My Christmas (S)elfie
My Christmas (S)elfie
In 2017, I started creating elaborate selfies to work on creativity and work on planning scenes. I also hate being in front of a camera so doing the shoots helped me see how I had to relax to look better in the photos, plus how posing affected the shot. In October of 2017, I did a selfie where the photo was a composite of three Tomas’ on my sofa. After doing that selfie, I started planning for a composite selfie for that Christmas. I enjoyed creating “Remember, Remember the Twenty Fifth of December”, a V for Vendetta based selfie. In 2017, I did roughly 10 or 11 selfies where most of them were not overly elaborate.
2018 was a busy year with work and life in general so I had little time to create elaborate selfies. I wasn’t feeling as creative this year, but I wanted to do a Christmas themed selfie since I had so much fun the prior year. After a couple of weeks of thinking and searching for photo ideas on the internet, I came up with the idea of doing a Brady Bunch-esque Christmas selfie. It still took a couple of weeks after that for the "Christmas Elfie" idea! Once I had a direction to head in, the plan on what to do in each spot came to mind quickly! So, off to the store I ran to get a ton of elf hats and an Elf on the Shelf!
I used a 16"x20" white photo mat with an opening for a 11”x14” print. The photo mat was taped to a black foam board that had a 12”x15” opening. I clamped the foam board to two small flash stands, set up my Canon 5D Mark IV camera on a tripod, and used my Elichrom ELB-400 strobe (with a HS head) with a 28” octobox setup directly above the camera where the bottom of the soft box was just touching the top of the Canon 50 mm f/1.4 lens. Camera settings I used were 1/400 sec f/6.3 ISO 100.
I did tether shooting where my laptop was setup next to me in order that I could trigger the camera and see the photos without having to run back and forth to the camera. The camera was setup with a 10-second delay. I triggered the camera from the laptop and had a few seconds to get into position before the camera took the shot. Each photo took several attempts to look right. Some shots were easier than others since it was tough at times to stay within the outer border of the white mat. The top left and bottom left photos took many more shots than the others!
The "elfie" is a composite of 10 photos where the bottom right photo is two photos where I used a mask in Photoshop so the hand on the bottom of the frame showed up in the photo. I processed the ten photos in Adobe Lightroom. Editing the photos took a bit of time since I had to do “guided transformation” on each photo to correct horizontal and vertical distortions because of my clumsiness - I would accidentally kick the stands or move the board. I also pre-cropped each photo to be in a 11”x14” format. I then brought the 10 photos into Adobe Photoshop where I stitched the photos together. The required masking of the two photos used at the bottom right corner only took seconds. The Photoshop time didn’t take as long as I expected until I zoomed out and noticed the white borders didn’t look white at all! The top it off, the color of the borders was not at all uniform. Therefore, I added another layer filled with the color white. I then had to start adding a mask to make all borders look uniform. This process took me a ton of time since I’m not very proficient in Adobe Photoshop.
The entire process to create this Christmas Elfie took way too many hours. I could have done it faster with help but then it would not be a Christmas elfie would it?
Above is my 2017 Christmas Selfie titled "Remember Remember the Twenty Fifth of December". Also shown above is the selfie I took earlier in 2017 that inspired me to start doing these wacky Christmas selfies (or elfies...).
The Christmas (s)elfies have been a hit on my personal Facebook account. I received a ton of messages and texts stating that 2019 will be tough one for me since I now have to top these last two selfies! I suppose planning for my 2019 Christmas selfie needs to start soon! :)
To see more of my selfies, visit my "Shoot Yourself" gallery: www.tomasorihuela.com/Personal-Projects/Shoot-Yourself/