How to Take the PERFECT Self-Timer Photo

One of the biggest things you all tell me is stopping you from creating your own content is not having a person to take your photos. Although I am lucky to have a mom and sister who take the majority of my photos, there are days when they’re too busy to do so. When this happens, I resort to self-timer.

Self-timer can be used on phones and cameras alike, so everyone has access to it. It can be a struggle to learn how to master self-timer, so in today’s blog post I am sharing four tips on shooting with self-timer. I want you all to be able to create the content you have desired to and self-timer is one of the best ways to begin doing so! Let’s get into it!

*Side note: All photos in this post were taken on self-timer! My sister and I wanted to shoot together, but no one was around to take our photos so we did it ourselves. If you want a deeper look into how we did so, head to my Instagram @absolutelyolivia for BTS videos of this shoot.*


First things first, you do not need a tripod (iPhone or camera) to take a good self-timer shot! I have never used a tripod to take a single Self-Timer photo. Instead, prop your camera up on whatever is around. For the photos in this post, my camera was propped up on a pile of bricks and tipped upward to create the low angle affect. In the father away photos, it was rested on a discarded metal shelf. If you have a tripod, by all means use it, but I’m living proof that it isn’t necessary. Don’t let the lack of a tripod stop you from taking photos!


Know the poses and angles you want before getting to the location. This way, you can spend more time adjusting the shots than setting up the shots. If you’re short on time too, running through the shoot mentally can also help to cut down the amount of time spent shooting overall. It can be difficult to get the shots you want without someone directly behind the camera, so know what you want.

Also, be sure to brainstorm places you can set up the camera if you don’t have a tripod. My sister and I have tried taking self-timer photos in a field, and although they turned out okay, it took awhile to find a way to set up our camera. Make sure you can think of a few places for the camera to rest, and you can always use your car as a backup resting place!


Setting up the shot to capture yourself exactly how you want can be VERY difficult when using self-timer. If it’s just you and your camera, find an object in the frame that you can position yourself off of to make sure no part of your body is being cut off. For example, I will use trees or light poles to judge the place I should stand to get the best photo. This also helps you know how close/faraway the shot will be.

If you’re shooting with someone else (like my sister and I did), get them to stand in the frame as you set up the shot. This allows for greater precision and less error.


When taking self-timer photos, it could take you 100 tries or only 10 tries to get the shots exactly how you want. As always, patience is key! When I’m shooting on timer, I always take time to look at every shot once it’s been taken. This way I can adjust the angle, zoom, etc. of the camera to make the next shot better than the previous one. Sometimes this even entails moving the camera to a new location completely if the lighting or positioning is way off.

When it comes to self-timer photos, practice (or adjustment in this case) makes perfect. It can be scary at first to go it alone when shooting, so I recommend getting used to taking self-timer photos at home first and then when you feel ready, take your camera or phone out into the real world to shoot!

I hope you all enjoyed this post and learned a bit about self-timer shooting. Feel free to leave me any further questions or tips of your own in the comments or DM me on Instagram @absolutelyolivia 🙂 Thanks for reading!

Love, Olivia

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