I have always been a do-it-yourself type of a person. I was raised with an independent spirit where self reliance was highly valued, so it made a lot of sense to do things yourself before spending money to have someone else do it. Why shouldn't photography work that way too?
I actually started taking selfies, long before they were a trend. When I got my first SLR camera in college (note the lack of a D at the beginning because it was pre-digital) I utilized the timer to take out of focus, poorly exposed self portraits, then I got a Polaroid and was able to get instant feedback on my out of focus self portraits. Now that I have an iPhone I have collection of distorted selfies with myself and my husband at various tourist attractions. Last week we took these selfies to a whole new level. Now, to be clear, I don't think it is groundbreaking at all, the technology was simply my DSLR on a tripod, operated with a remote.
I had the lights set up in the studio, and ended up with some extra time. I started by taking my own headshot:
The process was pretty tedious, because I had a precarious tower of things from the studio set up so that I could set the focus before using the remote. Then I would get into place, take 5-6 photos while trying to think happy, smiling thoughts and use all my posing knowledge to make myself look ok. Then I would go back to the camera, assess the results, make adjustments, reset the tower, set the focus and try again. It took over an hour, and over 100 tries to get a picture I liked. To be fair, I did pull out the fan and have some fun getting silly with wind, but the point is that it was pretty inefficient. If I had actually hired a professional, I could have had the same results in 10 minutes.
After I got my headshot, my husband came by and I decided we could get a new picture of ourselves. This way I could skip the tower of stuff to set the focus because my husband could stand in. The results are included here for humor and as a cautionary tale.
There are so many things that could have been easily adjusted to make a decent picture if somebody had been looking through the camera lens and making adjustments, like making sure we were both in the frame, keeping weird creepy hands under control, putting an end to general cheesiness and shenanigans...
When you need to make a choice, choose wisely between professional and DIY.