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  • Writer's pictureGigi Gold

Week 3 of the 30 Day Self Portrait Challenge

ICYMI, I decided to embark on a 30 day self portrait challenge. Read more about it here.

Week 1's theme was "in bed", Week 2 was "shadows" and Week 3 was all about mirrors. A huge part of this process was wanting to challenge myself to work with sometimes daunting concepts and mirrors are just that.

Mirror photography is extra tough because the angles have to be JUST RIGHT. The angle of the camera, the angle of the mirror, what is in the background of that mirror and the foreground of the photo. It's not remotely straightforward and made much harder when doing it all by yourself.

Day 15 a combo of mirrors and double exposures. I was feeling extra fatigued that day and honestly thought this would be and easy shot. And of course, it was anything BUT easy.

Setting up the camera to capture my face and not the camera proved challenging.

If you're unfamiliar with double exposures, it's a process where you layer two images on top of each other. But that means both images are almost transparent. So it took a dozen tries getting an image where enough of my face and hair was covering up the camera that was placed right in front of the mirror.

Day 16 was another really hard one getting all of the angles just right. My Fujifilm XT4 camera does have a fully articulating screen, meaning I can see a preview of the image by angling the screen.

But saying that, it's a lot harder to get everything just right the further away from the camera. I use gorgeous, prime lenses that don't really offer autofocus, so it was a lot of back and forth to get the angles and focusing just right. I particularly liked this image because of how the ceiling light catches my forehead.

Day 17 was another instance of thinking "this will be easy" and not being over the moon about the results. I was on a hair wash day (IKYK) and knew the bathroom mirror would get nice and foggy...the perfect time to set up the camera and snap some images before the steam dissipated.

Mirror shots can be particularly tricky with focusing as your reflection is always slightly distorted. But I think these shots came out nice and moody with a little air of mystery.

Day 18 was a highlight for me. I woke up feeling good, there was gorgeous natural light and it just flowed so easily. This old mirror actually sits on the other fireplace in my living room (that sounds so gd bougie) and I thought it was perfect to pop it on the floor with the black wall and red brick fireplace. I really felt like I was channeling some Audrey Hepburn stuff here and this one set up yielded nearly 30 images. The natural light from the windows I was facing just perfectly lit the scene and each shot just flowed so seamlessly.

Truly a chef's kiss moment.

Day 19 was the perfect excuse to bust out the TEENY TINY little mirror I purchased online thinking it was going to be a normal size.

I wanted to reduce as much "visual noise" as possible so settled on a white wall in my bedroom and had to spend some time moving blankets around on my bed. This was taken after the sun went down, so I was able to utilize a wake up light on the nightstand next to this wall. I played with images that focused on my reflection, images that focused on my hand, and for this one, added a streak of red lipstick to cover my eyes.

I liked this series I edited two different color versions as well as black and white.

Day 20 was another FUCK YES moment. I'd specifically bought this round mirror for this self portrait project, but I wasn't too diligent about the measurements so it was a little larger than what I wanted for the original inspo pic. But as with any photoshoot, I went with it and discovered a new idea out of an obstacle.

I placed the round mirror onto a stool, pulled the brown paper backdrop down and crouched near the mirror. I specifically didn't want a mirror with a beveled edge as this creates distortion. I simply used the overhead lights in the living room and because my face was pointed towards them, the lighting was INSANE. I loved the shadow on my neck and jawline really emphasized the difference between my face and neck. This was another day that felt so good and easy and yielded an amazing crop of images.

And finally, Day 21 was a super fun segue between this week's "Mirror" theme and next weeks "distorted" theme. I set up this vintage mirror on a shelf in my living room and asked my husband to grab some flowers from the grocery store.

Once I played around with the set up, the angles, the lighting, I started snapping away and loved the effect of the flowers taking the place of my head. Faceless portraits can be soooo powerful because it leaves us wondering, it tells a story, and it allows the audience to fill in the gaps.

Working with mirrors was a fantastic way to challenge myself. It took a lot of tiny tweaks, a lot of windex and definitely saw some high highs and low lows. This was the beautiful part of the process - I got to try, to fail, to be disappointed, and try again tomorrow. And some of my most favorite images of the whole month came from playing with mirrors. Next week's assignment was to get a little weird, which is obvs my happy place.

Which day of week 3 is your favorite?

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