Selfie Lesson From My Dog

By Nadine Spirit, AP Contributor

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This is my youngest dog, Indy, and this is one of about five good pictures I have of him.  No, he did not take a selfie, but his photos will hopefully help me to demonstrate my own picture taking philosophy – to get a good photo, take more!

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Pictured above is a partial listing of the 542 photos I have of Indy.  That is a lot of photos, especially when you consider that he is only a year old.  I really wish that I would have taken even more of them actually, because the vast majority of them are really bad.

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For me, a really good photo is sort of like finding a four leaf clover, just pure luck.  Sure I could figure out the ins and outs of my camera, good lighting, scene setting, etc. but even when I watch professional photographers, they take lots of pictures.

So I try to see that the same thing that happens when I take pictures of my dog happens when I take pictures of myself.  With my dog’s photos, it is not at all personal.  With his photos I immediately and automatically think, oh my gosh, what a horrible photo, I should take more!  I never think, oh wow, my dog is ugly!  But when it is me, I still think, uggh, I look horrible, I should never take another photo ever again, let alone post them on the internet!

But I can’t escape this lesson offered up from photographing my dog; if I take enough photos, I’m going to eventually get some good ones.

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So…. my advice…. if you absolutely hate photos of yourself, maybe the answer is to take more.  Yeah, I know it can be hard, but it just may be the best thing you ever do for your image of yourself.

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Hi, I’m Nadine Spirit and I have been a lifelong gender non-conformer. I have always understood that I am a bit different than most but it was not until sometime in my thirties that I came to understand that I am transgender. While I spend most of my time presenting as a male I am always presenting in a gender non-conforming manner. 

I started my blog, Unordinary Style, with the idea of being able to show a stylish side to those who identify as transgender. Since that time my blog has evolved into showing my personal style, discussing a wide variety of transgender topics, as well as posts about my personal life. My personal style continues to evolve as I attempt to continually push myself to pick stuff off of the racks, take it into the dressing room, and try on as much as I can. I am a firm believer in ignoring tag sizes, never paying retail prices, and due to a terrific allergy – that nickel should never be in any jewelry!

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8 Responses to “Selfie Lesson From My Dog”

  1. Sue

    Great post! I think the way you see yourself in photos as opposed to almost any other subject matter, be it kids, pets, landscapes, is so much harsher. I do find myself ascribing photo quality to the subject matter, when it is me, rather than photo composition, lighting, or angles. We all probably look better in the hands of a professional photographer because these things are controlled for. Since I don’t have a professional photographer following me around I will just have to make peace in my head that my “bad” self photos are more user error than user flaws.

  2. Emmy

    Agree that a good photo of anything or anyone is often a matter of luck: right time, right place, push the shutter button at exactly the right moment. So yes, taking a lot of photos increases your chances of being lucky! I’ll also add, taking a lot of photos has trained me be a better photographer. Not a better *model*…. For example, by comparing my good shots to the not-so-good ones, I’ve learnt that I photograph best on cloudy days because I’m not squinting or sweating, and any shadows are softer, if they exist at all.

  3. Paula

    Great advice! And it is so hard to get a good pic of dogs! I probably have 500 of my chihuahua on my phone but i can’t bring myself to delete them even if they’re blurry!

  4. Vivienne

    YES! Thanks so much for this post Nadine! I teach photography workshops based around selfies (and self-compassion) and I feel like I can’t tell people this enough…that the key is taking a LOT of photos, allowing ourselves to have tons of outtakes…and the way you framed it about your sweet pup really makes it hit home as we truly wouldn’t judge our friends this way, way judge ourselves!

  5. crtfly

    Nadine,

    I adore you website, I adore you, and now I adore your puppy. What lovely and accurate advice about photography and self-esteem.

    Chris