While we’ve been chilling at home over the last year, our Instagram feeds might have slowed down when it comes to posting fun content. Since there isn’t much going on, it can be hard to find things to capture and share. After all, posting about a Zoom party doesn’t quite have the same vibe.
However, for Humber College Media Communications Alum, Astha Chawla, this is far from the case. She’s found inspiration in the pandemic to switch up her content and try her hand at self-portraits, and you can too!
A self-portrait queen
Throughout her time at home social distancing, Astha has taken on the challenge of taking self-portraits. This largely stemmed from her love of photography, content-creating, self-expression and, of course, because of her time social distancing. After not being able to go out and shoot with friends, family or strangers as her models, the camera had to be turned around to who she had available – herself.
As someone who has always admired visual art of all kinds, she found herself inspired by the work of many and decided to dream up new ideas for herself.
Chawla explains, “my inspiration also comes from being home and still wanting to feel like you’re outside when you aren’t, so you create that ‘outside’ feeling at home.”
Quick and easy tutorials
Chawla’s education at Humber allowed her to gain skills through the practical and technical knowledge she received. She credits the Media Communications program with helping her in “polishing her eye” and learning all the techniques that come with taking portraits and editing them with software like Photoshop or Lightroom.
Chawla’s Instagram is dedicated to helping others achieve their own self-portrait photoshoots. She often posts tutorials of her shoots so that her followers can give her ideas a try on their own. Her tutorials are accessible and easy for anyone, and she always encourages everyone to give them a try. Even you!
In terms of materials, believe it or not, all of Chawla’s self-portraits are shot without the use of many (or any) professional materials. Instead, she relies on things you can find at home or for low costs. Some of her essentials are:
- Her iPhone or DSLR camera,
- A tripod – with or without a wireless remote,
- Natural window light, a basic ring light, her lamp or even dollar store colourful lights,
- Coloured gel sheets for a colour effect on the lighting,
- A white bed sheet as her background.
One of Chawla’s biggest tips for someone looking to try taking self-portraits is to look at other people’s works, whether that’s on Pinterest, TikTok, Instagram or any other platform. So many people are posting interesting things for you to draw inspiration from or try to recreate.
“When you’re recreating, you’re never able to copy it exactly, so what happens is your own style comes in, and you’ll create something original.”Astha Chawla
When it comes to posing, Chawla credits a lot of her experience and confidence to growing up with her father, who is a professional photographer, and her outgoing personality. But, that’s not to say she doesn’t sometimes feel uncomfortable and self-conscious when posing for her portraits and posting her work. She, too, often fears the judgement that might come with being vulnerable with your audience and sharing your work with them, but it all comes with practice.
To get the best poses, she recommends that you try not to overthink what you’re doing. Try keeping it natural, being yourself, and adding a lot of movements to achieve more candid and playful shots.
She adds, “movement makes candid shots – try twirling, making silly expressions, laughing, and, if you can, have a friend [or family member] direct you, but overall, try to be candid, be natural.“
For Chawla, it’s important to remember that self-portraits are a great way to describe or portray different emotions. The posing of your shots does not always need to be a certain way, and she encourages letting your emotions show and reflect how you are feeling through your posing.
A small business owner
In addition to her freelance photography work and self-portraits, in March 2020, Chawla started her own small jewellery business Younglemonn Jewels.
This new venture gave her the opportunity to express herself while also learning the art of creating handmade jewellery from clay. She especially loved the idea of creating something with her heart and soul and having it purchased and worn by another individual.
A photoshoot opportunity for you!
After all this talk of photoshoots, chances are you’re ready for your close-ups. Well, graduating students – now’s your chance to get your grad photos taken! New appointment slots have opened up, but they fill up fast – so book your appointment ASAP to commemorate this milestone!
And, before you go, check out our guide on how to get the perfect LinkedIn headshot, so you’re ready to perfect your poses!
For more Instagram-worthy content, find out more about six Instagram-worthy spots you can visit in Toronto!