for inspiration and self-portrait photography tips as you shoot.
If you want to take it a step further, create a mood board a few days before you go out. Fill it with photos you love. You can also add empowering quotes, and photography-related memories that energize you.
Save the mood board as a PDF file, e-mail, Pinterest board, etc.
Once you arrive at your destination, all you’ll have to do is look at your phone to feel inspired.
If you feel uncomfortable in coffee shops bustling with people, ask a friend to tag along. Having someone next to you will make you feel supported. In that comfortable state, you’ll take the most incredible self-portraits possible.
Coffee shops are a great place for creative self-portrait images. You can even with an iPhone or smartphone on a self-timer. That way, it’s ready for social media sharing.
1. Studio (If You Love Experiments, You’ll Love This)
Even if you’re not familiar with studio photography, try this out. Studios are a fantastic opportunity to refresh your perspective. They can help you reach new creative heights.
Renting a studio for a few hours (or days) will give you access to space where your ideas can grow. You’ll have all the privacy you need to focus, photograph, and learn.
With a natural light source, you won’t need to use professional lighting equipment! You can also use simple lighting tools like a torch.
If you can’t afford to rent a studio or if there aren’t any in your area, you can make one at home. There are a lot of affordable backdrops available online (some of them are as cheap as $5!) that could turn a boring corner into an exciting little studio.
I often use backdrops that aren’t even professional. Use curtains, large sheets of paper, or simple white walls. These all have the potential to spark your imagination.
It’s a wonderful, safe place for a selfie, with smartphone or DSLR. All you need is you in front of the camera and a self-timer.
Indoor photography has meant plenty of opportunities to create new and exciting photos.
I discovered the beauty of indoor lighting. This way I found endless potential in confined spaces and learnt how to enhance details.
This was very different from what I was used to. It shaped me into more than just an experienced self-portrait artist.
It turned me into a better, more detail-oriented photographer in general.
Give at least one of these locations a chance. You’ll find a whole new world of possibilities too.
Indoor self-portrait photography will introduce you to new challenges and photography locations. It will shape you into a creative photographer.
And you’ll expose yourself to new clothes, books, friendships, snacks, and more. What’s not to love?
Check out this cool video on shooting indoors in low light conditions.