Self-Portrait Photography: the book!

My first commercial book, Self-Portrait Photography is now available to buy on Amazon UK and Amazon US. This blog post covers information about the book’s content and also about the book launch/signing I am having on 3rd March 2011 in London. See further below or go straight to Facebook to RSVP.

I have been working on this book for the past year, and the work within it is from the past 5 years of my self-portraiture. I am tremendously excited about this book, because of how much genuine quality content I believe it holds within its 176 pages. It is a book for aspiring photographers as much as it is a book about my own photography.

Above: the intro pages, click to view larger.

Chapter 1 covers an introduction to self-portraiture; its history in art, all about my own background, and the modern photo-sharing phenomenon. This was my opportunity do my own research about the background of self-portraiture through the ages, and to reflect on where we have arrived with regards to the self-portraiture artists create today, and the new media they use to share it.

Chapter 2 covers everything the aspiring artist/photographer needs to think about regarding equipment: what to consider when picking a camera, lenses, tripod, lighting, and other vital accessories for this genre of photography, like remote shutters.

Above: from the Shooting chapter (click to view larger)

Chapter 3 is all about shooting your own self-portraits: from choosing clothing, locations and props; how hair and make-up can affect a shoot; how you might plan a shot, using mirrors, how to pose, shooting nudes, shooting in low light, and using props to complement your images. All of these spreads are angled toward the self-portraitist’s needs and aims. There are also spreads detailing the artistic shooting process behind my pictures such as my series shot in Death Valley, and my images inspired by the painter Balthus.

Chapter 4 is all about the processing: the ‘how-to’, if you like, of a lot of effects seen in my work. First I discuss the place of modern manipulation and also talk about the technical side of shooting digital: the best ways of saving and storing your files. I then move through the world of post-editing from the basics, through to the advanced; from the staple tools in Photoshop right through to wild and otherworldly effects. I look at how colour and curves adjustments can make all the difference to an image, the different ways of converting an image to monochrome, and move onto using compositing to make fine detail-changes to a image. Then I break down the process to producing multiplicity or levitation images, citing the process of my popular image The smothering. If that weren’t enough for this chapter, I also throw in a spread all about HDR (high dynamic range) and how I’ve used it on my self-portraits taken in Abandoned places. Unlike any other book, I cover it from the self-portraitist’s angle. And that is not it…

Chapters 1 – 4 are already crammed full of images and info and inspiration and advice, but the last two chapters add massive additional value to the book!

Chapter 5 is where eight contributors, who are all self-portrait artists of different styles, nationalities, ages and backgrounds, share a written insight to their work that they have never shared anywhere else.

Cherry-picked for diversity, and yet all beholding something utterly mould-breaking in both art and photography scenes today, they all excel at what they do. There are four spreads (8 pages) dedicated to each artist. They are, from top left round, round clockwise:

Federico Erra

Yulia Gorodinski

Annette Pehrsson aka. ‘Welcome ghosts’

Joanne Ratkowski aka. ‘Dr Joanne’

Lucia Holm aka. ‘Miss Lulu and the Teaspoon Shortage’

Rossina Bossio

Noah Kalina

Jon Jacobsen

Each photographer talks about their background and how they got into self-portraiture, and about their artistic process to creating their work. They each discuss two images in detail, from conception to execution.

CHAPTER 6 is a textual reference guide, as full to the brim as I could make it (I literally had to slash it in half to cram it in, so you get a quality edit) all about the photographer marketing their work – most of these topics I have never covered before. Standing on the experience I have garnered over the past 5 years of being thrown in at the deep end with fine-art photography, and bolstered with research, I first talk about photo-sharing and how to use the internet as a tool to leverage a career in photography: going about getting a website, blog, and using social media to develop an online presence. I then discuss the all-important issue of photographers’ rights and how to deal with magazines, publicity opportunities and plagiarism. I move onto printing, exhibiting, self-publishing, and the decision of whether to sell stock photography. All of this is from my perspective as a fine-art photographer and from the angle of a self-portraitist, but this information can be useful to everyone who involves themselves in photography, even if you don’t plan to go pro – because through photo-sharing it is so likely to be handed a ‘pro’ opportunity that most people do not know how to deal with.

Above: full cover (UK version), click to view larger.

This book is jam-packed with information, tips, advice, inspiration – and tons of images. It is no ordinary photography manual; I feel it blurs the boundary between an art book and an instructional book, with a relatively small price tag.

SELF-PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY: The ultimate in personal expression. By Natalie Dybisz aka. Miss Aniela

For those in the UK (published by Ilex), see the book on Amazon UK here.

