Almost anyone who has a Flickr, MySpace, Xanga, or other similar account has at least one self portrait. Why do people do self portraits? Some are narcissistic, others had no model, and others where plane ‘ol board. Whatever the reason self portraiture has a element of experimentation.
If you go through the streams of many users on Flickr who have a lot of self portraits you’ll see exponential improvement. And even among those users have hit “perfection” in their self portraits you’ll still see that there styles have evolved.
Many start with taking a picture of themselves in a mirror. While I’ve seen some really nice shots, the lighting in a bathroom is often times dim, and the mirror tends to distort the image. So what’s the next step, why not hand held shots? Hand held shots always produce something unique. Once you capture a certain angle you may not be able to get it again. And their easy to take.
A tripod and self timer on the camerae really allow you to experiment. You have ten seconds to pose, and the final image can look like you where working with a model. Even if you don’t have a tripod you could use a bed, dresser or other raised surface to replace a tripod.
A non cluttered background also helps to make your self portraits better. Sometimes you can use a plain white wall, curtains or other surface as the background. Other times a bed sheet will work will. You can hang it on curtain rod, use closepins to pin it to a to some other surface like a shelf or closet door.
Experimentation is the most important part of photography. Your audience wants to see something different, not the same old rehashed thing.