Double Exposure Surreal Self Portrait Photography

Surreal Self Portrait Photography Ideas

Surreal Self Portrait Photography Ideas

Surreal self portrait photography is a great way to explore your photo skills. I personally have learned so much from over the past years from lighting to staging to editing and posing, which I use in all aspects in photography. Taking self portraits and compositing those into different scenarios gives you so much freedom when it comes to expressing yourself and your ideas. Here are some of my tips I’ve found super useful with my own work, but first let’s get a little background in this type of photography.

Surreal self portrait photography of book and book pages creative photo ideas

What is Surreal Self Portrait Photography?

This is a type of self portrait photography with a mix of surrealism, which can be added through photo editing or creatively done in your shot. One of my favorite surreal portraits is of Salvidor Dali by Phillip Halsman. The beauty in this picture is that everything is done in camera, meaning that there was no post production in order to manipulate the final image. This just shows that creativity is more important than software no how (although both is quite a weapon).

surreal self portrait photography idea of being trapped in the woods

Seeing Double

Who does not want to see two, three, 10, 100 of you and your pretty self? Adding multiple ‘yous’ in a scene is one of the first surreal self portraits I did. This is a fun project. For this pretty much all you need is a camera, a tripod, a space and well you! A simple idea to get you started with is to just start to mess around with different poses. Set up your tripod and begin to take pictures of you in different poses. Once you have a few that you like, stack them into your photo editing software and cut your self out of each image. The final image will give you a surreal self portrait.

For this image I walked into my woods and took two photos, one where I was hugging a tree and one where I felt like I was being squeezed. I used the above technique of cutting myself out and overlapped them into one final image.

Surreal Music Self Portrait Ideas for Beginner Photographers

Explore Your Interests

When in doubt explore themes that you already love. I have always had a passion for music (listening and playing) and when brainstorming possible photography ideas, I decided to mess around with pieces in my room that I already had. This may be one of the easiest and satisfying ways to explore surreal self portrait photography. Take a second and look around your room, house, your garage, and find a few pieces that mean something to you. Now think about how they make you feel, how one may use it, or how one should not use it. Above is an example of a surreal music photography photo that I took with objects in my room.

Double Exposure Self Portraits

Double exposure self portraits is one of my favorite types of portrait photography. It is probably the easiest of them all as well. The double exposure or multiple exposure technique is one of the oldest effect that was used in photography. Basically it is exactly what it sounds like. A double exposure is combining two images (exposures) on a single image. In film cameras, one would take a photograph, in most cases a portrait. Then you would rewind the film and take another image, of a landscape, nature or cityscape which would be taken on top of the original image.

For digital images like the piece below, I overlaid a self portrait and a landscape photo I took in photoshop. I then played with the opacity & blend mode in order to obtain a final image I love.

Useful Tips

  • Sketch out some ideas first. Brainstorming is an extremely helpful way to think outside of the box.
  • Tripods are extremely helpful with creating a photo stack along with a remote timer. (You can also use the 10 second shutter that is already on your camera as well)
  • Try different poses, different objects, and different backdrops. (I often find that the idea I first imagined in my head is now how the final image ended up)
  • There is no right or wrong way. Have fun and keep pushing yourself to new ways of thinking and expressing yourself.

I would love to see some of your favorite creative self portraits! Post them with a link below!

millennium park Bean chicago engagement photography location in winter photoshoot ideas

10 Best Places for Engagement Photos in Chicago

millennium park Bean chicago engagement photography location in winter photoshoot ideas

10 Best Places for Engagement Photos in Chicago

It has finally happened, you are choosing engagement photo locations in Chicago. You and your fiancé are engaged and it is time to commemorate this memorable occasion with romantic engagement photos. The question is, where fo you begin? While scouring the internet for Chicago engagement photos, I am sure that you have come across some amazing photo locations. You have found countless couple poses and maybe a few cheesy photoshoots along the way. This can easily come as a challenge especially when you are searching for engagement photos that are truly yours. Thankfully, I compiled a list of the best places for engagement photos in Chicago.

