Adventures with the Self-Timer

September 13, 2017

I remember being a new mom scrolling through my camera roll. There were hundreds of pictures of my baby and my baby with daddy, but NONE of me. Sound familiar?  I decided then and there that it had to change! All I wanted is to be in the frame with them---for them to see my exhausted, happy mama eyes. So that's where my adventures in the self-timer world began.

I'll never forget the first picture I took by myself. I remember exactly what I was wearing and how I was feeling. I was a new mom to baby Rigg and all I wanted was to be in the frame with him. I was a sweaty, hot mess by the end of the photo trying to get a good one. I propped my iPhone camera up on my nightstand against a lamp, i was holding my 2 month old in my arms, and i set the camera countdown for 10 seconds. And I ran! AS FAST AS I COULD. It didn't really work out for me that first time but it has been a lot of trial and error for me over the years. I think the most important thing to remember is that the picture you want, is probably not the picture you will get. They always turn out a little different than I expect, but I have learned to embrace that.These photos have turned into my very favorite memories.


Fast forward 4 years and I have posted my 200th photo in the Instagram hashtag #lacyselftimer . I have tears in my eyes looking through 200 photos from that silly hashtag where I am actually in the frame with my children. Where you can see the joy bursting at my mama seams. It's not always easy taking photos myself (especially when I tape my iPhone to the ceiling), but it's ALWAYS worth it. 150%. PROMISE.200 photos I otherwise wouldn't have with my family. 200 photos that my husband didn't have to take for me:)

I'm writing this blog post because I have had a ton of messages and e-mails lately asking about taking pictures yourself. I'm no expert, but I've had a lot of fun learning through trial and error! I'm going to answer those questions below for anyone else who has the same questions. I also want to empower you to stop making excuses as to why you aren't getting in the frame! Sooooo whatever your status is today---sweatpants & no make-up & 20 pounds more than your goal weight & dark circles under your eyes--I promise that you will never regret being in more pictures with your children!

Here are some of my favorite captures from over the years!


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS--

DO YOU USE A REMOTE?

Sometimes. But sometimes I don't have it with me. When I don't have the remote, I just set up the 10 second timer and RUNNNN. A Bluetooth remote is 100 times easier and the pictures always turn out better for me, but my kids love the 10 second countdown. They think it's fun and if they think taking pictures is fun, I'M ALL FOR IT! One downside to a remote is that it's difficult at times to hide it from showing in the picture. If you look hard enough, you can spot the remote in my hand in a lot of the photos! I linked the ones I use below. Just make sure the remote/s are compatible with your iPhone and/or camera! I have an iPhone 7.


DO YOU USE YOUR IPHONE FOR ALL YOUR PICTURES?

Most of the photos I take are with my iPhone. They aren't always the best quality but you can't really tell that by a little Instagram square. I use my Canon 5D Mark II on occasion when I am actually planning out a photo shoot or for a holiday. It's all about cropping and editing and cropping some more! I use Snapseed, VSCO & sometimes PicTapGo.

DO YOU USE A TRIPOD?

Sometimes! I keep my tripod in my car and put it in my stroller if we are going somewhere fun where I want to take a photo. A majority of my photos are taken by placing my iPhone in the cup holder of my stroller. Easy Peasy. I prop the phone up on fences, chairs, baskets and other dangerous places too. I'm honestly shocked my phone is still alive:) I linked the tripods I have below.

HOW DO YOU GET ABOVE ANGLE SHOTS?

There are a few different ways I've done this. First, I take my tripod and prop it up high on something...for example, on a chair or in the stroller. That is how I snapped the photo below where we are in the pool. I make sure the phone and tripod are both secure, I link my iPhone camera up to my Bluetooth remote & I snap away! Another way is I get the above angle is by using blue painter's tape on the ceiling or wall. The ones above my bed are mostly done with the iPhone being taped to the ceiling and I'm taking the pictures with a remote! This can be dangerous so BEWARE! The phone will fall on your head if not secure. Not that I know from experience or anything:) I also own a selfie stick (i know, embarrassing) and I have used that and propped it up on things to get the height I want.
 

 HOW DO YOU KEEP THE PHOTO IN FOCUS?

When I'm taking photos with my iPhone I don't really seem to have problems with things being in focus. I set my phone up where I want it, I tap the screen to make sure the lighting is right, and then we do our thing. It's a different story with my Canon 5D Mark II. If you are taking a shot with your DSLR, make sure your children are in the frame and focus the camera on them. Then when you hop in the picture near your kiddos, you will be in focus too. If I'm taking a photo on a blank wall and no one is in the photo yet, I get a little piece of blue tape and put it up where I want to stand, then I focus the lens on the tape and jump in the photo in front of the tape! I'm definitely not perfect at focusing and a lot of the times it's definitely trial and error. I'm sure real photographers have more wisdom about this topic. My pictures sometimes turn out a bit blurry, but I kind of like it. Life is a bit blurry sometimes.
 

HOW DO YOU GET YOUR CHILDREN TO TAKE THE PICTURE?

Key word: treats:)
I make it fun by letting Riggins or Gibson hold the remote and snap the photos. They LOVE this.
I also like to set up the camera secretly by propping it up somewhere or using my tripod and then i just go and play with them.A lot of the times, they have no idea we are even taking photos and those are my favorite kind! We all want photos to be in the moment, so this is how I can achieve the candid shots.

ANY OTHER ADVICE?

Just some friendly advice..I like to get a good family photo if we go somewhere cool or on a special holiday. I try to do it right at the beginning to get it out of the way so we can put our phones/cameras away and have fun. Then I sometimes sneak in a few self-timer shots if I run to the bathroom with the kids or something. I just don't want obsessive picture taking to ruin the fun! #youknowwhatimsaying? Because nothing is more annoying to me than saying "Take our picture, take our picture" every 20 seconds. Just focus on one good family photo and then try to let it go and enjoy the moment.

The key to getting good self-timer photos is taking lots of pictures. Lots and lots. The remote I have allows you to hold it down and it takes a burst of photos. I know that I'll have one good one in the 50 picture burst!And lots of patience at first! Once you get the hang of it, it can be faster than having a stranger snap a photo for you! Because seriously people, strangers always cut off my head.

Whipping out a tripod in a public place and taking your own pictures can be embarrassing at times. I've definitely gotten over that hump. But if that is something that makes you feel weird, try to find some secluded areas where no one will see you!  The pictures will be better when you don't feel awkward that people are watching you and you won't feel rushed. And I love when a stranger comes and asks if they can take the picture because I look like I'm struggling, and then I end up liking the pictures I took more! Make sure you try different angles. Challenge yourself. Set the phone on the ground and shoot up. Put your tripod as high as it goes and get on the ground with your kids and shoot down. I have realized that my favorite self-timer shots are the ones taken at cool angles...and no one will even know you took it yourself!!! THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX.

Also, a good self-timer photo doesn't have to be perfect. The lighting doesn't have to be just right. There doesn't need to be the coolest background ever. You don't have to be wearing a hat :) I'm sorry if my photos are leading you to believe all that CRAPPITY-CRAP. All that matters is that if it has you and your children in the frame together, it's perfect in my book!

So good luck, friends! Let me know if any of this was confusing or if you have any more questions! GET IN THE FRAME!!!!




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