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Taking Better Photos of yourself

I look through the photos here on DailyDiapers, and then on DiaperMates, and other AB/DL sites, and there are some amazingly beautiful people here, but it's so hard to tell because their photos are so poorly shot. :( Most of this is because most of them are selfies, and are taken with a smart phone and a mirror.) I know that we all would love to see some high quality photographs, and not something shot into a mirror. So, this is for all of you who want to do a better job with your pictures.

So, there are a few ways to get a better photograph of yourself. Since I don't own an iPhone, I can't speak to the applications for that phone, so I'll use an Android phone for now.

Besides the stock Camera application that comes with the Android, there are a variety of Free and Pay For apps you can use. Check each one out to find out what works best for you. The things that I am looking for, first, are a Self-Timer, and secondly, a Flash capability. An editor capability is great, but I'll also do a stand alone editor as well.

Some of the other features available on Smartphone Camera Apps are the ability to manually make changes to exposure, shutter, ISO, Exposure Bracketing and HDR, Night shooting, Video and Panorama shooting.

For Android, I use an application called 'A Better Camera.' It gives me everything I've said above, and also you can download the optional, Free Editor and Effects plug in for it, as well. There is an 'unlocked' version for $4USD. I don't use that.

The next thing is, most of us are not going to use the smaller camera that's screen side, we're going to use the camera on the back, so that means we can't really see where we're aiming. It also means that we need to hold the camera at arm's length, which puts a long arm in your photos, OR, you're taking a picture in a mirror. Neither are flattering.

Hence, get your self a small tripod kit for a smartphone. Now, I'm not endorsing any particular product when it comes to tripods, but what I'm talking about is something like this:


This tripod allows you to mount your smartphone, via the included adapter, and set it to shoot horizontally or vertically. Once you figure out where YOU are going to be standing, sitting, laying down, or whatever, you can start to shoot your photos.

This is where the self-timer comes in. In the "A Better Camera" app, the self timer can be set for 3, 5, 10, 15, 30 or 60 seconds. That will give you plenty of time to start the self timer, and then move to where you want to be photographed. You can also set the camera to do 'Exposure Bracketing. What that means is the camera will take three images, one at which it considers to be 'just right' and then one that's less light, and one that's more light, and let you choose. You can also do HDR, or High Dynamic Range, and what that does is to take three photos, kind of like the Exposure Bracketing, except it combines them all together (so, you need to sit still)

Once you get an Editor, you can edit your photos in your phone, instead of moving them to your computer. You can even download a Free version of Photoshop of Android, to give you the basic, core features of Photoshop on your phone. You can also spend a bit more, $10, for Photoshop Touch, which is for tablets.

Finally, you can use a REAL camera, or something close to a real camera. Sony has been offering for a couple of years now cameras that connect via WiFi or NFC to Smartphones. This gives you control over the camera from the phone. Now, Canon and Nikon have these sort of features, too, but they're for their Digital SLR cameras, the expensive ones. Sony, on the other hand, is going after the Under $200 market. So, if you're looking for an all around camera, Sony has two or three that I'd recommend to you.


The DSC-WX220 is the bottom of the line, with an 18.2MP sensor, and a ten times zoom. It has a standard view screen on the back, but the nice thing is about this camera, all of the ones I'm showing you here, is that you can see the image on your smartphone before you take the photo. Using the included software application, you can control many of the functions of the camera, like the ISO, Exposure Setting, Zoom, Self Timer and more from your smartphone. It also transmits a image to your phone so you can see it, to see if it's what you want. The camera itself has a SD card, which can be loaded to your computer for full image size editing, if you want

The Sony camera that *I* have for this application is wonderful. It fits in my pants pocket, and I don't worry about it breaking.


That is basically the same camera as above, only it doesn't have the screen and isn't as large. This little QX-10 is a ten times zoom, video camera that actually attaches TO your smartphone, but you can also separate them and stick the camera behind something and look on the smartphone to see what the camera sees. Great idea for shooting your pets when you don't want them to see you, or your AB when they're sleeping.

The ideas here run from just free applications for your smart phone, to a couple of hundred dollars for hardware. The Sony QX-10 is also available used on ebay, from about $100 on up. Definitely worth considering if you want high quality photos. The only thing is the QX10 does not have a built in flash, but the WX220 does. That doesn't worry me, since I have other cameras for photography, but if this is going to be your only camera, get the WX220.

Camera Settings.

