Our little challenge made the news this week! UK news site The Metro and Dutch newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws both shared details of what we’ve been doing alongside some of the creations from the community. Big congratulations to those whose photos were featured. The creativity in all the responses continued to completely blow me away!

This week I’m challenging you to a bit of self portraiture – a scary one for many of us, I know!

But don’t panic – it’s entirely faceless and anonymous, as only your hands will be seen.

Still, hands can hint at an awful lot of the story we’re telling. Are they the hands of a child or a mature woman? Are the nails painted, bitten, lined with tiny half moons of soil? All of the things we tend to think of as flaws – the lines, blemishes, scars and creases – are the very thing that make hands such a compelling part of this scene.

The Challenge

Spend 15 minutes creating your own interpretation of the image above.
Use my scene as a template but make it fully your own. Can you retain the composition while telling a story that’s unique to you?

Step One:​
Find something living and hopeful to hold. Try to find a small sign of Spring, or – if you’re in the Southern hemisphere, or can’t go outside at all right now – something that represents hope to you. Perhaps you could make a paper flower, or write an optimistic quote on a slip of paper to hold.

Step Two:
​Consider your background. In this case, that’s your clothes. If we get this shot right, our outfit won’t be the focus of the shot, but the colours, shapes and patterns will still fill most of the screen. Choose your background intentionally with this in mind.

Step Three:
​Set up your camera. Your smartphone is fine: you’ll need to use the self timer mode (a built-in option with most phones) and prop it up at the appropriate height so you can stand with your hands at camera level. Some blue-tac or an empty water glass can help keep it steady, if you’re struggling!
Switch to using your front-facing camera, if you have one, to make it easier to set up your scene.

If you have it, switch to ‘Portrait’ mode to create the soft depth of field (where the background is blurry).

Step Four:
Snap away! Experiment with the positioning of your hands – outstretched close to the camera, and tucked in against your body. Which gives a better result? Try not to overly scrutinise the look of your hands. It’s a universal truth that everyone thinks their fingers look like sausages in photographs, but I promise you, nobody ever pauses to think it about anyone else.

Step Five:
Run your finished shot through your favourite editing software and then share! Tag me @me_and_orla and #15MinuteMagic on Instagram. As always, I’m sharing my faves throughout the week on my Stories and here on my blog.

Missed the previous challenges? Click here to see them all. You can do them any time!

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