Amy and Kyle Couple Engagement Photography Session at the BP Bridge in Millennium Park

Where to take Engagement Photos in Chicago?

Location. Location. Location. Whether you and your significant other are avid Chicago explorers, or enjoy a night of Netflix and chill, Chicago has everything you need for making your engagement photos unique. Here are some things you should take into consideration when choosing your photoshoot location.

Chicago Engagement Photography Locations Uptown Theatre Neighborhood

Your Favorite Chicago Spot

Do you have a favorite brewery where you meet for trivia night, a go-to-coffee shop that you visit so often, you should probably just work there, or your must have Chicago pizza parlor which you will argue as being the best place in the city for a slice of za? Personal spots like these are my favorite places to draw inspiration at. These are not only intimate places for a beautiful photoshoot but they are a unique locations that have a special place in your heart.

Where was Your First Date?

Relive the magic that first brought you two together. This location can be an amazing place to start. Whether it is just for a few photos for yourself, you can’t help but to feel all of the feels here.

BP Bridge millennium park chicago engagement photography

What is Your Lifestyle

Lifestyle photography is just how it sounds. What makes it so beautiful is that it is your life. My favorite engagement photo locations in Chicago are those that reflect you and your partner’s personal life. Whether you two love to sit and listen to music, dance the night away, go hiking in the woods, or enjoy taking in the city views as you walk your puppy throughout Chicago, lifestyle photos are the best ways to make your engagement pictures truly yours.

Best Chicago Locations

Now that you have an idea of what you are looking for I created a list of the top 10 Best free places to take engagement photos in Chicago. Drum roll please…

millennium park Jay Pritzker Music Pavilionchicago engagement photography

Millennium Park

201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602 Designed by Frank Gehry
If you are familiar with downtown Chicago, then you know what an beautiful place Millennium Park is for engagement pictures.  Everywhere you look there is an amazing photo opportunity. With the gorgeous Lurie Gardens, unique Crown Fountain, the iconic Chicago Bean reflecting the city skyline and lovely Jay Pritzker Music Pavilion, Millennium Park will offer an unforgettable engagement photoshoot experience. Just incase you wanted a little bit more, take a stroll across the BP Pedestrian Bridge and make your way over to Maggie Daley Park. This location has it all.

Chicago CTA Couple Engagement Photography

CTA Station

The Chicago CTA is a staple in this city. It is a part of everyone’s life and is the glue that connects the plethora of neighborhoods together. This may not be on every couple’s engagement location list but it offers a wonderful chance for those personal, everyday photos. From waiting for a train with your partner or snuggling up with each other inside of the train, the CTA is a perfect place to capture those small moments together.

Chicago Theatre Sign Engagement Photography

Chicago Theatre Sign

175 N State St, Chicago, IL 60601
Designed in 1921 on the historic State Street, the Chicago Theatre sign is one of the only locations in the city that can be said to truly define Chicago. If you are taking engagement pictures at the Riverwalk, Millennium Park or any where in the city Loop, this photo spot is a must do destination for your photoshoot. 

Beautiful Couple Starting to Kiss Romantic The Art Institute of Chicago South Garden Engagement Picture Locations and White Clothing

Art Institute South Gardens

111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603
Just a block away from Millennium park sits the renowned Art Institute of Chicago. It is a beautiful classical Beaux-Arts building which is guarded by 2 large green lions, and carries the fond memory of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. But what makes the Art Institute of Chicago such a great engagement location is the south garden designed by Dan Kiley. This hidden oasis, which key features include rows of trees, ivy grown walls and a large fountain makes this location a beautifully intimate spot for your engagement photos.

Chicago Skyline Backdrop at Fullerton Beach Engagement Pictures Best Locations for Your Photography Photoshoot

Fullerton Beach

With over 18 miles of Lakefront, there’s no wonder why Chicago has some of the best beaches in the country. Fullerton Beach has always had a special place in my heart as it is the location that I saw my first sunrise in Chicago. Located just east of Lincoln Park Zoo, it has a beautiful stretch of beach front for your photos as well as an amazing view of the skyline making this a must do location for your engagement photos.