I’ve been into photography for years, and I’ve learned a lot of things, and have seen cameras with great features on it, but I am amazed at what ‘A Better Camera’ can do on my Samsung Galaxy. As I stated earlier, I don’t own an iPhone, but there are several free and pay for apps in the iStore. While the features may not be the same, the basic foundation of what I’m going to share with you is the same, and applies to selfies of your AB side to share here, or party photos with your friends when you’re out having some adult fun, or those spur of the moment vacation photos when you don’t have time to dig out your camera.

The Exposure Triangle

Photographers talk about the ‘Exposure Triangle’ and how it is used for the best photos. The triangle has three points, shutter speed, aperture of the lens and ISO, or ‘Speed.’ Each of these points will effect the other two points and all have an outcome on what your photo will look like. I want to start with ISO. ISO comes from the days of film, and what we called ‘Film Speed.’ The slower, or lower the number, the more light you needed. Sometimes, it was called ‘Daylight’ film, since you needed to shoot in full daylight to get the proper exposure. The higher the number, the ‘faster’ the film and the need to progressively less light. The same applies to camera sensors today, except that we can change the ISO setting from one image to the next, something not possible on film.

The drawbacks: Well, if higher ISO is so good that It allows you to shoot in lower light, why isn’t everything in high ISO? Obviously, there’s a catch, and there is. It’s called ‘noise.’ In film, we called it ‘grain’, and the faster the film, the more grain you saw in the photograph, and the more you enlarged it, the more grain you saw. With a digital sensor, you’ll see patterns of red, blue and green dots, very tiny, but if you enlarge the photograph, they become more evident. This is noise that is created when the sensor has to work harder to bring out the colors. So, this noise reduces the quality of the image. The basic camera applications will give you Auto ISO, and maybe some manual control, between ISO 100 and 1600. The higher the ISO number, the more noise. I’d recommend staying under ISO 400, if you can.

Next come Shutter Speed. The longer the shutter is open to expose the sensor, the more light will come in. This is good, because the more light you can allow in, the lower you can make your ISO. The bad news is that just about anything slower than 1/60th of a second is going to cause motion blur. Motion blur is something that happens when the shutter of a camera is open for a longer period of time, and there is movement in what is being photographed. In some cases, this can be used to good effect. For example, water flowing down a river and over the rocks is turned into a wall of white, whereas a faster shutter speed may capture a single drop of water flying through the air. But, the use of a tripod is required. Using a slower shutter speed for self portraits, or any kind of portraits isn’t really a viable option. The more light you have, the faster your shutter speed can be, and the faster the shutter speed, your photos won’t be blurred from movement. So, lighting with extra lights is always a good thing, if you can do it.

The next point in the Exposure Triangle is Aperture. Aperture is the control of the iris inside of the lens, but most Smartphone cameras have a fixed aperture lens. I’ll discuss this for those of you who have a camera, and not a smart phone. Aperture numbers are actually a ratio of the diameter of the iris to the length of the lens. You’ll see lenses with a ‘F’ number of f/2.8, or f/1.4, or f/3.5. That represents the ‘focal ratio’ of the size of the iris at a given setting to the length of the lens. The smaller the number, i.e., f/1.4, the larger the opening, and the more light a given lens can take in. The larger the number, the smaller the iris, which allows you to take in less light. The more light you can take in, the faster your shutter speed can be, and the lower your ISO can be to give you the best photograph. But, again, there are some drawbacks, and again, this applies to the cameras and not so much the smartphones. There is something called ‘Depth of Field’ and that is the distance from the lens that is in focus. The larger the aperture, the smaller the Depth of Field is. Depending on the lens, you may have a depth of field that is just a few inches in depth at its widest aperture, or two or three feet at its widest aperture. The more you decrease the size of the aperture, the larger your depth of field is, which means the more of you that can be in focus. This particularly applies if you’re sitting down, or lying down and want your face to your toes in focus.

The drawback, of course, is that the smaller the aperture, the more light you need. So, you’ll have to have an awfully lot light, or a longer exposure, or a higher ISO to get the same exposure.

As you can see, each aspect of the Exposure Triangle will affect one, or both of the other aspects, and optimizing all three will bring you the best photograph.

My best recommendation is to play with your camera or your camera app in your smart phone to see exactly what can and can’t be done. Try lighting in different places at different times of the day to see what you have to do to bring out the best photo.

Don’t Rely on the Auto Settings!

One of the worst things that you can do is put the camera in Auto mode and shoot. While for everyday type of snap shots, it works okay, by making some minor adjustments, you can achieve so much more. For instance, if you’re in a dark(er) area and you don’t want to have to use a flash, increase your ISO to ISO 400 and see what happens.

