How to Choose a Self Portrait Camera
A Self Portrait Camera: Getting Better Pictures of You
Sometimes being able to get a good picture of yourself can be important. Whether you want to snap a shot of you and your honey standing in front of the Eiffel Tower or you need something of yourself for Facebook, a great looking shot is needed. A self portrait camera per se doesn't really exist, but there are some that make the task of taking your own picture or getting yourself in the shot at least, much easier.
On this page you can learn about some of the options and get a few tips for taking great self-portraits too.
Option One: A Front Facing LCD
Samsung offers a line of cameras that are perfect for self portraits. There is of course an LCD on the back that you can use to frame shots and to review them after the fact. But more importantly for those times when you want to take your own photo, there is a small second LCD screen on the front.
This front facing LCD screen makes it a great self portrait camera. It allows the user to frame the shot appropriately. They can see what the camera sees as they are setting the shot up. The TL205 offers a 12 megapixel sensor, 3x optical zoom, a 3.5" touch screen LCD on the back and a 1.5" LCD on the front.
The ST100 and ST600 have a 14 megapixel sensor, 5x optical zoom, a 3.5" LCD touch screen on the back and a 1.8" LCD on the front.
Option Two: A Rotating Camera and Swivel Screen
The Casio Tryx is another option for a good self portrait camera. It's body swivels and can actually rotate up to 360 degrees. It fact, it can be turned in such a way as to act as it's own stand or mini-tripod to allow you to shoot images hands free. The LCD will also rotate up to 270 degrees.
All of this means that you can snap still images at nearly any angle and still see the screen. It also features a 12 megapixel back illuminated sensor which helps in getting better low light shots. It has a 3" touch screen LCD and can shoot 1080 HD video at 30 frames per second.
The Tryx is a unique camera, there are currently no others like it. However, there are a few other models that offer a swivel screen which you might try out.
Samsung's MV800 offers a 16 megapixel sensor, 5x optical zoom, and a 3" capacitive touch LCD screen that can flip up 180 degrees allowing easier self portraits and shots taken at very high and low angles. It also provides plenty of shooting and scene modes as well as a variety of creative features like a story board function, artistic effects, background templates, a funny face feature, a picture-in-picture function and more. ISO can be adjusted from ISO 80 to ISO 3200.
Option Three: A Camera with a Self-Portrait Mirror
Like the front facing LCD, a small mirror on the front of a camera can make framing shots of yourself much easier.
The unfortunate thing is that cameras don't come with mirrors on them. But all is not lost. Small mirrors can be purchased and attached after the fact which will work rather well, transforming your device into a self-portrait camera.The small self-adhesive convex mirrors used in vehicles to remedy blindspots are one of several options. Something that is 1" to 1.5" is ideal.
Option 4: A Camera Phone with Front Facing Camera
While not equal to a standalone digital camera in overall photographic abilities, there are a number of camera phones that do a very respectable job. There are now many new camera phone models (as well as tablets and other devices) which also offer a front facing camera. While the primary purpose of this front facing camera is not self-portraiture, many of them can function as such.
Most of these front facing cameras have a lower resolution, but the results can still be good for many purposes thanks to the improved framing/shot set up that it allows. Using the self portrait mode is generally necessary to get the camera to function this way as it's primary purpose is for video calling/video chat. The HTC Inspire 4G for instance uses it's face detection technology to find your face and the self timer to shoot once you're in self portrait mode.
A Few Tips for Better Self Portraits
Many self portraits that we see are out of focus, poorly framed, are under or over exposed, and so forth. While some of these traits may be intentional and used for artistic reasons, learning a few techniques can result in a better self-portrait for most purposes.
1. Choose the background
A plain background is a good choice in many instance. With less clutter and distraction, the focus is on you. However, if you want to express your personality, then using some props, some personal items can add interest. Therefore, taking a shot on a busy sidewalk isn't always a good choice but sitting against a brick wall, holding your new puppy or leaning on your favorite flowered umbrella may produce good results.
2. Watch the lighting and glare.
We've all seen the self-portraits taken in a mirror. The glare generally obscures the face or is distracting at a minimum. This is ok for some artistic shots, but in general, you want to avoid glare so be aware of using a flash when facing a window, mirror, or some other reflective surface.
If you take shots on a sunny day at noon, it might be best to take the shot in the shade where lighting is less harsh to reduce glare and get better color. If you're inside, you might need to open blinds or turn on some lights to get adequate lighting. Remember, flash is only useful if the camera is within a 8 or 9 feet of your face. If it's too close, it will over expose your face. In most instances, lighting shouldn't come from behind you and into the camera. It can come from the side, above, or possibly from in front of you, as long as it's not too harsh.
3. Avoid handholding the camera.
Certainly there are some fun, spontaneous shots to be had that involve holding the camera out in front of your face. However, for the best focus and composition, it's better to use a tripod or some surface upon which to rest the camera for the shot. A good self portrait camera will have a self-timer, which can then be used to trigger the shot. This gives you time to pose and assures the camera won't be jarred by you triggering the shutter button, creating a blurry photo.
4. Framing the shot.
Framing your shot is important and the right camera can help you do this by allowing you to see what the camera sees. This allows you to frame your shot so that your arms aren't cut off or only the bottom half of your face is seen. If you are standing back though, keep in mind that you don't always have to be dead center in the frame. Standing a bit to one side can make the photo more interesting. In addition, you don't just have to stand there with a smile and your hands by your sides. You can kneel, sit, lie down with your head propped up on your hand, strike a sideways pose, tip your cap, or something else that suits your style.
Using the self timer will give you the time you need to get in place. If you have the time for practice shots, you can use a inanimate object to set up the shot. Set it up, view it through the viewfinder, then when you have it right, place yourself in the shot in place of the inanimate object.
If you want to be be less traditional, you can experiment with the camera angle. Taking a shot from slightly above for instance. Shots taken from below face level tend to be unflattering for most people.
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