I follow many photographers, and photography pages, all over the internet. I am a fan of photography! I love looking at other photographer's work, and marveling at the perfect compositions, the gorgeous light, the processing, all of it. Mostly, I love learning from people who also love the art and science of photography as much as I do.
One of my favorites is http://photorec.tv - known around the internet as PhotoRec Toby. Toby, and his fantastically talented partner, Christina (http://christinabernales.com/) offer great advice on gear and techniques, give helpful photo critiques, and are always ready with an encouraging word. They also put out a live video podcast every week on YouTube, which is a lot of fun, especially if you're able to participate in the live chat that is hosted on YouTube at the same time.
Every week, they issue a photography challenge for Instagram users. Both Toby and Christina choose a winner (2 winners total), and 2, or sometimes 3, honorable mentions. It's fun, and it's a great creative exercise - thinking about the challenge theme, how to compose the shot for the square format, telling your story, editing, executing, all of it. It can also be very, very challenging!
Recently, the theme was "portraits." As you well know, I am a portrait photographer, so I immediately started going through all of my portraits, and then started thinking of new portraits to take, and eventually I came to the conclusion that what I needed to do was take a self-portrait. You know, like a selfie, but the hard way - because why take the easy route when you can give yourself a migraine taking the single most complicated route available? HAHA!
After A LOT of trial and error, and trial and error, and trial and error, and more trial and error, I eventually got a shot I was okay with.
My photo wasn't chosen, but that's okay because I learned A LOT from the experience and it was fun trying different poses. Next time though, I'll get another photographer to make my portrait, because self-portraiture is hard!