How to Fake a Selfie

So I've needed a photo of myself for my website for a while now.  Like many photographers I spend much more time on the business end of a camera rather than in front of it.  I knew what I wanted – I've always liked Stanley Kubrick's self portrait that he took in his youth.  It has many of the features I like in my own black and white photography: dramatic lighting, deep blacks, a few highlights in the right places, shallow depth of field, and a bit of grain:

 Source: http://www.ananasamiami.com/2012/03/stanley-kubrick-self-portraits.html

Source: http://www.ananasamiami.com/2012/03/stanley-kubrick-self-portraits.html

I don't have a suitable mirror in a suitable place to try to make this shot the easy way, and I really don't like the idea of photographing myself in a mirror if I can avoid it.  I tried once before to get this shot of myself using my digital camera on a tripod, while holding a film camera.  It's a cumbersome process, mainly due to the shallow depth of field; a few inches one way or another can completely throw off the focus.

Thankfully, this time my wife was willing to help out, and the whole process took less than ten minutes.  After getting the right settings on my camera, I could pass it off to her to press the shutter.  I used a corner of our basement next to our laundry room.  I could get a nice sliver of light by turning on the laundry room light, and adjusting the folding door, or my position, to get the light to hit my face just right.

The next step was the editing.  After importing to Lightroom and making some minor adjustments there I opened it up in NIK Silverefex 2.0, which is one of the best programs out there for simulating black and white film.  I used the curves tool to bring up the whites, crush the blacks, and a few control points to darken my white walls and bring out the catch lights in my eyes.  The last step was to add some simulated film grain and, of course flip the photo horizontally, to give the impression it was taken in a mirror.  Final result:

An Asahi Pentax Spotmatic F stands in for a M39 screwmount Leica quite well.