Hampstead School / Liane Harris

Shooting a series of self-portraits

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Developing confidence in self-representation and working collaboratively to produce images with clear intentions.

Materials needed:

  • A backdrop (a sheet, large card, plain wall, colourama etc.)
  • A reflector to add light
  • A light source (a window, a flash head, a flash gun, a modelling light etc.)
  • Props such as a stool/chair/table
  • A tripod
  • Ideally a DSLR, but a compact camera is fine too.


  • Work out amount of time available per self-portrait and stick to this timetable.
  • Put up the backdrop
  • Ideally, find a room with enough depth so there is a good distance between subject and backdrop.
  • Make sure there is enough light on the subject
  • Set up camera and tripod


Activity- Final shoot

 a) Students should now be clear about what they are going to wear, what object they are going to use if any, how they want to represent themselves.

b) Working collaboratively in groups of three, students take turns being photographed, taking the photo and holding the reflector.

c) Ideally the shoot takes place in a separate room to enable privacy and concentration. In the main classroom, the remaining students are working on their workbooks.

 d) Reflecting on their portraits, ask students to write down:


  • What was their motivation/intention behind their portrait?
  • What is the story they are telling about themselves?
  • What is the feeling they wanted to convey?

Please see this PDF for examples of text from students.


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