Embracing Imperfection in Photography

Embracing Imperfection in Photography
The final result from my self-portrait demo at the Elena S Blair Mastermind Retreat in Brooklyn, NY 2024

The Art of Illusion and Imperfection in Self-Portraiture

Embracing imperfection in photography isn’t just about accepting flaws—it opens the door to limitless creativity, finding beauty in unexpected places, and sharing stories that resonate deeply with authenticity. I recently stepped into a new role as a speaker at the Elena S Blair Mastermind Retreat in Brooklyn, NY. It was my debut presentation in front of an audience of 78 people, and admittedly, the prospect had me shaking in my boots. That morning, nerves took hold, and I found myself overwhelmed with anxiety, shedding tears in the shower.

Yet, when I stepped onto that stage and started sharing my passion for the transformative power of self-portraits—highlighting techniques and demonstrated a live self-portrait with my Lensbaby Velvet 56—the fear gradually faded into excitement. Speaking to an engaged audience about how self-portraiture can redefine our perception of self and creativity turned out to be not just exhilarating but also immensely fulfilling. This experience has not only bolstered my confidence but has sparked a new eagerness in me to repeat this experience, continuing to share and inspire others.

Thanks to the generous sponsorships from Miller’s Lab and Lensbaby, I was able to showcase a unique technique: photographing through a sheet of bubble wrap. This method plays a visual trick on the eye, creating ambiguity and adding a layer of mystique to the portrait. The bubble wrap distorts and enriches the image, introducing a dreamlike quality that stands at the intersection of reality and imagination.

This technique is a perfect metaphor for embracing imperfection. The bubble wrap, a simple yet unconventional tool, transforms perceived flaws into artistic strengths, showcasing how beauty and intrigue can emerge from the unexpected.

Video taken by @brookehollidayphoto at the Elena S Blair Mastermind Retreat in Brooklyn, NY 2024

Embracing Imperfection in Photography

As photographers, embracing imperfection allows us to explore creativity without boundaries, see beauty in the unusual, and tell authentic stories. This approach encourages us to use unique materials and techniques to enhance our photography. Have you ever used unconventional tools in your work? Incorporating objects like prisms, fairy lights, or even household items can add unexpected elements to your photos. For example, shooting through a glass of water can create intriguing distortions, and using a simple piece of colored plastic can tint your images in magical ways.

By experimenting with different tools and techniques, we break free from traditional constraints and discover new facets of our creativity. Share your most inventive shots with me or let me know if this inspires you to experiment! Embrace the unexpected, and let’s see where it takes us.

👀✨Intrigued by the idea of transforming your photography skills and embracing imperfection? Join my Self-Portrait Masterclass on creative self-portraiture! Together, we’ll explore how to turn your unique stories and visions into captivating images.

Techniques for Embracing Imperfection

  • Use Creative Materials: Experiment with everyday items like bubble wrap, glass, or even water droplets to create unique effects.
Embracing Imperfection in Photography
Nikon D5100, Lensbaby Velvet 56 / f1.6, 1/125, ISO 200 . Shot through a clear umbrella with water droplets sprayed on it.
  • Play with Shadows: Utilize window blinds, foliage, or patterned fabrics to cast interesting shadows on your subject.
Embracing Imperfection in Photography
Tamron SP 35mm 1.4, f2.2, 1/500, ISO 100. Taken using shadows coming inside from pergola outside; fog added in post for effect
  • Experiment with Focus: Try deliberately blurring parts of your image to draw attention to other areas, creating a sense of depth and focus.
Embracing Imperfection in Photography
Lensbaby Sweet 35 f2.5, 1/200, ISO 2000. This Sweet 35 gives the blurring effect to the surrounding areas that are in focus.

Special Thanks

Special thanks to Miller’s Lab and Lensbaby for their support. Their contributions made this experience even more enriching and allowed me to share these unique techniques with all of you.


Stepping out of my comfort zone to speak at the retreat was a transformative experience. It reminded me of the power of embracing imperfections and using them to create something beautiful and authentic. Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or just starting, I encourage you to experiment and push the boundaries of your creativity.

This summer, take some time out for yourself & dive into the art of self-portraiture with my 4-week Self-Portrait Masterclass!

Learn to overcome limiting beliefs, embrace authenticity, & capture your true essence.

Enrollment ends on 7/11/24; class begins on 7/12/24.

Treat yourself to a creative journey this season! 📸

👉 Learn More & Sign Up

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