Heads up, this is not a post on “how to take amazing photos of yourself with your iPhone that doesn’t involve shooting your reflection in the mirror.” Just wanted to clarify that before we move on :).

One of the bummers of being a professional photographer is that when you’re on vacation/traveling in a beautiful place and you’d like a picture of you and your significant other, the thought of handing your professional gear over to a passerby to snap a photo is downright anxiety-inducing. I’d rather leave without a single photo of the two of us than ask a stranger to handle my mk3. As a result, Matt & I have a total of two photos of the two of us together in Europe, images our friend Angie was kind enough to take for us after dinner one night. Determined that the same thing wouldn’t happen during our trip to Puerto Rico to photograph Jeff & Tracy’s wedding, I made sure to pack a tripod and my Canon remote so that Matt & I could leave with at least one fun portrait from our time in the Caribbean. I’m so glad I did! The tripod was a little cumbersome to get to and from PR, but it was so worth it. So without further ago, a few quick tips of how to take portraits of yourself that don’t involve the front-facing camera on your phone:

1) Use a tripod, if you have one. I brought a regularly-sized one, but you can find tabletop tripods at places like PhotoJojo. Having a tripod will mean you’re not worried about balancing your camera on top of the car, a boulder, a tabletop, etc.

2) Have a remote! I use THIS ONE and it’s made such a difference. I used to do the “press the timer on the camera, run back to position, pose, then wait for 6-8 more awkward seconds for the shutter to click, then run back and check the camera screen” thing. It’s exhausting, and is a surefire way to irritate a husband who already doesn’t like having his photo taken. The Canon remote allows me to fire as many time I want from afar. Every 10ish frames or so I’ll run back and check the screen to make sure my settings are correct, but the remote refocuses before every shutter click, to I don’t have to worry about making sure we don’t move out of the plane of focus.

3) Set your camera on the 2 second delay, instead of having it shoot as soon as you press the remote. The remote has to be in the camera’s line of focus in order to trigger the shutter, meaning if you’re trying to take a sweet portrait without the delay, the remote will most likely show up in the image. Like this.


Super romantic, right? And while I COULD spend the time to PhotoShop that out, it’s just easier to put the camera on the 2 second delay mode. That way you can press the shutter release, hide the remote, and smile in time for the click!

3b) Remove black hairbands from your wrist. (see above)

4) Look fabulous and fire away. Here are a few self-portraits we took down in Vieques this past weekend!

Vieques, Puerto Rico destination wedding photographer- Abby Grace PhotographyVieques, Puerto Rico destination wedding photographer- Abby Grace PhotographyVieques, Puerto Rico destination wedding photographer- Abby Grace PhotographyVieques, Puerto Rico destination wedding photographer- Abby Grace PhotographyVieques, Puerto Rico destination wedding photographer- Abby Grace PhotographyVieques, Puerto Rico destination wedding photographer- Abby Grace PhotographyVieques, Puerto Rico destination wedding photographer- Abby Grace Photography

Vieques, Puerto Rico destination wedding photographer- Abby Grace Photography

I’m a little obsessed with these, sorry. It’s just those Caribbean colors! They’re so vibrant, even when it’s cloudy!

And because every post is better with a giveaway, I’ll send a remote shutter release, either Canon or Nikon, to one of you! Enter by leaving a comment on this post, and I’ll announce the winner on next week’s Monday Mash-Up. Ready…. go!

Lessons Learned- perfecting the “selfie”

December 12, 2013

  1. Urška Majer says:

    These are wonderful 🙂

  2. Sarah Adams says:

    Seriously, Abby!?! these are INCREDIBLE! I can’t believe these were taken with a remote on a tripod- but then again, knowing your amazing talent- I guess I’m not that surprised 🙂 Love all of these- so so beautiful!

  3. Seriously, how cute are you two!?! Love this post 🙂

  4. I would love to have a shutter release to practice some pretty self-portraits! These are beautiful and I’m so jealous you went the the Caribbean 🙂 My favorite picture is the second to last one… it’s beautiful 🙂

  5. Tessa says:

    You are stunning. And the hair tie thing is something I would totally do! And I love your shirt.

  6. Lauren Swann says:

    Oh girl!! Those are so cute!! Love them!!!

  7. Anna K. says:

    Your photos are beautiful and I am right there with you about a husband that doesn’t like having his photo taken! I’m ordering one of these remotes right now, thank for the advice!!! Xoxo!

  8. Evian Granitz says:

    Love. Love. LOVE.

  9. Daytona says:

    LOVE! i’ve been looking for timer recommendations forever and these pictures are such a lovely proof that this one works!

  10. Amber says:

    Fantastic suggestions on how photographers can capture photos of themselves on their camera!!

