Layered Portrait Within a Portrait

A Portrait within a Portrait. I wish I could claim the idea as my own, but I have seen it done before. I just can’t find a link to show you!

The photos were pretty straight forward to take – bring a tall stool from the kitchen, stack a footstool on top of it, set the wooden clock on top of that and then sit the camera on the very top. (Think Yertle the Turtle, only my motivation was different.) Set the timer, press the button, pick up the picture frame, move into position. Click.

Repeat… many times. The photos weren’t as clear as I would have liked – too much wobble in the tower that held the camera.  A tripod would have worked better, I suppose, but I couldn’t find one.  I called in The Car Guy and got him to take a few of the photos, so I can’t claim that the entire project is a Self Portrait, I’m afraid!

Once the pictures were on my computer, I invoked the great and powerful Photoshop Elements and created five layers, one layer for each of the five photos I chose. I erased the pixels that were inside each of the five picture frames, then shrunk each successive photo to fit each frame.

Do you think you look the same in a photo as you do in your mirror? Could you live without ever looking at yourself? I tried going a whole day without looking in the mirror. Pretty easy, actually, because I don’t wear make-up. It was a bit hard to put in eye-drops, though. The Car Guy said that shaving would be a bit dodgy without a mirror.

You will regret that cell-phone self-portrait in the bathroom mirror one day.
– Unknown Author –

A portrait is a painting with something wrong with the mouth.
– John Singer Sargent –

51 thoughts on “Layered Portrait Within a Portrait

  1. It so creative to use the idea to make this remarkable photo! And, using the Photoshop to make 5 layers is not straight forward at all. How impressive!


    1. Hi Mags – With all the remarkable things you find, I would have thought you had come across one of these photos before. I sure wish I could find the photo I borrowed the idea from!


    1. Hi Pegoleg – It seems like the cameras in cell phones get better and better with each new model. I’ve seen some pretty good pictures that came from cell phones! Of course, the person in the photo was pretty photographic too…


  2. Nice job with PhotoShop. I think I recognize one of the ornaments in your tree, the white and red ball … or else it looks a lot like the one our folks had when we were kids.


    1. Hi JSD – I’ll watch your blog for your ‘picture in a picture’! Thanks for the ‘thumbs up’ on the white hair – it is a liberating hair colour!


  3. Fine work! I think you look more alive in any of these photos than on the photo at the top right of the blog (someone else took that, right?).
    I so don’t like someone taking pictures of me, but I recently realized I am all right with self portraits. I have taken only few and they aren’t all that good, but when the days get longer and warmer again, I’ll take some more. I feel I look more like myself in those – even in the bad ones.


  4. Nicely done. Very creative. You look great in them all.

    I could probably do without a mirror of late, because it doesn’t seem to capture the me I envision in my own mind. 🙂


    1. Thanks Phil – I think the me in my mind, and the one in slightly fuzzy photos, is the real me! I really don’t need a well lit mirror to remind me of my age!


  5. Cool. Cool. and more cool. And because bad photoshopped pictures are my signature piece, I’m a definite candidate for this exercise. Mine won’t look even half-way as good as yours but I’m sure will be hilarious…and you know how I like quirky.
    I’m curious…did you start replacing the tiniest photo first or the largest? Thanks for sharing this.


    1. Hi Barb – I opened the largest photo first. I cropped it to the size I wanted, then erased the pixels inside the picture frame. Then I imported the photo I wanted to put inside the largest picture frame. It became the second layer. I erased the pixels inside the picture frame of the second photo, then resized and moved it until it looked right inside the first frame. Then I did the same with all the rest of the photos, one layer at a time.


    1. Hi Lorna – We all have different interests and abilities, don’t we! I don’t take credit for being creative, but I do work hard at being a craftsman!


  6. Excellent! Your creative shotmaking and Photoshop prowess make you a formidable talent! Be careful about collaborating with The Car Guy, however, or you might wind up wearing a motorcycle helmet for your next portrait… : )


    1. Thanks Mark. I’m going to buy the newest version of Photoshop Elements. I think it will be a big help in organizing my growing collection of photos, (and finding all the ones of my head squashed into a helmet!)


  7. Now this is really cool and actually the first time I’ve seen it. I’ve just discovered this whole photo tutorial-like section of your blog and find it most exciting! I too use Elements, but haven’t gotten anywhere near this level yet! Am going to have fun with this!


    1. There are still so many things about Elements that I haven’t figured out how to do. Good luck with your picture in a picture!


There, I'm finished. Now it is your turn:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s