Comments welcomed and encouraged
Creating self portraits in your photography is not only healthy, but valuable as you learn to appreciate the experience from the other side of the camera.
One may be most comfortable as the shooter, but that tends to make a person complacent and less able to be understanding of what a portrait subject may be going through. Especially a subject who is rarely in front of the lens.
Self portraits give you the valuable gift of empathy.
I believe that every photographer who does people portraits should regularly spend time creating self portraits as part of their sensitivity training. I do it every month in my tiny studio. Luckily I can close and lock my door to keep the family out. Having repeated interruptions, whether shooting portraits or otherwise, is an annoying and stress inducing problem with having a home-based studio.
Self portraits can be achieved anywhere, really. Just look at all those folks doing "selfies" on the bus, next to a cliff, on a balcony (just inches from death). Making a studied and controlled self portrait is just one step further. It's a "serious selfie". One that matters. It may never see the light of day beyond your camera's LCD or your monitor, but that doesn't matter. You could of course, have your best examples printed and filed in a monthly labeled file folder. At the end of the year, pull them out and analyze and compare the images from month to month. Have you grown as a photographer? How did you change your lighting style or your angle of view? Maybe you will see that you tend to favour a high angle over a low approach to your subject.
Making notes of what you are doing is a way of keeping track and seeing first hand how you have grown as an artist. Hopefully you have grown. And that's the point of self portraits. Knowing what the experience is like for the sitter. Giving you a first hand appreciation of having a camera pointed at your face, having lights in your eyes, flashes popping every second or so.
One could also go one step further and have a seasoned pro make photos of you too. You could completely give into the situation and not have to think about the photographer's role. Become a true portrait subject. Take direction. Interact with the photographer, who is not yourself.
This approach is the ultimate in learning empathy for your portrait subjects.
I would highly advise every people photographer to indulge your curiosity and become the subject at least once a month if possible.
Photo-Artist working a personal vision.
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