Seattle Photographer | Self Portrait Tips

Taking a self portrait with a DSLR can be challenging, but it’s a great way to boost your skills and understanding of your camera, as well as to learn posing. If you spend any amount of time on Flickr, Viewbug, Focussion, or 500px, you will be absolutely amazed by some very creative self portraits. I highly recommend checking out these sites, especially 500px.


Over the last couple years I’ve taken a few self portraits and I’m amazed by everything that I have learned by this simple task. Below is just a small list of tips that I’d like to share:

1. Start with a plan. When creating your self portrait, start with an idea of how you want the image to look by taking into consideration things such as natural and artifical light, composition, background, white balance, depth of field, etc. Your final image may not turn out quite as how you had planned and it may turn out even better than you originally thought, but starting with a plan on how you want to achieve your self portrait will get you going in the right direction.

2. Use a tripod. I recommend using a tripod over placing your camera on a table or hand-holding it. The tripod will easily allow you to adjust height and angel, and any standard tripod will do the trick. I currently use a tripod made by Manfrotto.

3. Manually focus your lens. Switch your lens to manual focus and adjust it to focus on something that you will be standing directly next to. If you won’t be standing next to anything, place a chair or something in front of the lens where you plan on posing and focus on that. While auto focus is great, it’s not always accurate and I’d hate to get everything else right in the shot, but have the image out of focus.

4. Understand depth of field and choose an f/stop accordingly. Remember how we started with a plan in the first tip? Well, part of that plan was to know your desired depth of field (DOF) ahead of time. Photography is an art and it’s up to you to decide what you would like in and out of focus. I would most likely choose f/4 or around there, so that my head is in focus. But DOF is also determined by how far away your subject is, so a good understanding of DOF is needed.

5. Use a wireless remote, shoot tethered, or set your timer. Choose one of these ways so you don’t have to be touching your camera to take the portrait and this will allow you to be more flexible in setting up your shot. I like to use this Canon wireless remote, which I purchased from B&H for about $20.

These are just a few tips that have helped me along the way. If you have any more to add, I’d love to read it in the comments, and while you’re at it post a link to your recent self portrait. I’d love to see it!

Since this was the topic for my blogging group, spend a minute checking out what everyone in my little group posted about self portraits. Start with Huong of Huong Forrest Photography in Reno, NV. She is so talented, so I’m sure she came up with a great post that is really creative this week!

Email a Friend|
|Back to Top

[…] Now head over to my Fellow Friend Ally atΒ Allyson Photography. Here Faceless Portrait can be found on her blog. […]

Tara ColburnApril 10, 2013 - 12:48 pm

Great tips! And ugh! Could you be any more beautiful?!

Sarah EApril 11, 2013 - 9:09 am

These are some great tips Ally. πŸ™‚

Huong ForrestApril 11, 2013 - 11:03 pm

PERFECT tips, Allyson!!!

ChristineApril 14, 2013 - 6:50 am

I wish I had had these tips this week when I was doing a self portrait! And you are gorgeous to boot x

Awesome tips!

[…] this shot. However at the same time, it wasn’t easy! Β I couldn’t have done it without the self portrait tips I blogged about a couple weeks ago, especially my tripod and camera’s self timer which was set to 10 […]

Seattle Photographer | A Brutal Wakeup

My weekly blogging group has taken the last few weeks off if you haven’t noticed, but today we are back at it with our Tuesday blog posts! Our topic this week is another personal one: your morning routine. While mine is not that big of a deal, there is one thing that is guaranteed to happen each morning that not everyone experiences.

Often before I can fully open my eyes early in the morning, I’m greeted by a smack across my face by a paw, a little bark, and a tail wag. My little brown and rust miniature pinscher, Pippi, is ready to start her own morning routine and she’s one impatient puppy.

If I’m extra slow to get out of bed, Pip has no problem with showing a little more aggression. She’ll grab the covers off of me and then repeatedly beat me in the face with her paws. Some people find this funny and I think Pippi does too because her tail wags the entire time!

