As daunting as it can be to have to create a self-portrait every week, there is one big upside to this project: I’m not really accountable to anyone except myself. I don’t have to follow any of the rules of traditional portraiture. I’m not restricted by any guidelines whatsoever. It really is quite freeing!
As photographers, we are taught to not use this style of lighting (called broad lighting) in most cases. It tends to be less flattering, makes people look heavier, etc. Even though I set out to do a broad-lit portrait, about halfway through shooting I thought, “this might look better by switching back to a more traditional lighting setup.” I made the switch and it did look better – in most respects. Luckily, I came to my senses and reverted to the original plan. After all, the whole project is about branching out – so I had to proceed with the plan, regardless of the result.
I chose my favorite image and went to work with adjusting levels and playing with the tones a bit. I even spent a lot of time adding several scenic elements to the background – but as the portrait progressed in Photoshop, it became more and more focused and the background faded to almost black. I was glad I stuck with the original plan, because the final image is pretty much exactly what I had in mind – which is kind of a rare feat.