JustAnswer Blog: General

You are here

How to use a selfie stick

This couple demonstrates how to use a selfie stick.

This couple demonstrates how to use a selfie stick.

How to use a selfie stick

By Tristan Hoag on December 14, 2017

If you have a smart phone, you should know how to use a selfie stick

The selfie stick is a deceptively simple device consisting of a handle, an extendable pole, and an adjustable cradle for your smartphone. It puts distance between you and the camera on your phone, allowing you to take photographs of yourself or small groups of people without a dedicated photographer. But how to use a selfie stick if you're new to the selfie game?


Using a selfie stick


What makes a selfie stick more complex than it seems at first glance is the triggering mechanism. It doesn’t help to line up that great shot if you can’t tell your phone to take the picture! A selfie stick will use one of three types of triggering mechanisms.

Bluetooth: These are the most common type of selfie sticks, and they use a Bluetooth connection to access your phone’s camera’s controls.

To use a Bluetooth selfie stick, you will need to pair the stick to your phone.

  1. Turn on the selfie stick and prepare it to pair. Check the instructions for your selfie stick for specifics on this process.
  2. On your smartphone, look for the selfie stick in your Bluetooth controls. This process will be different if you're using an iPhone or an Android.
  3. Select the selfie stick and watch for it to successfully pair.
  4. Secure your phone in the cradle and adjust it to the desired angle.
  5. When you're ready to take your photo, push the trigger on the selfie stick handle to activate the shutter on the phone’s camera.

The Bluetooth selfie stick is easy to use, but it does increase the power usage for your smartphone.

Remote: Some selfie sticks don’t have a trigger built into the handle, and rely on a hand-held remote to trigger the smartphone camera. These remotes still use Bluetooth to interact with your smartphone.

To use a remote selfie stick, you will need to pair the remote to your phone.

Turn on the selfie stick remote and prepare it to pair. Check the instructions for your remote for specifics on this process.

  1. On your smartphone, locate the remote in your Bluetooth controls.
  2. Select the selfie stick remote and watch for it to successfully pair.
  3. Secure your phone in the cradle and adjust it to the desired angle.
  4. When you're ready to take your photo, push the button on the selfie stick remote to activate the shutter on the phone’s camera.

A remote triggered selfie stick allows you to take more stable photos, but you run the risk of losing or damaging the remote.

Cabled: How can you use a selfie stick if you're having smartphone Bluetooth problems? A cabled selfie stick avoids Bluetooth by connecting directly to the phone with a cable, allowing you to control the camera with the trigger.
To use a selfie stick with a cable, you need to plug it in.

  1. Secure your phone in the cradle and adjust it to the desired angle.
  2. Plug the selfie stick cable into the headphone jack on your smartphone.
  3. Turn on your phone and activate your camera.
  4. When you're ready to take your photo, push the trigger on the selfie stick remote to activate the shutter on the phone’s camera.

Cabled selfie sticks are less power-hungry than ones using a Bluetooth connection, but as smartphone battery life improves this is becoming less of an issue.


Other ways to use a selfie stick


If you're still having trouble pairing a selfie stick with your phone, you're not out of luck. There are other ways to take photos with your selfie stick.

Camera delay: Using a delay on your camera will give you time to set up your shot with your selfie stick.  

To set up a camera delay on an iPhone,

  1. Open the camera app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the timer icon.
  3. Choose a 3-second or 10-second delay from the dropdown menu.
  4. Hit the camera button to start the timer.

To set up a camera delay on an Android phone,

  1. Open the camera app on your phone.
  2. Tap the settings icon, and find the timer icon in the menu.
  3. Tap the icon to toggle between off, 3-second or 10-second delay.
  4. Hit the camera button to start the timer.

Once you start the camera timer, quickly line up your shot and smile!

Many older smartphone operating systems do not have a camera delay option, but don’t let that stop you. If your smartphone doesn’t have a timer, you can find free apps that will act as a shutter control and let you set up a time delay.

Whistle command: If you’re using an Android smartphone, and racing the timer doesn’t feel right for you, there's an app that allows you to trigger your camera shutter by whistle command, sidestepping the need for a timer.

Gesture command: Another app-based way to control your smartphone camera on your selfie stick is gesture control. Both iPhone and Android have apps that allow you to trigger your smartphone camera with a simple movement.


Which selfie stick is the best for you?


If you're getting ready to buy, these are some of the things you may want to consider before making your decision.

  • Compatibility with your smartphone: Not all selfie sticks will work with every smartphone, so make sure the one you choose works with your device.
  • Size and grip of the phone cradle: Another consideration based on the type of phone you're using is the fit of the cradle. You want to be sure that it will accommodate the size and weight of your phone.
  • Construction of the swivel mount: The swivel mount should have a solid build and offer a good range of motion.
  • Length: Look for a selfie stick that can extend as far as you need, but also one that collapses small enough to be easily carried or quickly hidden from your friends.
  • Weight: While you want your selfie stick to be light enough to carry and use comfortably, you do want it to have a comfortable amount of weight to help you stabilize your camera.
  • Type of trigger mechanism: Decide on the trigger method that fits your needs.

There are also many additional features for selfie sticks including:

  • Adjustable arm: This offers additional flexibility for taking photos at difficult angles or in hard to reach places, such as under a car.
  • 360-degree rotation: This is a rotating camera mount used for creating panoramic shots.
  • Tripod stand: A set of legs that open so you can use the selfie stick as a freestanding camera mount or a makeshift TV stand.
  • Mirror attachment:  If image quality matters to you, the rear-facing camera creates higher resolution images. A mirror attachment lets you mount the camera backwards without losing line of sight to the phone’s screen.

If your selfie stick doesn’t work, or you have more involved questions about how to use a selfie stick, a JustAnswer expert is available to help you out!

Do you have any tips for taking great selfies? Share them in the comments below!