Pieces Of Us | Self Portrait Community Project Ideas + Inspiration

I'm so excited that many of you want to join me in a self portrait adventure next week: Pieces Of Us

This is going to be so fun. 

To get ready I wanted to share some additional thoughts and inspiration related to self portraits. Also, as you'll see below, I've gone back through my archives and pulled up a bunch of examples of photos I've taken of myself over the years.

Here are a few things to think about for next week: 

  • My main goal with taking photos of myself is to include myself in my stories. Most of the time - as memory keepers - we are the ones behind the camera. I want you to come out from behind the camera this next week and get yourself in your own story.  
  • Remember: the best camera is the one you have with you. For most of us, that's our phones. Use whatever you want this week - maybe you've missed taking photos with your "big" camera or maybe your phone is simply the most convenient. Don't let that decision stop you from participating! 
  • This is an awesome opportunity to learn how to use your self-timer. Get out your manual, do a google search, and figure out how to use the tools you already have. So much about this entire adventure is a spirit of curiosity. What happens if I do this? What happens if I get higher or lower or get farther away or closer up? I want you to carry that spirit of curiosity with you this week. 
  • Use a tripod or get creative with where you can put your phone/camera to set up your shot. I often use furniture and books in my house to hold my camera steady.
  • Our goal here isn't a perfect photo. My goal is never to take a perfect picture. As you'll see below, many of my photos are completely imperfect and I embrace that wholeheartedly. I embrace it when they might be blurry or overexposed because they are part of an overall story. 
  • When I take self portraits I like them to be representative of my life right now. You kinda can't help that from happening because it's who you are right now, but you can also go out of your way to include more of the "stuff of your life" in your photos.  
  • As you embark on this adventure I also invite you to really pay attention to the light. Where is the light coming from in your photo? What is the quality of the light - soft, warm, cool, harsh, etc. If you don't already, start becoming more aware of where the light is coming from and what it "feels like" in the photo. 
  • It can never hurt to check-in with your own self talk during this adventure. How can you turn around negatives into positives? Can you look for the things you love about yourself vs. the things you aren't currently embracing? Can you treat yourself with the kindness you'd give to a friend vs. berating yourself for whatever you think isn't good enough? This adventure is an excellent opportunity to practice these skills - because that is exactly what it is: a practice. 

To help get you in the mood for next week I did a deep dive into my photo archives. I've collected some self portraits I've taken (going back to 2008) to help you start thinking about how you might want to creatively capture yourself next week. Let's dive in! 

PS // I've also go a ton of self portrait photos on my @ae_wellness instagram account if you want even more ideas. 

MONDAY : FEET

Think about all the places your feet take you in a 24 hour period. This one can be shoes on or shoes off - it's all up to you. Tell a story with your image. 

(not a selfie of my own feet but a fun idea you could do yourself)

TUESDAY : HANDS

Our hands engage in so many things throughout the course of our day. They hold things, they push things, they make things, they give + receive, they wash things, they come together in prayer or meditation, they hold you up in a headstand, and on and on. 

WEDNESDAY : FACE FORWARD

Show me your beautiful face. Look right at the camera and take a photo (or maybe look off to the side - play around with what feels right for you right now). You can smile, you can not smile, you can laugh, you can be crying, you can do any number of things. 

I challenge you to say loving things to yourself in your head when you are taking this shot. It's totally a practice and it's one you can start today. 

THURSDAY : EYES CLOSED

Literally, take a photo of yourself with your eyes closed. You don't have to be laying in bed and if you're taking a selfie your not really asleep. 

FRIDAY : 1/2 FACE

LIterally, take a photo (or crop a photo) so it shows only a portion of your face. 1/2 your face can also mean you sitting at a table looking at something. 

Obviously this one isn't a self portrait but I love the idea of trying to capture a photo of myself like this and it could totally count as 1/2 your face. 

SATURDAY : FULL BODY

Bring on a little more of that opportunity to express love for ourselves. 

