Anna Gay's Picks for Self-Portrait Challenge #3: MOOD

Anna Gay’s Picks for Self-Portrait Challenge #3: MOOD

Today’s post is the final part of dPS’s Self Portrait Challenge.

For our third and final challenge, we looked at “Mood” as your theme for taking a self-portrait. I was really touched by all of the posts in this thread, because I saw so much honesty from all of you, which was the main point of this exercise – to pull a real emotion from inside of you in order to convey it through a self-portrait. Thank you all so much for your hard work this week, but especially on this challenge, because all of you showed something of yourself, and a lot of you shared very personal stories with us, and that can take a lot of courage.

Again, with such a wide range of moods to choose from, this was a very difficult task, but here are my three:

Kelly Kardos

There are a lot of very raw emotions on display here, but Kelly chose to show them in a very soft and delicate way. Kelly just recently lost someone close to her, so not only is this photo the product of true emotions, it is also a loving tribute to her friend. Self-portraiture, just like any form of self-expression, can really be a positive outlet for us during the tough patches in our lives.


Anna-Elizabeth combines props and lighting here to create a very interesting mood. This image has a dream-like mood to it because of the muted (yet still vibrant) tones, the vignette, focus, and all of her props. The props, especially her books, make us wonder what she is reading and what she is thinking about as she gazes at the sky.


Shovona’s image is the perfect example of how effective body language can be in conveying mood. We cannot see her face, but we can sense a lot of different emotion in her body language. She also took advantage of that wonderful light coming in through the window, and by placing herself near the corner of the room, all lines lead to Shovona. This is subtle, but with all of the elements of this photo combined, a very powerful mood is set.

I hope you all have enjoyed the challenges this week as much as I have! Each and every one of you really impressed me with your willingness to participate in the challenges, and I know that, for a lot of you, this was your first time taking a self-portrait, so congratulations to you on that! My hope is that you will continue to take self-portraits, whether it is on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. As you can see, there is much to be gained through self-portraiture. Whether you want to hone your portrait skills, express yourself, or just have fun – self-portaits can be a great way to enhance your skills as a photographer.

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Anna Gay is a portrait photographer based just outside of Atlanta, GA. She is also the author of the dPS ebook The Art Of Self Portraiture

Some Older Comments

  • Kelly Kardos May 19, 2011 08:37 am

    @ Yujia please invest in a's the only way to go!

  • Madison Raine May 19, 2011 08:03 am

    @Brandom. Yourwelcome. I want to do a self portrait but I have to stop taking pictures for a while. It's tradgic. I keep spending all my money when i'm printing my pictures. So if I keep printing I'll never be able to buy a new camera. But anyways back to your photo, I really do like it. Did you spend a while planning it out? I might do one like this somewhat of my sister if she could learn to stay still.

  • Brandon May 19, 2011 07:33 am

    @Madison Thanks! Its great to post somewhere and get some feedback! :D

  • Madison Raine May 19, 2011 06:33 am

    @Brandon Very nice, i think it looks really good. It's perfect, if you would of put it in B&W it wouldn't look as good. I love the shadows and colors.

    @KateQP I love the detail and work you put into this, very good. It's like theres more behind it, it's not just a photo.

    @mromero I do like this one, I only have one problem with it though. I think you pushed a bit to much into your head with your hand, it somewhat looks like your pulling your face off, witch isn't entirely bad it's just with the word depression, it's confusing because it looks more mad. But still I like it a lot. It's perfect in B&W.

    And I just have to say I love the photos in this article, they are beautiful! Love them!

  • Yujia May 18, 2011 09:38 am

    I have a dumb question to ask about self-portrait, which is: how to focus?? When I'm framing the shot behind the camera, apparently, I'm not there in the viewer to get a focus how can I focus on the spot when there is nothing there...

  • Brandon May 18, 2011 04:07 am

    I know the challenge is well over but I figured I'd post up something anyways :D

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  • sreeram May 17, 2011 01:23 am

    am learning and enjoying the self portraits :)

    through the challenge is over long ago .. here is what i tried with an unconventional set up :)

  • KateQP May 15, 2011 09:04 pm

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  • Kyla May 15, 2011 12:21 pm

    This challenge was a lot of fun and a good learning experience. Could we have more challenges like this in the future, please?

  • Grant D. Taylor May 15, 2011 08:20 am

    Al three of these are great. Very good choices. The first image is full of so much emotion and photographed in such a well composed and interesting way. It is a very simple image, but done so well I want to keep looking at it. The second image really does have a great prop choice. The color is amazing. I really do like how dull the color is but the vibrant colors pop so much from the image. The clothes and the wine glass especially. The image really tells a story that makes you want to know the rest of what is going on. The third image has a great composition and use of negative space. The large amount of wall space which leaves the person so small really gives the feeling of loneliness. The bars on the window give a trapped feel. Most people have probably felt so trapped and alone that all you want to do is curl up. Really conveys that mood.

  • mromero May 15, 2011 06:59 am

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  • Anna-Elizabeth May 15, 2011 06:42 am

    Although it takes some mystery out of it, the book in my hand is Much Ado About Nothing. And thank you so much for the honor! Tickles me pink.