Photography Tip – Using The Self-Timer

Self-timers.. most cameras have them.

What is the Self-Timer good for?

Excellent question.

Tack-sharp photos using the self-timer
Get really sharp pictures using your camera’s self-timer.

We are all familiar with this scenario: group shot and we all want to be in it. Put the camera on a ledge or table. Press the shutter button and run around to get into the shot. Self-timer gives us 10 seconds to get into position, and… Bam! We got the shot!

Well, contrary to the popular belief that the self-timer is only good for taking a group shot like this or a self portrait, this handy little feature is good for much more.

With your self-timer, you can take hands-free shots so that you do not shake the camera when you press the shutter button. This will give you a nearly 100% chance of getting a sharper image, and 100% is pretty good odds, don’t you think? This is especially true in conditions where light is not very bright and long exposures are necessary.

Some self-timers are capable of shorter times before the shutter is released. For instance, my Canon Rebel has a choice to use 2 seconds as well as 10 seconds.

The 2 second self-timer is awesome for taking landscapes and close up shots.. any shot actually where you don’t want your camera to move to maintain sharp focus. You don’t have to wait as long, but you also have the convenience of not having to press the shutter button and possibly causing camera movement.

Use a Tripod with your Self-Timer

In order to make the absolute best use of your self-timer, a tripod is best. The tripod gives you the most flexibility because you can move it around and get the perfect composition. If you depend on a table or ledge, you actually limit this flexibility.

Speaking of flexibility, make sure you take the time to examine your composition in the camera’s viewfinder before taking the photo. Move from side to side or up and down to frame your shot just how you want it.

Patience is a Virtue

All of this talk about self-timers kind of hints that you are actually “thinking” about your results. At least for yours truly, it does. We tend to take more time to set up the shot and consider some of the surrounding circumstances.

For instance, look for background clutter. Sometimes it is very easy to ruin an otherwise great shot by not noticing something behind the subject that will be a major distraction.

I can’t tell you how many pictures of beautiful flowers I have taken, only to have them end up in the computer’s trash bin because there was a dead flower or withered leaves right behind it.

self-timer photo
OK, this is definitely a “selfie”

So take the time to examine all aspects of your proposed image and “clean up” your shot beforehand.

Self-timers – they are good for other things besides “selfies” (hey, I just learned that this is the term used for taking pictures of yourself – some people have more “selfies” on their camera card than pictures of other stuff.. just sayin’)