This year I've found a new way to express myself that suits me perfectly. Self Portraits.
I installed a self timer app on my iPhone a little over a year ago and was immediately hooked.
I've been thinking a lot about self portraits and what it is that makes it so intriguing to me.
I think it's many things. I don't take a lot of selfies in the meaning of holding the phone infront of me and taking a photo. I like selfies a lot, but for some reason I prefer to see myself in the surroundings I'm in, not just a photo of my face that day. It's like I want to remember the place I was at and the mood I was in at the moment I take my picture as much as I want to remember how I looked that day.
Another, more important thing, is my love for theatre. I've been acting since I was very young and always really loved the way the stage contains a story. That is one of the things I love with photography as well; to set a scene and create a fantasy situation in the world I live in.
Self portraits is such a great medium for that because taking a pretty photo of a beautiful landscape is one thing but often I think there's a person missing, someone who can take that amazing scenery and bring it back to a situation that tells a story.
A really tall mountain can be pretty to look at but it rarely tells a story. But if you put a person next to the mountain you not only get a better idea of how large the mountain really is, you also see the photo more from the eyes of the person in the picture. What must it have felt to be there, at that wonderous place?!

I take self portraits on lots of different occasions and for many reasons.
I think it has made me a better photographer too, actually. It forces me to create a scene in my mind and really think of what the feeling in the photo should be.

In this post I will show you some tips on how to take better self portraits and what tricks I use to create moods.
And remember, all of these are taken with my iphone (both my old 4s and my new iPhone6) so no fancy camera equipment needed!
Here are my favourites from 2014.

One of the reasons I love self portraits is to document a feeling I had that day. Sort of putting my emotion in a scene.
It takes a bit of acting but mostly just being myself a little bit more than usual to really get the feelings through the lens.
This photo is from when I had the stupid cold in Los Angeles in november. I was bored out of my mind and needed to do something! I was in LA for fucks sake! In a fancy hotel room for that matter!
It felt almost surreal to be forced to stay inside all day in this strange luxurious place that David and I could never afford for ourselves (David's producer booked the room for us) while the sun was shining outside. We had let roomservice know that they wouldn't need to clean our room that day because I was just a pile of fever and snot and weird dreams so the feeling of being all alone in a strange place was even stronger.
I work at a group home with 24 hour shifts. There needs to be someone there during the nights for safety but the person working the nights get to sleep at work. It's a weird feeling to stand in my nightgown, brushing my teeth in the bathroom at a completely quiet and dark workplace.
Summer at my parent's house. David is talking on the phone with people in Hollywood. Astor the cat watches sceptically as I'm dancing barefoot.
Sometimes life is wonderful and weird and quite silly.
(This also reminds me of the hundreds of photos I needed to take before I actually timed the jump perfectly, hah!)
Bored on my vacation. That should be illegal, right?!
A few weeks ago I went to the doctor to take blood tests. I have a stupid thyroid that needs to be checked a lot. Blood tests aren't really my thing though, so I fainted. But I got a lollipop from the nurse, so that was nice.
Here I'm waiting for David to come pick me up, all white in my face and wobbly legged.
And sometimes it's all about getting the feeling of sunshine into the picture to remember on cold winter days.
Like in LA when the cold kept ahold of me and the setting sun felt like the best medicin there ever could be.

Sometimes it's just a matter of finding a spot with perfect lighting and revel in it.
I can't really explain it, but colours and light can make my heart sing. It feels like music to me when I watch a photo (or anything really) with beautiful tones, light and colour.
This spot in a staircase with a dusty window is just perfect and gets me every time.
This was all about showing off my new pink bike shorts that kept my thighs from hating on eachother during the warm summer months.
This one and the one below. Music to my colour and light loving eyes.
The sombre tones adds to the atmosphere and I think you can tell I was having days when I wasn't feeling my very best. Those days are to be remembered too, you know.

One of the things I've realised since starting to take all these self portraits is that often times I don't even think of the person in the photo as me. It's just a person, or an emotion.
That is so freeing, you have no idea!
For me it has really been a great way to stop thinking about my body in negative ways. It might sound weird, but think about it, when you see a stranger you don't give them and their bodies the same scrutiny as you do yourself, right? They are just people. People with different bodies, emotions and looks, but you can't see on the outside what they think of themselves on the inside, and when you see a stranger for the first time you only get an idea of them.
This is something I've been thinking about when I look at the photos I've just been taking. I don't see myself as me with all the things that I am. I start seeing a "perfect stranger" that is just what this photo needed. It's so hard to explain but I hope you get the idea. -Let go of the things your mind keep hanging onto and see yourself as a unique person that is meant to look just like you do.

That "new to you" vintage find just needs to be documented! Even though the buttons bulge a little- but maybe that was intended?
In LA in my best dress feeling so very ready for a sunny day when Sweden was having rain rain rain for months.

This might be my favourite thing to do!
It's all about using the scenery around me and get it to inspire me to create a little story.
Like a game of hide and seek in a Greek temple in the middle of a forest in Sweden.
Or a fantasy land where pink rhododendron flower petals covers all the land.
Or taking the messy kitchen combining it with a lens that should have been wiped, a person in a sailor cardigan and the skirt on sideways with a bleak look on her face and calling it ART.
Ha! I love this photo. I call it "Bored Sailor girl in mint green kitchen with unpaid bills and a loaf of bread."
It's a masterpiece, right?
Finding a fairytale forest and wanting to stay in this dream world forever.
(The iPhone is standing on a tree stump leaning on a pine cone, by the way.)
Nothing is as scary as the Lights Out Hallway.
Over the knee socks and a doll like face sets the scene.
Walking around like a ghost on a dark morning.
Having a cape makes it necessary to take spooky photos on the cemetery during dusk (and scare people out walking).
Is there still time?
Airport bathroom. Nothing more to say.
Knock Knock!
A little series of photos creating a story about an abandoned trailer in the middle of nowhere California.
Anybody home?
Who's there?!
HELLOOOO! Let me in!
I'll just let myself in then...

I edit all of my photos with the app Snapseed. It's brilliant!
You can change the exposure, contrast, saturation and all that but you can also edit small areas of the photo; like if there's a spot that is a bit too dark you can lighten it up a little.
The app has a bunch of really nice filter styles too and you can change how much of the style you use and also edit brightness and saturation in every filter. You can put a tilt shift effect to your photos, create a center focus and much more.
Snapseed costs a little but it is so very worth it. It's like a mini Lightroom for your smartphone! (No, I'm not sponsored by snapseed. I'm just a big fan.)

Then we have the extra curricular. The app PhotoMirror is a really fun way to turn your photos into weird and wonderful art pieces.
This spooky hotel corridor with a Lotta inside it is even spookier when there's two Lottas in it.
Bored Squared.
Happy and excited Squared.
Bonus Pic. David and Lotta as King and Queen from a deck of cards.

The self timer app I'm using is called TimerCam and I usually set it to 10 or 15 seconds so I don't have to run to get in place. As for making the iPhone stand I use what I have around me as tripod. Books, a fruit, a folded up sock; anything really! I never ever use the flash because it just makes skin tone and everything look horrible.

And yes, it feels a bit awkward in the beginning but don't worry, you'll get used to it soon enough. And before you know it you'll start seeing scenes everywhere around you!

I hope you found this inspiring.
If you do start (or already are) taking self portraits I would love to see some!
Add or tag me on instagram or twitter (I'm @lottalosten everywhere) and show me your scenes!

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