April 25, 2024

We could all do with a little confidence boost from time to time, and that may mean different things to different people.

For 23-year-old Sue Dukeminier, a freelance portrait photographer from Colorado, it took the form of taking monthly self-portraits, despite a preference for being behind the camera, not in front of it.

“My motivation behind taking monthly self-portraits comes from the desire to grow my skills,” Dukeminier told Newsweek. “I believe the best way to grow is by putting yourself in uncomfortable situations. Stepping outside your comfort zone can help you discover new things about yourself.”

Self-esteem tends to be lowest in young people, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), but increases throughout adulthood, peaking at around 60 years old.

In a video posted to her TikTok account, Dukeminier can be seen wearing a simple white tank top and jeans, covering herself in gold glitter, before posing in front of the camera.

“Doing this improved my photography skills and allowed me to find new confidence,” Dukeminier said. “My motivation for sharing the photos online was to overcome my insecurities and inspire others to do the same. The positive feedback and engagement I received exceeded my expectations, opening doors to unexpected opportunities. When my glitter self-portraits went viral on TikTok, they attracted the attention of brands, leading to collaborations and allowing me to monetize my passion. Putting myself in an uncomfortable situation helped me make a living doing what I love.”

Despite mild irritation from a few bits of glitter in her eyes, the photoshoot was a big success.

“Taking self-portraits has been an incredible journey for me, shaping my growth and boosting my self-confidence in various ways,” Dukeminier said. “Firstly, the overwhelming positive reaction I received from my friends, family, and online community motivated me to keep going. I found a community of supportive photographers who encourage one another and celebrate each other’s journeys.

“Sharing my self-portraits has also allowed me to connect with others who are going through similar struggles. It’s comforting and empowering to know that I’m not alone in my struggles with confidence and self-expression. The process of taking self-portraits has improved my photography skills and helped me learn how to express myself through storytelling and experimentation with poses and facial expressions.”

While Dukeminier has the skills to take a great photo, some of us aren’t so lucky and dread the thought of having our photos together.

Dukeminier offered tips for camera-shy people to get the perfect shot.

 During the clean up process Dukeminier got glitter in her eyes which caused quite a lot of irritation. "I used eyedrops, and after about an hour, my eyes felt much better," she said, "After a couple of weeks, I still had traces of glitter around my house. But most of it was easy to sweep away."Sue Dukeminier
During the clean up process Dukeminier got glitter in her eyes which caused quite a lot of irritation. “I used eyedrops, and after about an hour, my eyes felt much better,” she said, “After a couple of weeks, I still had traces of glitter around my house. But most of it was easy to sweep away.”Sue Dukeminier

Camera Equipment

“You don’t need a fancy camera to take a good photo. Your phone will work fine. However, I recommend investing in a good tripod and using either a remote or an app to release the shutter. Remote apps like Imaging Edge [for Sony users] allow you to connect your camera to your phone, so you can see what your camera sees and even change your camera settings with your phone.”

Prioritize Good Lighting

“Having good lighting can make a significant difference in the quality of your photos. You want your face to be evenly lit, so it is best to avoid overhead lighting that can cast weird shadows on your face. Instead, try turning off your overhead light and taking your photos in front of a window or using an artificial lighting setup like a ring light.”

Variety in Poses and Angles

“Capture different angles, including whole-body shots and close-ups from various perspectives. Movement is key to getting cute candid shots. You can start with small natural movements like fixing your hair or adjusting your clothes.”

Facial Expressions

“This is something I still struggle with. Whatever you are thinking about usually reflects in your photos, so if you are thinking about how awkward or uncomfortable you feel, it will show. Try to think of a memory or listen to the words of the music to guide your facial expressions.”

Be Kind and Patient With Yourself

“I get about one good photo out of every 100 photos, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t like how they turn out. Keep trying, and don’t give up.”

Users on TikTok loved the video.

“THESE. ARE. STUNNNG!,” commented one user, “Stop it right now these are so gorgeous!” wrote another.

Newsweek’s “What Should I Do?” offers expert advice to readers. If you have a personal dilemma, let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice on relationships, family, friends, money and work and your story could be featured on WSID at Newsweek.

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This story was originally published December 11, 2023, 8:40 AM.

source: star-telegram

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