When visiting new places with family and friends, it’s nice to get pictures of everyone in front of some stunning scenery or a famous landmark. In the olden days (and by this I mean probably three years ago), if you wanted the whole group to be in the snap, you’d grab a passer-by and hand them your camera. If they didn’t run off with it immediately, they’d take the snap for you.
First off, the use of cameras has changed. We’re now more likely to use a phone to take our snaps. They’re small, compact, and the quality of the cameras is getting better all the time.
They’re also very light, so it’s possible to get a picture of you and your loved one by just holding the camera at arm’s length. However, to get more people in the picture or for a wider frame, you need something more, you need a selfie stick.
Unfortunately, as with all new technology, everyone gets one, and all your friends dread when you offer to show them the holiday snaps on the TV. Oh no, more pictures of YOU. Tedious.
So how about you spruce those pictures up a bit with our tips that will make you a selfie master? Yes? Want to excite your friends rather than bore them? Read on, friend, and we’ll show you the way!
I’m a bit of a photographer myself, and I know too well the problems of finding a technique and over using it. We’ve had HDR (those hyper-coloured photos you see in American bars), bokeh (out of focus lights in the background) and tilt-shift (real landmarks made to look like models) and I’ll be honest, they’re over-used. If every photo in your collection follows the same pattern, everyone gets bored.
Even the dog will leave the room.
It’s the same with selfies. Some people only take them, and it’s just not fun to sit through an hour of photos which yes, contain beautiful landscapes but also have your grinning face on all of them.
If you’re after a spur of the moment photo then don’t obsess over this, but if you want keep your viewers happy, make sure the contents of the picture are worth looking at. If you’re part of a group, take a picture of them first. Also, take it in front of the landscape and make sure it looks OK and doesn’t have objects appearing out of people’s heads or elsewhere.
When you’re happy, get the stick out and take the selfie!
This is a brilliant photography tip, and if you can manage it when taking selfies, you’re bound to gain favour with your family and room-mates.
What you have to do is imagine your picture is split into three columns and three rows, and then try to get the main subject of the photo where these lines cross.
Figure 1 - Admittedly, you'd need a large selfie stick
This is fantastic for landscape photography, and it does add some dramatic effect to pictures. Of course, it can be hard to get right when waving a stick in front of you but practice makes perfect, and we have PhotoShop now and other photo editing apps on smart phones, like Snapseed, PhotoShop Express , PhotoShop Touch, VSCO Cam etc.!
This is easy, just tilt your phone and take the photo at an angle, you’d be amazed how it adds action to a pose. A lot of photographers use this technique when starting out.
Most sticks these days come with a Bluetooth remote. Phew! Sitting there waiting for the self-timer to fire means a lot of people will lose their pose. Plus your arm gets tired.
One of the best tips I ever heard when starting photography was “if in doubt, get closer”. Selfie sticks help here because, by their very nature, you’re going to be quite close to your face. Even so, some people extend them out and so the face is lost in the background.
Don’t be afraid! Get closer, it’ll make it more interesting. Unless, of course, you’re in front of the Grand Canyon. Trust me, people want to see the Grand Canyon, not you.
Don’t say ‘cheese’. Instead, pull a face so it looks like you’re overjoyed or a little annoyed or even concerned about the object behind you. Show some expression and feeling and get this into your photo. It’ll make trudging through the other thousands of pictures more worthwhile.
You could go for some of the current selfie trends such as Duck Face, Sparrow Face (a new trend that makes you look surprised) and frog face (sticking your tongue out to catch a fly). The same rules apply, however, and you should make all your photos look like this. Funny gets boring after a while!
Want to show those chiselled good looks of yours? Got a bit of flab on the chin that you want to hide? Well, don’t shoot from below the face then, lift the stick up higher and look up to it.
This has the added benefit of forcing you to push your neck forward which is another trick for making your chin look super-slim.
This has nothing to do with taking photos, but I relay to you a story from a friend of mine which contains a word of warning.
While in London taking photos, he decided to use his stick to get a self-portrait in front of Tower Bridge.
He duly strapped his camera into the stick and held it out to take the photo. Unfortunately, that would be the last picture he took with it as a passing stranger grabbed the stick and hot-footed it out of there!
So enjoy your selfie stick, but be careful with them, and always be wary of who’s around you. Maybe they will want one too…