Chicago Street Murals Engagement Photography

Chicago Street Murals

Chicago is not only an architecture mecca, it is the home of some of the best mural and street artists in the world. From Eduardo Kobra to Sentrock to JC Rivera to Hebru Brantley, the streets of Chicago has some of the most inspiring and jaw dropping pieces of art on it’s walls. No matter what neighborhood you find yourself taking your engagement photos in, there will be a unique and colorful backdrop that will make your pictures truly stand out.

Best Chicago Engagement Photo Locations Lincoln Park Pavilion by Studio Gang Architects Beautiful City Skyline for your Couple Photoshoot Photography

Lincoln Park Zoo Pavilion

2121 N Stockton Dr, Chicago, IL 60614
The Lincoln Park Pavilion is one of my favorite photo locations in Chicago. I might be biased since I am an architecture buff, but this intricate wooden pavilion located just south of Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo offers a perfect frame of the city’s skyline. Designed by Studio Gang architects, you have countless opportunities to capture some fantastic engagement photos here.

Engagement Places for your Photoshoot Chicago Skyline at Sunset Couple Photography at the Lakefront of the Alder Planetarium photoshoot

The Alder Planetarium

1300 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
If you are taking engagement pictures in Chicago, then a skyline shot is a must. There is place better than the lakefront outside of the Alder Planetarium to capture the whole Chicago skyline. My favorite time to capture these shots would be an hour or so before the sunset which will give you some of the most magical shots of the city.

Chicago Engagement Photography

Chicago Riverwalk

If you live in Chicago or even just visited there’s a high chance that you have walked along the river on the Chicago Riverwalk. Over the years it has been transformed and renovated, making it a beautiful location for not only your engagement photos but to relax and enjoy a drink with your significant other. There are a lot of unique photo spots along the riverwalk, so I would just have fun and enjoy the views. 

Engagement Spots for your Pictures Chicago North Coast Skyline Couple Photography at the Lakefront of the Milton Lee Olive Park Overlook photoshoot

Milton Lee Olive Park Waterfront

E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611
This is one of my favorite hidden gems in Chicago. Just north of Navy Pier and East of Ohio Street Beach sits a little strip of land that offers some of the best views of the Chicago’s North coast skyline. There is a lot of opportunity here, from capturing lifestyle walking photos to getting beautiful couple photographs at the overlook, Milton Lee Olive Park is a perfect place for your engagement photos.

Amy and Kyle Couple Engagement Photography Session at a Chicago Pizza Parlor Location

Just Be Yourself

Chicago is a photographer’s playground. No matter where you choose for your engagement pictures, you can not go wrong with any place on this list. My advice is to not overthink it. Find a location that means something to the both of you. The key to great engagement photography is for the couple to feel comfortable in being themselves. This is a magical point of time in both of your lives and you have to enjoy it. 

Looking for a Chicago engagement photographer? Let’s work together!  Contact me here

And so the adventure begins surreal fine art concept photography with an old type writer on a rustic table setting with a globe, travel passport, vintage camera and a morning coffee

Escaping Your Comfort Zone

Escaping Your Comfort Zone


This artwork was a concept piece I worked on about escaping your comfort zone.

I was in a rut. Days ran into days which felt like an endless stream and it felt easier to let the current carry me away rather than to fight against it. This is a comforting feeling, you feel safe. While at the same time, it’s easy to lose track of time and stray far away from where you once intended to be.

We all have been in a place in which comfortability has played a circumscribing factor in our life. We think of all the things we want to do, envision a future self we want to be and imagine a place where we want to wake up in but we quickly push it aside in the someday endeavor category in our head. There it sits, boxed up in our attic saved for later. We continue with our life waking up, going through the motion, hurry back home, rinse, sleep and repeat.

Those future endeavors, those dreams and ideas we once painted for ourselves remain a faint outline. They become ever more hazy, slowly feeling less attainable as time passes by. It seems like we fell asleep on the river of life and have drifted too far away to know the way back.