  11. Samantha J. Blevins says:

    This is a great post! I’ve always wondered how to best do this 😀

  12. kaitlin says:


  13. Ahh I love this!!! When I shot with Nikon I use to have one and I loved it!!! But the. I made the switch and haven’t bought one yet!! This post is so right though when you have a hubby who doesn’t like pictures taken the timer is a fail! But having the remote is super awesome!! 🙂

  14. Kathy says:

    We were JUST talking about how we need a new remote to take selfies! We used to take a bunch doing the timer and run method but grew tired of it over time, just like you said! Haha 😀 I’m astounded you got all of these with a tripod and a remote – they’re fantastic! Beautiful job!

  15. Caroline says:

    Love these! Seriously impressed with your self-portrait skills.

  16. Rachel Wells says:

    These are awesome, Abby! Such good tips and we will definitely be trying this out on vacation…or I guess whenever I can convince hubby to participate! 🙂

  17. rebekah j. says:

    i was just thinking about getting one of these! i almost always travel alone and never have the guts to ask strangers to take pictures of me, so i end up never having pictures of myself of where i’ve been….and the 2 second delay is a bit of genius.

    also, you’re lovely, and the last two are my favorites. so sweet.

  18. Jen McLeod says:

    I love the one with you laughing! We’ll be in Charleston for Christmas so having a remote would be super! BTW, did you go snorkeling in Vieques? They have some of the best on the other side of the mountain!

  19. Bethany Starin says:

    Great tips — need to grab a tripod and a remote for our next adventures away! Thanks, Abby.

  20. Brea says:

    Such fun tips! I only have iPhone selfies of me and Steve from our most recent trip because I didn’t even want to deal with bringing my mk iii. I do have some selfies like this from our trip to punta cana last year, but I’ve lost the trigger since then! I’d love to win your fun giveaway 🙂

  21. I need to get a remote stat! Glad I’m not the only photographer who forces their anti-photo husband to pose with me in front of a tripod 😉

  22. Bekah Martindale says:

    Oh my goodness these photos are fabulous! The two second delay is very smart! I would LOVE a Nikon remote to try this out:)

  23. Alicia Lacey says:

    ABBY! This is so awesome, I was coming here to comment regardless but then I saw the giveaway so double awesome! I am guilty of run-check-run-check which DOES annoy the hubby. Also those look perfect, I would’ve never guess they were selfies!

  24. Lisa W. says:

    Beautiful pictures!! And I totally just bought a fancy Canon, my first SLR, so I would love a remote!

  25. I know exactly what you’re talking about. Set the timer, run, pose, come back, phew….A remote shutter release would be great! Love the photos!!

  26. Mary says:

    This is great! My MIL asked me over thanksgiving if I would take our family pics – and be in them. I wasn’t prepared so I ran to best buy (on Black Friday) and grabbed a cheapie remote. It turned out to only work from about two feet away so I ended up doing the press and dash. We had a lot of fun (mainly laughing at me jumping down from a truck where the camera was and running through a cotton field) and we eventually ended up with a couple of cute pics! Thanks again for the post!

  27. Blythe K says:

    LOOOOVE THIS!!! I have been doing the run back and forth thing for way too long. Thankfully Joe doesn’t get TOOOO frustrated but I’d never get him to sit through more than 1 good photo 🙂 You two look awesome!! What a GREAT post!! Thanks for sharing!!

  28. Natalie says:

    I love these! Perfect self portraits!

  29. Edwina says:

    Love-love-love! Great advice!

  30. Brooke says:

    As I am reading your post, I was thinking “wow, I really need to get a remote for my honeymoon next June to Hawaii – this is the perfect way to get pictures of the two of us!” This would be awesome! I am really impressed at your self portrait posing skills – even with a remote, I will really need to practice those! Thanks for the awesome giveaway 🙂

  31. Abbey Knouff says:

    Those pictures are gorgeous!

  32. We’re planning our Europe trip for next year and I’ve been in the same pickle… wondering how to take some good selfies without worrying about a stranger stealing our expensive equipment! Great advice!

  33. lovely! this is much better than trying to run into the shot and half the time catching my backside – bleh – haha 🙂

  34. Laurel says:

    I love this. I love photography and love pictures of my husband and I together when we travel, so we usually end up with a ton of awkwardly positioned photos as I attempt to get both us and the scenery in a photo. The result is, well, awkward. Thanks for the great post!

  35. That last photo is particularly stunning. You are so beautiful!

  36. Maggie S B says:

    Always love your posts, Abby. And this remote would be fab!!!

