How I take my self-portraits

I know this is not a self portrait, so its weird for it to be here with self portrait info, but she’s way more adorable than me.

Here's a run-down of how I take most of my self-portraits.

Key items

  • Tripod

  • Remote (RC-6 or wifi enabled camera + app)


I find the composition I want, get set up on the tripod, and then dial in my exposure, aperture, and iso settings via live-view.

Then I set the drive mode to 1 of three settings:

  1. Self-timer 10 sec/Remote

  2. Self-timer continuous (set for 10 shots)

  3. Canon Camera Connect app + wifi.

If I select either of the first two settings I then go in and change my shutter button setting back to half-press AF assist. If I have it set to back button focus then the auto-focus inevitably fails. I don't know why, but if I don't have AF-assist turned on for the shutter button, it can't actually seem to follow me.

Then I flip out the screen to the side so I can see it, go stand where I want to be, and take shots.

Perks of each

  1. Remote: works great for standing shots, its small so easy to hide or drop. It has a 2-second timer on it, so I can hit the shutter button and still have time to hide the remote.

  2. Self-timer continuous: This is the best setting for my walking shots. I end up with the most natural looking stride when I use this. I trigger the shutter, either from the camera itself or from the app, position myself on the edge of the frame, and then start walking through just as the 10-second timer ends.

  3. Camera Connect app: when it works, it allows me to change almost all my settings for my shot, shutter speed, aperture, iso, drive mode, etc. It also allows me to set the focus.

Downfalls of each

  1. Remote: because it is infrared its range is not great, it has to have a line of sight. Ambient lighting conditions also affect it, it struggles in really bright sun. It doesn't seem to be able to trigger continuous mode (although my old camera it could, so maybe I just don't remember how to set it up properly.) Sometimes it is really obvious that I'm holding it or trying to hide it. Sometimes it totally fails on the focus. There is a way to kind of get it to focus properly with the remote, but it only works if you are the clear and obvious main subject, otherwise, it might choose something more prominent to focus on.

  2. Continuous: it can be really hard to get the focus right. If I'm trying to use this without the app I have to take test shots until it nails the focus point, then set the lens to manual focus, and hope that I walk through the right spot. If I use continuous in conjunction with the app then it does pretty well.

  3. Camera Connect app: Honestly, this app pretty much sucks. It is super slow and laggy, its a pain in the butt to use. I thought it was just my old iPhone, but it reacts exactly the same on my brothers iPhone X. Even though its wifi, if you get too far away it won't actually keep up with the camera unless you turn and give it a direct line of sight. If there is like trees in the way, or if I have my back to the camera, it just refuses to update or take a shot. The only reason I still use it is because it is the easiest way to nail focus. And since I don't want to take 50 test shots when its cold outside, I tend to default to this. Also annoying, when you download photos from the camera to your phone over the wifi, it strips out your EXIF data.

So that's the basic rundown of how I get my self-portrait shots. It's a lot more involved than holding out my iPhone and snapping a shot, though some days I do still do that.

If I missed anything or if you'd like a more in-depth explanation of anything, let me know in the comments. Otherwise, enjoy a few shots from this afternoons walk.