How do you fight against the current? What is the life preserver you strive for to get you back on your feet? I’ve always thought the answer to this was happiness. And it’s true in a way but something I read that stuck with me is that ‘Happiness can be bought with a bottle of wine and has become ambiguous through overuse’. So what is objective then? What’s the goal?

And so the adventure begins surreal fine art concept photography with an old type writer on a rustic table setting with a globe, travel passport, vintage camera and a morning coffee

Finding Excitement.

Finding excitement in life is the driving factor in motivation. It’s the very aspect that pushes you to learn, to act. It incites passion and is the spark to igniting your mental bliss. I started to write ‘don’t be afraid to try something new’ but that’s honestly not honest. It’s a terrifying feeling. Exiting the familiarity of life is scary as hell but that’s also what makes it so, so exciting. 

Tim Ferris wrote in his book The 4-Hour Workweek “‘Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. If it’s important to you and you want to do it ‘eventually,’ just do it and correct along the way.”

I feel fear is the biggest denominator in whether you act on something that you truly want to do. Comfortability is so attractive due to its certainty while excitement has become a sort of ‘risk’. It’s uncertain and not a lot of people feel comfortable with not knowing what’s next. But it’s the very reason why we watch tv shows & movies, why we read books or watch sporting events. Not knowing is a little exciting. No it’s down right exhilarating.

Whether it’s in your job, your relationships or your personal life, find something that constantly forces you to step away from your comfort zone. Find something that forces you to see the world in a different way. Find something that makes you ask questions. Find something that makes you smile with anticipation. Even if it’s small, find something that excites you.

And so the adventure begins…

If you like this, click to see more from my surreal photography gallery

Dream Often Graphic Writing at the Lincoln Park Conservatory Chicago Photography

A Walk in Chicago’s Lincoln Park Conservatory

Photographing the ancient ferns at the Lincoln Park Conservatory in Chicago Illinois

A Walk in Chicago’s Lincoln Park Conservatory

Sometimes you just need to go for a walk and think. I did. I surrounded myself with the wildness of the Lincoln Park Conservatory in Chicago, a small nature filled arena encapsulated in a city of architecture and density. Walking through the doors, I was quickly hit with a wave of humidity. Quite the contrast to the winter weather outside, my lens instinctively began to fog up. I began wiping the sweat off of my lens but to hardly any prevail. Nonetheless, the mixture of light and a thin layer of cloudiness gave a magical effect that I didn’t find out until I got home. Stay wild.

These photographs and words below coincide with each other. Although they may be diverse visually and linguistically, they are all tied together by the same string.


Not everyday is created equal.

There are days you cannot be stopped
And days which require more strength to get through.

There are days that are filled with brightness which cast a light
those that are engulfed in darkness.

Not everyday is created equal.

I enjoy the days where I’m all alone in the middle of I don’t know where
as much as I relish the ones where I’m surrounded by a school strangers in
Millennium Park on a Sunday afternoon.

I find peace in those deep breathes in.
And cannot live without those days that leave you breathless.

Not everyday is created equal.

There’s apprehension that builds up with a lost of control
And a beauty rises in being lost.

Soak in the highs
And understand the lows

Appreciate not knowing.

because

Not everyday is created equal.

Chicago Garfield Park Conservatory

Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory

Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory

Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory is an oasis tucked in the urban sheets of the city. After a pretty grueling winter, walking through the front doors you will quickly understand why this conservatory is described as “landscape art under glass”. The air seemed a little bit fresher, the light beamed a tad brighter and my mind was happier. It was my first trip here this year, and it seemed like time stood still since my last. I curiously move through each of the 8 landscape gardens, eyes moving from one exotic species of plants to another. From beautiful flowers, to towering palm trees to tropical ponds and waterfalls, the Garfield Park Conservatory is 12 acres of nature that is filled with life in Chicago.

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Macro Photography

Macro photography, or photos in general, has never been my first intention in coming here but I have always found sort or therapeutic. I see, react and just allow myself to lose myself in it. But more importantly, it forces me to enjoy each moment; The way a petal is slowly curved up, the way the rays of the sun passes through the leaves, or the way the light accentuates the colors in flowers, photography forces me to focus on the simpleness of life.

