I do love my selfie stick, although mine is actually a GoPro Arm. That being said, while I love selfie sticks for close ups of my face with some nice background, for a hands-free photo or a full body selfie — which I find better showcases the place I’m in and what I’m doing there — my intervalometer is king.
I learned about the intervalometer — literally a device that counts intervals of time — from my good blogger friendsThe Legendary Adventures of Anna, who is the ultimate selfie taker. Essentially, it’s a remote control you plug into your DSLR, and it just hangs there. From there, you program it to take as many shots as you’d like, with as much time in between as you’d like, without needing to touch your camera or the remote. It will even focus your camera for you, allowing you to move about freely in front of your lens.
An intervalometer is essential for any solo traveler who likes to take creative photos. I’m a fan of cartwheel shots, thoughtful gazing-off-into-landscape shots and yoga pose shots, all of which I often take when nobody is around. And even if they are, I hate bothering people to take my picture and also don’t really trust anyone to take a shot that is both properly framed and doesn’t chop off my head.
The intervalometer has allowed me to gain more control over my photos when I’m traveling solo, as well as at home when I do mini photo shoots. I use it in combination with my Joby Gorillapod, a mini tripod that helps steady my camera. The legs of the tripod are flexible and can be molded into different positions, even wrapping around poles and trees. Very versatile!
Along with using an intervalometer and Gorillapod, here are some other tips for taking the perfect selfie:
- Hold your camera at a higher angel, not right in front of your face, and tilt your head to highlight cheekbones and eliminate any double chin action.
- Think about lighting. Natural is often best. You can eliminate shadows by facing directly into or away from the sun/light, or by holding a reflector (or white paper) under your face. Here’s an example from Pinterest.
- Compose your shot. Use the Rule of Thirds and place yourself in the top right or left of the photo, not the center.
- Play with accessories, props and makeup. Bright lipstick, funky glasses, crazy fashion goggles and other fun additions can help make the photo interesting.
- Experiment with head and shoulder angles, and try taking a few photos with one arm and a few with two (if not using the intervalometer). I was once told by a photography teacher a great exercise is trying to photograph one thing 100 different ways. Luckily, we live in a digital age where unlimited snaps are possible.
- Get an app with options for cosmetic correction editing, like Photo Wonder, Afterlight and Facetune. I personally use Picmonkey for desktop.
- Smile and have fun. You’ll effortlessly look more beautiful.
Looking for more photography gear tips? My friends over at the NOMADASURUS travel blog share their pick for the best camera for travel.