Pip is determined to be the queen-bee in our house, and this little morning routine is just the icing on the cake! She only weighs 13 lbs, but Pip always finds way to let everyone know that she is the boss!

Now, if you have a chance, travel across the world with my blogging group to see what they wrote about this week. Start with my friend and fellow photographer in South Africa, Christine Kruger of Chriscross Photography. I’m sure her morning routine is quite cute knowing her!

Email a Friend|
|Back to Top
Donna BeckMarch 19, 2013 - 4:01 pm

That is so sweet! I love dogs!

Keely JulsonMarch 19, 2013 - 7:18 pm

She is so cute and has such an attitude LOL πŸ™‚

Philip HogueMarch 20, 2013 - 8:49 am

I had to chuckle reading this because the paw to the face is our Yorkie’s move. We get a laugh out of it.

Melissa BergMarch 20, 2013 - 11:11 am

Too cute! She’s like your personal alarm clock! πŸ˜‰

SarahMarch 22, 2013 - 7:24 am

I love reading how other people spend their mornings. πŸ™‚ What blogging group are you in? Sounds like it would be a fun one to join in.

Huong ForrestMarch 22, 2013 - 10:55 am

Your pup is adorable!!! And a paw in the face is not a bad way to wake up! Wait until it’s two babies breathing in your face and asking for “Finding Nemo”?!?!?

ChristineMarch 30, 2013 - 1:06 pm

Pip is ADORABLE! And I giggled at the thought of her smacking you with her tiny paws!

Couples Photographer, Seattle | Ben and Caitlin Engaged!

I met Caitlin and Ben a few weeks ago for their engagement photos in the botanical gardens at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, also known as the Ballard Locks. It was supposed to be a beautiful sunny morning that Saturday, but it ended up as just a normal chilly and cloudy day in Seattle, WA. That’s okay though, we were simply happy that it didn’t rain!

Caitlin and Ben are such a fun and adorable couple. It’s so easy to see how much they love each other, and I absolutely couldn’t be happier that they are now engaged!

Caitlin and Ben also have great style as a couple, and I thought it was fantastic that they dressed up for their photo shoot. Don’t they look great?! I just love her dress and brown boots!

I also adored that Caitlin and Ben requested a fun shot of themselves jumping at the end. I don’t get many requests for this, but it was really fun watching their expressions as they jumped as high as they could and I loved how the final shot that they chose came out. Scroll down to the end of this post to see that fun image!

Seattle Engagement Photographer

Congrats on your engagement, Caitlin and Ben! Thank you for including me in this very special part of your lives. You are such an amazing couple, and I hope that you will enjoy your photos for many years to come!

Email a Friend|
|Back to Top
Jasmine E.February 27, 2013 - 8:24 am

You look like you really have a knack for making your couples feel really comfortable in front of the camera. Very cute session!

Cherilyn HFebruary 27, 2013 - 9:03 am

Such a cute couple! I love how the jumping picture turned out!

Danyel RogersFebruary 27, 2013 - 11:36 am

What a cute couple! {{{LOVE}}}

MaggieFebruary 27, 2013 - 8:41 pm

Looks like a really stylish and fun couple. Great images!

SarahFebruary 28, 2013 - 9:13 am

What a fun set of photos. I love how you can tell you get to know your clients and you guys have so much fun.

Tina BeckettFebruary 28, 2013 - 1:38 pm

What a beautiful couple! They look like so much fun!

Huong ForrestFebruary 28, 2013 - 9:14 pm

What a beautiful session, Ally!

ChristineMarch 3, 2013 - 12:24 am

These are absolutely awesome – they are gorgeous and look like loads of fun!

Child Photographer in Seattle | Silly Faces

I’ve started to focus my business model on providing glamour and boudoir photography in Seattle, but one thing that I don’t want to give up on is photographing children. I have photographed some amazing and very fun kids, and I just love it when I can connect with a child, capturing the personality that his or her parents adore so much.

