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 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:
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.
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 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.
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.
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?