How To: Use 'Selfie Stick' Without Looking Like Idiot

How To: Use ‘Selfie Stick’ Without Looking Like Idiot

Filed under: Camera  Gadgets 

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Widely disdained as narcissistic accouterments of our era, the selfie stick can be an effective photography tool in the outdoors.

mountain-peak-photo
Photos by Ryan Manuel

But when should you deploy this much-maligned photographic tool? And how can you do so without making an ass of yourself all while producing a clichéd image to share with the world?

The photo above is something of a case study in good selfie stick use. We’re going to break it down a little to help the world use selfie sticks responsibly, and in good taste.

Getting Great Selfie Stick Shots

Last week, Ryan Manuel took the above summit shot with a selfie stick, capturing the incredible view behind his group.

Manuel, who is a 27-year-old field biologist, hiked up the Hidden Lake Fire Lookout on the border of North Cascades National Park in Washington State. He was with three friends, and the group paused on the lookout’s highest rock to snap this sunset shot.

selfie-stick-mountain-top
Subtle deployment of the stick gives a clean photo of the group and the view

A still GoPro shot nabbed the moment. Manuel astutely used his selfie stick to lift the camera high above the hikers and capture the stunning view from what the group had just dubbed “Live Authentic Rock.”

There are a few reasons why the photo is successful where so many selfie stick shots fail.

Shot Breakdown

To start, the stick itself is largely absent from the photo, and nobody else was present to take the shot (so they needed a selfie stick). And the photo is candid, capturing a fun moment among friends.

The “group selfie” didn’t interfere with anyone’s enjoyment of a moment. Best of all there, there was no ‘duck face’

no-selfie-stick
Traditional selfie stick use

We live in a time when photography is as ubiquitous as cars during rush hour. But a well done selfie is still as rare as a Lamborghini cruising among the masses during morning commute.

Cut through the clutter with a few more tips for exceptional selfies below.

A selfie stick can be used to capture friends, too
A selfie stick can be used to capture friends, too, here for a higher-angle shot

Tips: Best Selfie Stick Practice In Outdoors Photography

1) Don’t make yourself the subject. Seems tough with the term “selfie,” right? But just look at image above

2) Do you need a stick? Don’t use a stick when an arm or hand will do

3) Angles. Do use a stick to capture unique angles difficult to reach in person. Try shooting from high overhead or a “worm’s angle” low view of a subject

4) One of many tools. “F8 and be there” is an old photographer’s mantra. Get yourself to amazing places and events. Then capture moments that define them, remembering the stick is just another tool in your kit.

5) Go wide. To include yourself in landscape photography, a wide angle lens is your best friend

6) App option. If using a GoPro, download the GoPro App on your phone. The phone acts as a wireless remote and LCD screen. This makes it easy for framing shots

7) Don’t interfere. Selfie sticks can be a photographer’s friend, but if you’re waving them around during a concert or in front of a national monument, there’s a fair chance they will mess with someone else’s enjoyment or photograph

DCIM101GOPRO
A selfie stick, used to take a photo from behind

–Related: We’re not above the selfie stick. See GearJunkie’s “Obligatory ‘Selfie Stick’ Test” article and review from earlier this year.

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