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In Defense Of The Selfie Stick

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selfie stick

People can hate all they want. I love my selfie stick!

The selfie stick has been getting a bad rap. Not only is it now officially banned in many major museums around the world to help keep collections safe and disruptions to a minimum, but the New York Post called it “the most controversial gift of 2014.” Sure, I’ve seen my fair share of narcissistic Instagram accounts where following someone’s trip through Peru is actually a trip through their face, with a sprinkling of Inca ruins and Andes peaks in the background. And I’ve definitely witnessed smashed into oblivious selfie stick touting tourists on crowded NYC streets as I’m rushing to meetings. For these types of snap happy vagabonds, their selfie sticks should be taken away and the offender deported (too harsh?). That being said, as someone who uses a selfie stick regularly — mine’s actually a GoPro 3-Way Arm, as I like to clarify — I would argue it’s not all bad. Here’s why:
selfie stick

Follow me…

1. It Gives Photos Depth

When using your own arms, or even a tripod, your limited to the motions and heights possible with these. The selfie stick allows you to take shots from a wide variety of distances and heights without needing to have the “bizarrely long arm effect.” You can also play around with various angles and perspectives, like holding the camera low but pointing up, or from hehind, which gives sort of a “follow me on my journey” feel to the picture.

2. It Allows Solo Travelers To Remember They Were There

Yes, an overabundance of selfies can be annoying, but let’s be honest: the best photos from the camera roll are always the ones you’re in. While I love a colorful sunsets and dramatic landscapes, I’ll be the first to admit I flip right past those when re-living trip memories, lingering on the shots of myself genuinely looking happy and content, relaxed yet excited, in exotic locations. I love relieving not only the places, but how I felt in them through my captured expressions and body language. It helps me remember I was there, proving to me it wasn’t all just a dream.
selfie stick

Paragliding over Medellin. Nice view, huh? This would not have been possible without a selfie stick!

3. It Helps You Host Your Own Travel Show

While creating travel videos — whether amateur or professional — isn’t for everyone, those who do enjoy it can really amp up their abilities. With the selfie stick, you can now be in your own videos without having to awkwardly hold the camera. Just ignore all the perplexed onlookers…

4. It Keeps You Safe

Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit here, but I’ve definitely been in places where I wanted to be in a photo but didn’t want to hand over my $800 camera. With my selfie stick, however, I can be in all the photos I want without ever needing to give a stranger my valuables. Still not convinced? Another way to take great selfies of yourself is with a Remote Control Timer Shutter Release — I use the Godox model — which you set to take as many photos as you’d like, also choosing the amount of time lapsed between each photo. Simply plug it into your camera and you never have to touch the shutter butter or stand behind the viewfinder.
selfie stick

My awkwardly long selfie stick-less arm

5. You’re In Control Of The Photo Quality

Have you ever given your camera to a stranger to take your photo, and despite the ability to look through the viewfinder and the fact that you’re standing completely still, your head is chopped off? Or you’re somehow not even in the photo? Then you have to awkwardly be like “Wow! Thanks!” when you’re really you’re thinking “Umm do you have eyes?” I’m sorry to sound mean, but even if you’ve never seen a camera before in your life you should understand the concept of having the person asking you to take the photo wanting to be IN the photo. Unfortunately this is not always — actually, it’s rarely — the case. Thankfully I can take my own pictures with my selfie stick and actually be in my own pictures.

6. Helps For A Well-Balanced Social Account

This one is for those who post selfie stick photos to their blogs and social accounts. Now I haven’t done any formal research, but based on my personal experience and the experiences of other travel bloggers and Instagrammers I’ve talked to, it’s best to have a balanced mix of photos you’re in and not in. People want to know who they’re following. That being said, it shouldn’t be all “me me me.” Inspire others through engaging and thought-provoking content that doesn’t make them feel like they’re just starting back at you through a mirror.
selfie stick

GoPro 3-Way Arm

Things To Consider When Choosing A Selfie Stick

Basically a selfie stick is a hand-held tripod; however, not all are created equal. Here are a few things to consider when choosing your perfect selfie stick:
  • How long is it when folded up?
  • How long can it be extended to?
  • How easy/difficult is the stick to extend?
  • Is there a remote trigger for photo taking?
  • What cameras/devices is it compatible with?
Recommendations to get you started on your selfie stick hunt:

Why do you love or hate the selfie stick? Have a favorite one? Share your insights in the comments below.

Note: If you’re interested in getting one of the products mentioned above please think about using the links in this post to purchase. I make a small commission at no extra cost to you, which helps keeps this blog running. Thank you!

Also Check Out:

Urban Adventures: Summiting Piestewa Peak In Phoenix, Arizona [Photo Essay] California Adventure: Hiking The Otherworldly Landscapes Of Joshua Tree National Park [Photo Essay] Hiking & Mule Riding My Way Through Arizona’s Grand Canyon [Photo Essay]

About Jessie Festa

Jessie Festa is a New York-based travel content creator who is passionate about empowering her audience to experience new places and live a life of adventure. She is the founder of the solo female travel blog, Jessie on a Journey, and is editor-in-chief of Epicure & Culture, an online conscious tourism magazine. Along with writing, Jessie is a professional photographer and is the owner of NYC Photo Journeys, which offers New York photo tours, photo shoots, and wedding photography. Her work has appeared in publications like USA Today, CNN, Business Insider, Thrillist, and WestJet Magazine.

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Hi, I’m Jessie on a journey!

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  1. Sky on at 3:23 am

    I cannot make up my mind about these…I never even considered them because I felt like using one would put way too much attention on me and hey, shy girl here and then I heard everyone complaining about them so I never gave it much more thought. You do make some good points, though, and I’d love to actually see myself in more of my photos…

    • jess2716 on at 5:44 am

      @Sky: I love mine, although I hate calling it a “selfie stick.” I use it to take better photos and be in a few pictures while traveling solo. I actually use it a ton for non-selfies too, though! ha.

  2. Dale @ Elizabeth and Dale Abroad on at 7:46 pm

    I always say amateurs use selfie sticks and pros use monopods – even though they look remarkably similar! They are definitely a traveler’s friend and will help you get yourself in the picture. You can (usually) buy a much better picture in the gift shop, but finding one with you in it is usually pretty hard.

    Besides, people need to realize that the selfie stick is going to save us all from being bombarded with arm-length selfies that show nothing but the person cropped really tightly. Really, you were in Ankgor Wat? That’s funny because it looks just like the other 524 selfies you’ve posted of yourself with nothing in the background!

    • jess2716 on at 10:07 am

      @Dale: So true! People love to hate on the selfie stick, but it really does serve a good purpose — as long as the person using it is using it for good and not evil 😉 ha.

  3. Jason on at 10:37 am

    Yea. Selfie sticks are great. While I have to agree that some places should ban the use of selfie stick because it can cause some problem if everyone extends their selfie stick. However, no one can deny that selfie stick is a useful invention.

    • Jessie Festa on at 12:43 pm

      @Jason: Totally agree. I live in NYC and the Brooklyn Bridge is awful in the summer when everyone has their sticks extended. It’s so slow to get across and dangerous for cyclists. They sell the selfie sticks right on the bridge!

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