If you’re in the US, buy it on

On Thursday 3rd March 2011, 6pm – 9am, I am having a book launch/signing at:

32-34 Kingsland Road, Shoreditch
London E2 8DA
+44 (0) 20 7729 5830

Nearest tubes: Hoxton, Old Street, and Shoreditch High Street.

The book will be available for £20 (personally signed if you like). You can RSVP on Facebook here. Hope to see many of you there!

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Posted in Books, Inspirations - References to other artists on February 14th, 2011 | 23 Comments |

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Comments for “Self-Portrait Photography: the book!”

    1. Sarah
      1:49 pm on February 14th, 2011

      Congrats on your book Natalie!

    2. Bruce Barone
      2:04 pm on February 14th, 2011


      It looks beautiful–and very informative.

    3. J
      2:49 pm on February 14th, 2011

      Only 5 left in stock in at Amazon US when I put in my purchase 2 minutes ago.


    4. Tom M
      5:01 pm on February 14th, 2011

      Cool, it looks like Amazon U.S. is shipping two weeks ahead of schedule. That’s good news for impatient people like me.

    5. Nicola
      5:21 pm on February 14th, 2011

      Read it cover to cover already and it is absolutely one of the best books for aspiring photographers I have ever seen. You share information and advice very generously, and even though I thought I didn’t need the technical help, I have entirely reworked my filing and backup workflow since reading the book! Anyone who’s on the fence, you should definitely buy this book, you won’t regret it.

    6. Tweets that mention Self-Portrait Photography: the book! --
      6:33 pm on February 14th, 2011

      [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeffrey Totaro and markusarts, Miss_Aniela. Miss_Aniela said: Today I've announced my first commercial book, Self-Portrait Photography! See it here [...]

    7. Lainey1
      7:01 pm on February 14th, 2011

      It looks like an interesting book to read.

    8. Lloyd Spencer (Leeds)
      7:57 pm on February 14th, 2011

      So glad you did this. Well done. A wonderful effort… a great record of your creativity. A treasured memento.

    9. Lash LaRue
      8:48 pm on February 14th, 2011

      I got the same notice that Tom did — delightful.

    10. Rossina
      9:49 pm on February 14th, 2011

      Yaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyy! Can’t wait to see it!!!

    11. Juliet Greig
      10:03 pm on February 14th, 2011

      awesome, can’t wait to see it! Congratulations !!!!

    12. Jerry Boucher
      12:10 am on February 15th, 2011

      Mine shipped from Barnes and this afternoon. Should be here in a couple of days. Can’t wait to read it.

    13. Lash LaRue
      3:41 am on February 15th, 2011

      Great news!! Amazon just sent me an email that they had shipped the book and that I should get it on the 16th. …. May it be true.

    14. christian petersen
      9:00 pm on February 16th, 2011


      keep on trucking!

      love from chris

    15. Tom M
      1:04 am on February 17th, 2011

      Mine arrived today and I’ll start reading it tonight. Sold out at Amazon US and almost in UK. Better have the NY Times on standby, could be a best seller.

    16. Rarb
      4:52 am on February 19th, 2011

      Not just a great technical resource, but beautiful piece of art.

      Well done Natalie.

    17. Retreaded
      11:11 am on February 22nd, 2011

      [...] regarding my spontaneity as probably just a necessary facet of self-portraiture (my book Self-Portrait Photography professes to the haphazard nature of the genre and how all its 8 contributors have embraced it as [...]

    18. BrianMPhoto Guy
      12:51 am on February 27th, 2011

      Just picked one up at Barnes & Noble… AWESOME WORK! Love it!

    19. Jimstrummer
      2:20 pm on May 7th, 2011

      Just bought my copy at Waterstones. Loving the book – inspirational and educational. Congratulations. When’s the next one?

    20. Montse
      11:03 pm on July 29th, 2011

      I want the book,but is very expensive, for mexico when you buy it in amazon, well i have the money for the book , but when you send it to mexico there are like, 80 dolars more D: , i like to know if you put the book in other on-line store like and if it is, please let me know! i really want this book, congrats

    21. Paxton Hutchings
      8:00 am on January 15th, 2012

      Great, thanks for sharing this blog post.Thanks Again. Keep writing.

    22. Elijah
      7:07 am on March 15th, 2012

      Will there be an ibook or kindle version?

    23. New book: ‘Creative Portrait Photography’ now out!
      4:28 pm on May 24th, 2012

      [...] express interest in me doing a second book, back when I was signing the contract for the first one, Self-Portrait. The suggestion of having a longevity beyond the first book cast out fears that I was a [...]

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