  37. Mia Bjerring says:

    Oh Abby, these photos are amazing!! I can definitely understand why you are obsessing over them! You and Matt make such a handsome and gorgeous couple! And thank you so much for those awesome tips! I think I need to dust off my remote and find my tripod and use some of the advice you gave here! Thank you!

  38. Amy McKeon says:

    This is an ingenious post! So helpful. I have a best friend of 13 years and we have maybe 3 photos together because one of us is always taking it (me especially) and a group of four of us who have tried chronicling our adventures together and only have front facing camera stacked selfies to show for our efforts! A remote would help so much!

  39. Tammy says:

    What a great idea! Now no more individual pictures!

  40. desiree says:

    These images are gorgeous! How nice to have some beautiful shots of the two of you. I really need to invest in a remote for that same reason – my hubby & I are planning a trip to Hawaii next year and I would love to have the opportunity to take some images without just using a Gorillapod & my point & shoot camera 🙂

  41. Michelle says:

    Have you been in my internet search history? I was just looking last night for this exact advice because I need to get some Christmas cards together and the only photos I have of the 2 of us together are from the front facing camera on my phone. Perfect timing!

  42. Dad says:

    Dang that’s a lot of comments!

  43. Ali says:

    Love these! I need a remote now.. Thanks for the reminder how important it is to capture sweet moments together!

  44. Allie says:

    Danggg girl! I can’t believe those photos were taken with a tripod and remote! You’re so gorge and you and Matt are just so cute and and and 🙂

  45. Jean says:

    Beautiful photos of you two. Pawpaw just bought a remote shutter release so he will be discussing this with you, I’m sure. Love you.

  46. Abby these are beautiful! Thanks for sharing…Dustin and I are ALWAYS talking about how we have no pictures together when we go places so the iPhone pics have to suffice…but that sucks. I need a tripod anyways so I think this will give me the push I needed 🙂

  47. Tracy says:

    Abby, Abby, Abby…I’m soooo happy you both had this opportunity to take these beautiful shots (even after the worst commute to the island ever!). You are 100% gorgeous and the two of you are completely and utterly adorable. Much love to you both. And we cannot WAIT to see what else you shot while on that beautiful island. Xoxoxo

  48. Caili says:

    You totally caught yourselves in a moment! Stunning. I love these so much.

  49. Shannon says:

    Love! So sweet!

  50. Sarah Dozier says:

    I love these!!! I And I love this post. It’s totally one of those things that you just sigh and grumble about but accept as reality. It doesn’t have to be! I’m no pro but I was totally nervous about handing my Nikon over to strangers on our last vacation. I definitely need to invest in these!

    And the HAIR TIE! Ha I ALWAYS do that. Loved the advise pretty lady 🙂

  51. Janelle C says:

    I would have never guessed that you had a trigger! It looks like someone was following you on this beautiful island! I would love a remote shutter release for my canon one day!

  52. Abbey says:

    Absolutely beautiful Abby! I will definitely put these tips to use when my hubby and I try a self portrait next time. Don’t you just love those caribbeans colors??

  53. Rebekah Hoyt says:

    You and Matt take the most amazing self portraits!! I LOVE this post! I don’t have a trigger (and would love one) and I’ve always done a 20-second self timer and then RAN into position. It never felt relaxed because I was always panting from being out-of-breath!

  54. Annamarie says:

    Ohhh Abby, you are BEAUTIFUL! I love these!!!

  55. These are gorgeous! So much better than my last attempt at using a shutter release. 🙁 I guess I need more practice before our next vacation.

  56. Emily says:

    Thanks for these tips! I’m excited to try them out for myself, although I’m currently in the cheapie remote category. Perhaps an upgrade based on your suggestion is in order!

  57. Karen Field says:

    First of all, I was stunned by how many comments I had to scroll through! You obviously hit upon a need in the photography community and friends, as well! I’m quite partial to that next to last photo of you and Matt. Maybe it’s time to update the family photo frame with new shots, starting with this one of you and Matt!

  58. I love this post. Such great tips on selfies! I also love the colors in the photos even on a glum day. 🙂

  59. […] inspired by Abby‘s recent post, I totally set up to do some selfies while we were in such a gorgeous location! […]

  60. […] inspired by Abby‘s recent post, I totally set up to do some selfies while we were in such a gorgeous location! […]

  61. […] It’s super easy as long as you have a tripod, and I even posted a tutorial that you can find HERE which will make it a lot […]

  62. […] Abby Grace has already created an awesome post on DSLR “selfies”, so check it out here.Just for fun, here are a couple images we had taken by others on vacation… These I included […]

  63. […] Truth be told, it still might end up being a cruddy picture. If all this fails, try getting a wireless remote and taking your own images! Fellow photographer Abby Grace has already created an awesome post on DSLR “selfies”, so check it out here. […]

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