Imagine you are having a great time with your family and want to take a selfie picture with a nice background. In this post, I provide practical tips how to take a picture from the best angle, without pushing the shutter button on your GoPro camera, smartphone or remote controller at the right moment.
Family Picture is a Challenge
It is hard to catch all the kids and have them settled for a picture. Then one kid is smiling at the camera while the second is looking at the other side. It might be almost impossible to push the shutter at the right moment when everybody is looking and smiling at the camera.
You are finally able to make all these things perfect. But then you realize that the background of your image is not what you wanted. You have a family picture without beautiful scenery behind you because your camera angle wasn’t ideal.
Let’s face it – if you ever took a family picture, you might get bunch of these:
It might be a challenge to do all these things right. I want to show you how to deal with these issues and capture perfect family photos with less frustration.
1. Pick Your Extension Pole
GoPro camera has the wide angle view so you can take a selfie by holding the camera in bare hands only. Problem is that your hand itself is too short and you will not have much background in the picture. Maybe you all even don’t fit in the photo.
You will get better results when using some kind of extension pole. Then you can also manipulate easier with the camera when taking multiple angle pictures. But more important is getting a “bigger” image with background scenery behind you.
We use one of these two poles:
The bending makes it easy to take a shot without seeing the pole in the picture. You can achieve this with a straight pole too, but it might be a little bit harder to find the right angle.
When using GoPro 3-Way arm, you can fold it and use it as a tripod. You can prepare the scene ahead and don’t have to manipulate with the camera during the shot. But tripod might be too low to include more background behind you. This option is better if you want to capture primarily the family members.
2. Check the Right Angle
Always do the quick check what is visible in your shot. Remember, you don’t want to have a selfie stick in your family picture.
I turn the camera around so I can see the LCD display. Then I adjust bending of the pole or tilt the camera. Sometimes, it is hard to see the end of the pole on the display because of its dark color. So I place my hand at the end of the pole and raise up my fingers.
Then I move with my fingers and easily see whether they are visible in the shot or not. This way I can adjust angles of the pole bending and camera tilting pretty accurately.
If you own a GoPro camera without LCD display check your shot by smartphone live preview using GoPro App.
3. Set the camera
We use time-lapse photo which is set in Multi-shot mode of the camera (0.5 second). This has several advantages:
- you have a lot of pictures to choose from
- you can try multiple angles immediately
- you don’t have to push the shutter button at the right moment
- you don’t need a smartphone or remote controller
Just a reminder, do not choose video time-lapse but photo time-lapse (you must be in Multi-shot mode).
4. Prepare Family and Make a Move
Now is the time to catch your kids and prepare all the family members for the picture. If you have small kids, they might not be visible in the shot. You have two options:
- hold the kids in your hands
- go on your knees while kids are standing in front of you
This way, everybody is at approximately same height level and fit into the shot.
Also, check the source of light. If the sun is directly behind you, your faces might be too dark. Change the direction between you and the camera so the sun is not directly behind you. Or better, turn around to face the sun.
When everybody is ready you can push the shutter button and let the time-lapse sequence start. Don’t worry if the kids don’t face the camera yet.
Set your selfie extension pole at an almost horizontal position.
Now encourage all the family members to smile at the camera. Then slowly move the pole upwards while everyone should follow the camera. Kids sometimes don’t but try it again and once they will.
This will give you multiple angle photos and later you can choose the one with the best background.
You can also try selfies not only from the static position but also on a walk or hike. We created many selfies accidentally when shooting a photo time-lapse. This one was taken in the last second when I wanted to switch the camera off.
If you use a tripod setting, take pictures from different heights. 3-Way allows to try 2 or 3 different height levels which could be quickly alternated by folding the arm. Just be careful and don’t let the kids running too close to it. This tripod is lightweight and not solid stable.
5. Choose the Best Shot
Download all the pictures to your computer. If you are like our family (kids are too active and always try to run away) you will have probably a lot of pictures.
I always open an editing program or GoPro App and check only thumbnails at first. I pick a few favorite images with a perfect background where everybody is smiling at the camera. Then I look only at these photos in full size and choose the best one.
Let’s see what came out from the sequence of initially not so good selfies which I showed you at the beginning of this post:
We found a few photos like this and they were taken just a few seconds apart from those useless. Thanks to the time-lapse, we didn’t have to worry about the right moment. We just tried to motivate our kids to look at the camera and at the same time moved with our extension arm up and down. It was just a matter of time to capture a good shot.
You will be surprised how many good selfies you can get when using time-lapse mode. You will have many useless pictures but a few of them will be great.
And what is your experience? How do you make selfies of your family? Share your tricks with us in comments below, please.
Thanks for reading, we appreciate you!