I have decided that throughout the next couple months, I am going to break my photography business in half. I’ll have a completely different website geared towards glamour and boudoir photography and this blogsite will continue on with photo shoots of children and their families, Gold Hope Project information and shoots, plus news on updates, deals, and events.

Now, let’s move on and talk about a very special and fun kid, who is sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. πŸ˜€

Meet Karli. Remember her? Back in 2011, some of my very first blog posts were of Karli. She was just a few months old and absolutely darling. She continues to get cuter and cuter each time I see her. I think her personality is a good mix of sweet and rambunctious. Don’t you just love all of her facial expressions?

If you are looking to book a session, I have just a few openings in March that are still available. Mention this blog post and you’ll receive a $50 print credit. How sweet is that?! πŸ™‚ Happy Valentine’s Day!

Email a Friend|
|Back to Top
pattyFebruary 14, 2013 - 6:50 am

She is adorable!

Cherilyn HFebruary 14, 2013 - 8:29 am

What a cutie! πŸ™‚

S. TaftFebruary 14, 2013 - 8:34 am

Those expressions are classicly adorable!! Love it!! πŸ™‚

MaggieFebruary 14, 2013 - 4:25 pm

Love the silly faces!

Melissa BergFebruary 14, 2013 - 9:05 pm

What great expressions!! Good luck on your “new” endeavor!

Sarah SunstromFebruary 16, 2013 - 7:32 am

Hehe, I just love her little face!

SarahFebruary 16, 2013 - 1:57 pm

What a little cutie. How adorable is she.

Tina BeckettFebruary 18, 2013 - 7:37 am

Absolutely LOVE her expressiveness! Wonderful captures!

Glamour Photographer in Seattle | A Not-So-Glamorous Purse


Instagram Image of Odin
Follow AllysonPhoto on Instagram!

(If you found this post by searching for “glamour photography in Seattle,” then check out my portfolio.)

Every week my blogging group chooses a topic to write about. We often write about topics that are related to our photography businesses, but sometimes they are personal. This Tuesday’s topic is a personal one: “What’s in your purse?” When I saw this topic a couple weeks ago, I literally laughed-out-loud, because I would like to know exactly what happened to my purse!

A couple months ago I couldn’t find my purse. I searched my house, pulling everything inside-out and upside-down, till I found it under the bed.

Sadly, my cute, stylish purse was destroyed.

The culprit? I could only assume, that my male miniature pinscher, Odin, was behind the whole thing. He has a long history of destroying things — actually completely annihilating anything in reach.

Do I blame him? Absolutely not.

I take full responsibility since I left it in a place where he could get at it. But I haven’t bought a purse since this incident and most of the time, I just carry my wallet, keys, and iPhone around with me.Β  I guess it’s the price I pay for not keeping a better eye on my dog and leaving my purse within his reach.

Now if you have a minute, travel around the world with my blogging group to see their blog posts this week. Start with my friend and amazing newborn photographer in Reno, Huong of Huong Forrest Photography. I’m sure you will really enjoy her post this week!

Email a Friend|
|Back to Top
Anna McClaryFebruary 12, 2013 - 5:41 pm

Kudos to you for being able to streamline enough to not need a purse. I feel like mine is my personal first aid kit. πŸ™‚

MelissaFebruary 13, 2013 - 8:44 am

I’ve had a bag destroyed by my puppy before. He had the sweetest looking eyes afterwards!

Angela RamseyFebruary 13, 2013 - 9:27 am

Sorry about your purse. My dog is always trying to eat left over wrappers out of mine.
I do not think I could live without my purse though. it is a diaper bag & personal junk holder for my children.

ChristineFebruary 23, 2013 - 11:12 pm

I’m not going to lie, I did giggle at this – the worst item my dogs ever destroyed is socks or shoes.