Fun Facts

  • 2.1 k plant species in growing in 8 indoor show houses and 10 outdoor acres
  • 245, 242 visitors enjoyed the conservatory in 2018
  • 28 exhibits and displays open to the public
  • It’s free
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Chicago Live Concert Photography

Chicago Live Concert Photography

Chicago Live Concert Photography

The only better feeling than being at a live concert in Chicago is being able to capture each note in a photograph. Although I have been photographing music and musicians for quite a few years, each concert still feels like the first. I see it in my photographs; my mindset seems to change. Pictures become more about energy, light becomes a backdrop, and the noise is as prevalent in each image as it was in person. There is a sense of freedom with each click because it is not about shooting a gig or taking pictures for a client, this is about the love of music and being able to share that with others. Here are a few shots from my latest live concert.

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If you like this, you will love Scott Stapp Concert Photography

If you’re interested in a concert or music photographer contact me here

Chicago Sunrise Photography

First Light A Chicago Sunrise

‘Twas the morning before Christmas and all through Chicago, the lakefront was silent apart from the waves below. (I know, I know, I’m quite the gifted wordsmith.)

My eyes slowly opened to the alarm I instantly regretted setting just a few hours ago. It was Christmas Eve morning but the view outside of my window begged to differ. I hazily grabbed my camera bag and stumbled out of my apartment which was still enclosed in the shade of night. Like the every previous time I chased the sunrise, the first 10 minutes being awake I contemplated turning around to the dream of falling back into the comfort of my own bed but how many moments worth remembering started off like that? (rhetorical question…I’m sure many.) Shaking out the cobwebs, I pressed on to my favorite place to watch the sunrise on the lakefront.

It’s always that moment just before the sun rises above the horizon, where the warming hues spill its way through the sky that keeps me forever in awe. Seeing how beautiful the start of a day can be seemed like a fitting way to end off the year. It’s like they say what feels like an end is often a new beginning.

Where to can you watch the sunrise? Click Here to see my favorite Chicago Spots

If you like this, you will love 360 Chicago Sunrise

Chicago Concert and Music Photography

Scott Stapp Concert Photography

Scott Stapp Concert Photography

I watched the drops of rain dance off the puddles on the ground, as I walked into the historic Arcadia Theatre in St. Charles west of Chicago. It’s my favorite kind of night, a night packed with live music. These days I find solace at concerts, a sort of palladium to the outside world and the feelings tonight were no different.

It seems a little surreal that I opened up an email asking me to shoot concert photography for Scott Stapp of Creed. I feel like it was yesterday I was watching his band’s music videos, and hearing his voice all over the radio. I was excited, anxious and a little nervous but all of those feelings quickly dissipated, as the lights faded, the theatre went black and the first chord of the guitar ranged through the crowd like a ripple in water. I lifted up my camera and snapped my first picture.

 

If you like this, you will love A Night of Live Music

Chicago Fall Photography

Fall in Chicago

Fall Chicago Photography

For a brief period in time, nature and Chicago becomes in accordance with each other. Bright reds, yellows and orange strewn with life throughout the city; a blanket trying to warm the life of the city as the temperatures begin to lower.

It’s beautiful.

Chicago goes through a momentary identity change as the trees begin breathing life into the architecture. Fall is my favorite time of year. It reminds me of how captivating change can be but also how delicate and short it can be as well.

This year I feel like I took it for granted. At the first change of color, I told myself that I would be out enjoying it behind my camera. But one busy weekend after the next, time quickly passed and I felt like I missed one of the most magical times in Chicago. I knew I had to make my way to see the remnants of the passing season. On a Saturday morning in November, I walked and walked throughout the city seeing familiar scenes in a new way.

Here are a few snapshots from a brief period of time I thought I missed.

If you like this, you might like 360 Chicago Sunrise

360 Chicago Sunrise Photography

360 Chicago Sunrise pt. II