Auto Timer Tips


A somewhat, or little known, or maybe it’s pretty well known fact is that 90% of the photos I take on this blog I take myself, of myself. I mainly stretch my arms out at awkward angles, but the other times I use auto timer photography. The other 10% of the time, I beg my husband or mom (when she’s in town) to help, or I get to work with a friend who is a photographer. And that’s heavenly.

But the pic above is a “behind the scenes” shot of my typical setup. Scenic. But not fancy. 

So, I figured it’s time I finally share some tips. Because it’s been a fun way to take photos. And realistically, not everyone can have a professional photographer on hand 24/7 to help them take pics for a blog, and well, I like to think (and I rarely will confess this) that I’ve gotten pretty good at it. 

So here we go. Time for Auto Timer Photography 101. 

Sorry if I am a sub-par teacher in terms of explaining this.

The best way to learn – is to just play around and experiment a lot. It took me two years of posting consistently on this blog to “figure it out.” Pretty much every camera nowadays has auto timer. Even your smart phone. So play around a bit. Yes, it feels awkward, but it’s pretty cool the kind of unexpected pics you get. And you tend to take less “super posed” pics because you just feel a bit awkward shooting this way. Which is a good thing, I think. 

• Invest in a tripod – or get really good at balancing your camera on things. It took me almost 2 years to invest in a $20 tripod at Radio Shack, and it was worth every penny, and then some. I still will balance my camera or phone on my beach bag, a ledge, step, the sand, a bike seat, or a boat, but a tripod lets you get the camera at the level you want, and keep things straight. Just make sure to hold it down with a bag or something if it’s windy. It sucks when everything blows over. 

• Focusing – This is the trickiest part. Usually I will hold out my hand or kick out my foot to where I will be standing, press the shutter until it focuses, then stand where my foot or hand was, and wait for the timer to go off. Yes, it looks weird, but it works like a charm. If it’s a little further off, I will place something like a purse, or water bottle where I want to stand, focus the camera, press the shutter, then run out, throw whatever was my body double out of the way, and wait for the timer to snap the pic. Also helps to have your shot setup next to something (A bike, board, post, chair, etc) Then just focus on that thing, and go stand, sit or do whatever you want to do on it. 

• Make sure you shoot super high res – So you can zoom in a compose the pics the way you want. It’s a bit hard to get the perfect composition when you aren’t looking at the pic while it’s being taken, so I shoot at super high resolution, and that way can zoom in and crop it until it looks the way I like. 

• Be sure your camera battery is fully charged – Because auto timer eats those suckers up. 

• Shoot somewhere where it’s not busy – Because (in my opinion) it’s just a weird thing to do, and is quite a conversation starter. But if someone offers to help, feel free to use my response: “Ha! Yeah, I know it looks goofy. Oh, thank you tough, but I do this all the time, and am good for now.” Which is also why I like to switch it up and use my little hand held waterproof cam and just balance it on the sand a lot. This way it’s harder to tell you are taking pics of yourself. And I also like how the pics turn out. 

• If you really want to get saucy, invest in a remote, or a camera with built in wifi – I’ve never used a remote, but this gal does, and her pics are freaking amazing. And some of the cams with built in wifi have apps for your phone, so you can see what your camera is seeing, then focus and snap the pic. The tricky part is hiding your phone. It’s pretty amazing though.

• And finally – get used to seeing yourself in pics with really interesting and unflattering faces because the timer went off and you didn’t know your pic was being taken. 

And now you know why I crop my face out so much.

Fun times. 

Hope this helps. 

Yeah auto timer.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *