Do you just stick your camera out in front of you and say ‘Cheese’ when it comes to selfies?
Recently, I’ve had a handful of people ask me who my photographer is and let me just tell you, this cheap-skate, bargain-loving, Mama Runner has hired… myself.
I went for a gorgeous snow run yesterday and my 4.5 mile run took almost an hour and a half because I thought it would be a great opportunity for some amazing pictures, but also to share with you how I get some of the usual shots I do. (Follow me on Instagram for more ideas).
If you’re new to the selfie, a picture of yourself using your camera, the most helpful tip is to use the forward facing camera (most of the time) so you can actually see yourself in the photo!
Here are some of my biggest photography selfie secrets to help you think outside the box.
Your Voice Is Key
I have a Samsung Galaxy 6 phone with the capability to use voice activated photography!
I can just say the words ‘Smile’ or ‘Cheese’ at my phone and it’ll take a photograph without me having to fiddle with the photo button. It works great because you can easily take several photos from far away (more on that later).
I believe you have to download an App for the iPhone to use voice commands with the camera. Curious to know who might use this and what you think of the ease of use on the iPhone.
Straight on is… well, boring.
When you approach a place you think is photograph worthy, it looks completely different to you in person than it will on a two-dimensional window because you are able to take in your entire surroundings.
Think about the angle you want to shoot the picture from. It could be from a high or low vantage point and sometimes coming from really low or really high angles completely change the look for the photo… and certainly the background.
Move your camera around while looking at the selfie to see what the background looks like from that vantage point. Or, move your head… climb a tree or on top of the hill or rock to see what the vantage point might be. Or, crouch down to examine your surroundings before you decide where to put your camera.
I love ground shots. Here’s one from where I just leaned up my camera against the side of the basketball hoop pole in my driveway.
INKnBURN Wildflower Tech Shirt – My favorite!
Use What’s Around You
You could be in the middle of the desert and still come up with an unusual way to prop up your phone! (I’ll show you in a minute).
I’ve been in the middle of a forest and used branches, vines twisted around sticks, rocks, the lucky fence find, a bridge railing, and even your car or water bottle. You have to be a bit of a McGuyver sometimes, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.
I had this great double bridge on both sides of the road as a prop. I just rested my selfie stick on one bridge to take a picture of myself on the other side of the street!
Here’s the resulting photo of me across the street:
Just a few years ago, this would not be possible. I actually used my voice to yell ‘Cheese’ across the road and it took the picture!
Take a Selfie Stick
I don’t carry a selfie stick with me on 99.9% of my runs…. But, with snow or group runs, it’s a great tool. Here’s how I carried it Clint Eastwood style in my gel holster!
“Go Ahead. Make My Day!” – Clint Eastwood
The stick allows you to get in more of you and your group… and you can also use it as a prop even from those high and low vantage points.
Here is an instance where I just left the stick on the ground to help hold my phone in place. This is what I would do in the desert, too. You could find a sand dune and leave your phone at the top of the hill while you run to the bottom. Either leave it on the sand angled down, OR, take the straight end of the stick and stick it into the ground! Or look for a rock or cactus to help with propping.
Fancy and exciting, right?! LOL!
This angle with the stick on the ground produced the photo below!
Take Several Shots
It’s always helpful to take several shots. Move your body, head, arms and sometimes the angle of the phone, too. Thanks to modern technology, you can figure out which one or two poses you want to showcase from the comfort of your home just a few minutes later.
I think a lot of people are surprised at how many ‘takes’ it takes to get the right shot.
Most of the time I get pretty lucky and can get the shot in 1-3 tries. But, then there are the times that I’m there for what seems like forever and I just about give up. I shrug it off and hope for great help with my photo editing software later on.
Set The Timer
Did you know your camera phone has a timer?!
I just figured this out earlier this year! It comes in very handy for those running shots when your ‘Cheese’ comes out at the wrong time or it can’t be heard from far away on a noisy street or area.
There’s usually a settings function on the face of your camera phone and you can look for the timer which is usually set to ‘Off’.
Check it out and start playing with it!
Here’s where I used the timer to be able to count to myself when I needed to be ‘there’ for the shot. I only needed to take 2 shots to get this.
I love the snow kicking up in this shot! I think I also used the Sports Mode.
This is the first time I tried this kind of shot before and truthfully, I’d love to keep trying this to get an ever closer shot of the bottom of my shoe. However, running finally called my name and I hoped for the best 🙂
Double Check The Background
When I first learned photography, one of my teachers said to get rid of the trash… literally.
How often have you accidentally photographed a trash bin in a picture?! Now that I’ve mentioned it go back and look at your photos and start counting!
The telephone wires, the sign on the side of the trail, the garbage on the side of the road, someone walking behind you, a cluttered background, a house on the side of your ‘scenic’ photo all detract from a potentially great photo.
Here’s a side-by-side-example of moving from one side of the path to the other. It’s not a selfie, but you get the idea!
Nice power line in the background, huh?!
Scope Out The Best & Practice
So, where do you go from here?
Get on Instagram. Scope out some of my favorite accounts, or do some searching of your own for the great photographers in the hobbies and interests you love the best to snag ideas. If you’re a runner, follow running accounts!
Once you have a few fun ideas, take some time on your next outdoor run or activity and practice, practice, practice! You’ll take a ton of bad shots, but you’ll also snap some brilliant ones, too!
If you’d like to learn more and stay in touch, sign-up for an email from me whenever I put together a new post. To be fair to you if you’re a new reader, I want to warn you that I’m currently in a 30-days of blogging challenge (Nov/Dec ’15) and have 13 more days left, so sign-up and feel free to just delete the posts that don’t sound interesting to you in the next 2 weeks!
P.S. I love this new tech shirt from INKnBURN! They come out with new limited-edition designs all the time. I ordered an XL (I normally wear a large) so I could layer under it and it’s worked perfectly for temps right around freezing!