Try changing the Exposure setting, if you have one. You usually will get +2/-2 range, and simply by setting it higher or lower, you can get lighter and darker photos.

Use the HDR setting for vibrant color, but you have to hold very still for all three photos that need to be taken. There’s also Dynamic Range Optimization in some applications.

Don’t be afraid to play around with the settings. There’s always a Restore to Default to get you back to where you were to begin with.

White Balance

Light comes in different flavors. What we call ‘White Light’ comes in different ‘colors’ or ‘temperatures’ of white. In the days of film, the actual film was optimized for a certain temperature of white. Daylight is 5500° Kelvin. Fluorescent and Incandescent are two different temperatures. So, what does this all mean? Ever see a photograph where the whites are more orange, or they’re green? The whole photo has an orange cast or a green cast to it? Those photographs were shot with either the wrong film, or the wrong white balance. Your camera usually will have an ‘Auto White Balance’ where it decides for you what the colors are supposed to be, but you can also adjust it to give you the best color reproduction based on your lighting. So, if you’re outdoors and it’s partly sunny and overcast, you can select a white balance for that. If you’re shooting where they use fluorescent lighting, you can adjust for that. It makes things easier later on down the line.


Even if you don’t get the exposure settings, the ISO settings or the White Balance correct the first time, you can do a lot of Editing of the photo to correct a lot of things. There are multiple editors out there that you can buy, or get for free, that will allow you to work on your photographs to make them better. You can crop, adjust exposure, highlights, hut, saturation, vibrancy, and even use a Curves control for each color. Plus, the nice thing is, you don’t have to save your edits, you can just toss them and start over!

Instead of getting into an editing tutorial, I’ll just tell you to go in and start playing with stuff, and have fun, you’ll learn along the way.

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Or you could use a bean bag or books to prop up your phone and place a mirror behind it so you can see the screen for getting into position. Phone on timer and Bob's your uncle.

Remote controls for DSLR cameras are wonderful for macro work so are well worth the investment and not just for selfies.

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Or you could use a bean bag or books to prop up your phone and place a mirror behind it so you can see the screen for getting into position. Phone on timer and Bob's your uncle.

Remote controls for DSLR cameras are wonderful for macro work so are well worth the investment and not just for selfies.

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Dubious, personally, photos of guys in diapers does very little for ME, but I know there are a lot of girls getting into the community, and I'd be willing to bet that some, not all, but some of them would like to see a good looking guy in his baby attire.

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I shoot on a DSLR too repetitivediaperwetter88, but I didn't bring it up as an option specifically because I figured GaryandJenny intended this thread to be for people who didn't have the money for such a camera or an interest to buy one. Oh, and I shoot with my settings in manual mode too. The only thing I usually leave on "auto" is the focus because the camera's autofocus normally does exactly what I need it too.

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On a related note, for those of you who post selfies here--are you concerned the pics might come up in a Google image search? That alone is why I'm reluctant to post an image of myself here, even though I'd really like to (if only so people can attach a face to the name).

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On a related note, for those of you who post selfies here--are you concerned the pics might come up in a Google image search? That alone is why I'm reluctant to post an image of myself here, even though I'd really like to (if only so people can attach a face to the name).

The only way google image search can find a picture is if someone inputs that picture to it, which if you only posted it here would mean they came here to see it. And if it is only here it can't find it anywhere else ;)

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On a related note, for those of you who post selfies here--are you concerned the pics might come up in a Google image search? That alone is why I'm reluctant to post an image of myself here, even though I'd really like to (if only so people can attach a face to the name).

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Gary, there are a few issues with me. First is that what my eye sees as focused usually isn't (manual SLR film cameras) and I can't see digital screens well enough to find focus with them. Second is that I have no sense of 'framing' a shot so that even if the subject looks good the total pic doesn't. I've tried the 'rule of thirds' and everything else- I have several pro and semi-pro photographer friends who've tried to help me for years. I appreciate your offer to help but don't bother; with cameras I am simply hopeless at applying knowledge and making it work. I can accept that. My 'artistic talents' lie in crafting things from solid objects- I can make or repair almost anything if I have the needed tools for doing it B) My avatar here was drawn by me in MS paint and it is probably the best "art" I've ever done. It took me several hours to get it where it is and it's not complicated at all :blush: I draw blueprints well but that is the tools doing the work, not me.

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Granted on the post a picture comment, but as I understand a simple search would only yield pictures that had I high hit/search rate and would show first...but hey...don't wanna hijack your thread buddy :P

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