A 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 –


  1. 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… : )


    • 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!)


  2. 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!


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