Want a person in your shot, but have no friends? Read on solo photographer, here are some tips for shooting with the self timer!
To take self-portraits, you will obviously need a tripod or something sturdy enough that your camera can sit on. Frame up your shot and be sure to allow enough room for where you will be. You can use twigs, rocks, or cracks in concrete to mark where you will need to be, if you are posing beside the car. For height considerations, try to use other elements in the scene to judge. Don’t want to cut part of your head off… or maybe you do?
The self timer on many cameras (including the Minolta x-570) gives about 10 seconds before the shutter is released. Ideally you’ll want a wide angle lens to put you physically closer to the car, which will help to avoid a rush. I used a 135mm for the shot above. Literally sprinted to get in position and had enough time to think, “did I m- *click* -ake it?” One way to test timing would be to just do a dry run with a timer on your phone or use a stopwatch (is that even still a thing?). Start at the camera, get in position and check your timing.
If you want to recreate the ‘thumb up’ shot above, get your tripod and set the framing you want. Focus on the side mirror. Make sure your framing at this point catches part of the headrest, reflected in the mirror. Feel free to adjust the camera, mirror, or both until you get it right. Use a smaller aperture (larger f-stop, like 5.6 up) to increase the depth of field for your arm and the taillight. Sit in your car to get the positioning down (basically, stick your arm out and make sure you still can see the camera in the mirror). When you’re ready, pre-open the door, hit the shutter button, and run like hell!
Using the self-timer is a great way to have some some fun and get shots that you would normally need another person for. Outside of panning shots, I can’t think of any results that I’m more excited to see when developing a roll. Gotta try this with a roll of Revolog Tesla sometime!
Thanks for reading!