As I reflected on self portraits I thought of a couple other people I want to encourage you to check out: 

  • Vivian McMaster of Be Your Own Beloved. Follow her on Instagram here. Her goal is to help you see yourself with compassion through the lens of your camera. 
  • Sarah Nicole Landy of The Birds Papaya. Sarah is known for promoting radical self love and body acceptance. I don't think that most of her photos are self portraits so the reason I want you to check her out is because of her words about self love + radical acceptance of our bodies. 

REFLECTION

Think mirrors, water, store windows, shiny surfaces, etc. Look for an opportunity to capture a reflection of yourself.

You've got this! I'm so excited to participate in this adventure with you next week. I'll be sharing my images daily on my @aliedwards instagram account each day with a recap here on my blog at the end. 

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14 thoughts

  1. Inkfanatic says…
    02/06/2020

    Sooo excited to participate in this! Love your invitation here, and your insights (as always 😘)! Off to check out the linked sites!! 💖

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. totteacher says…
    02/06/2020

    Oh my goodness I thought reflection was like a day to think back on the week in pics 🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄 - this is so much better! (I had trouble with closed eyes too - but I got it now hehe) thanks for the ideas!!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. PoochPatrol says…
    02/06/2020

    Wow. So many great photos and great ideas for photos. Thank you so much for sharing these ideas. It certainly has my head thinking. I'm so looking forward to this this coming week. :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. smorton says…
    02/07/2020

    I loved looking at all these photos.I love each collection you pulled out for each theme. It kind of makes me want to do a whole bunch for each theme so I have a whole spread for each one, but each photo different, like you have here in this blog post. Different perspectives/activities/views/time periods etc. So excited to play around next week and see what everyone comes up with. Thanks again Ali for managing to inspire me all over again to get my stories documented!

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. KProffitt says…
    02/07/2020

    Looking forward to this project! SO many great photos that you've taken through the years!

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. LucyCaitlynW says…
    02/07/2020

    I found you years ago, and lost you :-(
    Now found you again at a difficult time in my life, first anniversary of 2nd time being widowed is days away and it turns out that not only am I severely disabled with chronic/acute health issues, I've a strong likelihood that the latest issue is cancer. Having lost in my last bereavement my dearest friend & only relative as well as life partner, the latest news is a bummer....But, I found YOU again and....
    I am so inspired by this project!
    Thank you, thank you and thank you!
    Lucy Caitlyn, Kent ~ England

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      02/07/2020

      I'm so sorry to read about all the challenges you've been facing. Much love to you!

  7. iHanna says…
    02/07/2020

    Wow, love this idea so much - and all your beautiful examples from previous years. But please, will you remind us on instagram? I'm so scattered minded these days... But okay. Monday-feet, monday-feet...

    /iHanna
    http://www.ihanna.nu

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. ammi says…
    02/07/2020

    I am super excited about this project! Love all the pictured you shared! Would not have thought of some the examples you posted!

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. kwalls1 says…
    02/07/2020

    I AM going to do this. It's always been scary for me to come out from behind the camera. This will be great for me to face. Maybe I'll even like one of them because I do like the selfies I have with you and with Simon. Thank you so much, Ali, for presenting challenges.

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. Dcorder says…
    02/07/2020

    love the inspiration in this photos!

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. LucyCaitlynW says…
    02/07/2020

    Thanks Ali,
    Your project really has inspired me to be positive
    if only for this week ~ lol

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. agfg80 says…
    02/08/2020

    I am excited to participate on this....Thinking of it as A WEEK IN A LIFE but just about me!!. Awesome!: Thanks Ali for such a wonderful idea.

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. djsgurl3084 says…
    02/12/2020

    A friend of mine had a really neat idea. She said that this project would be really fun to do, not only of ourselves, but of our children. We both have young children and how neat would it be to document their little feet, hands, faces, etc. at this time in their lives. I thought it was a great idea!

    Reply 0 Replies

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