Selfie Stick Ettiquette – “Camera? What’s that?” Oh, they’re still around! More and more often, they’re part of an individual’s mobile phone. Digital camera technology has grown exponentially in the last couple of decades, and these improvements have been passed along to phone cameras. And it’s not surprising that tools have been created allowing photographers to be in the picture too. “Telescopic extenders” that allow photographers to take self-portraits were patented in 1983 and available in the United States beginning in 2005 for compact cameras. They’ve proven to be a good tool for phone cameras as well. But as with everything else, there are dos and don’ts practices that come with innovations.

Selfie stick monopod

Tips for Shooting with A Selfie Stick

1. Selfies Aren’t Appropriate at Sober Locations and Events

Remember the young lady who has flamed online a couple of years ago for posting selfies of a trip abroad? The problem was, she wasn’t at an amusement park- she was at the World War II death camp Auschwitz. She did offer an apology and explanation as to why she took and shared these pictures. But the fact remains that not every location is appropriate for pictures. As a rule, memorials honouring the dead, memorial services, and funerals are usually not appropriate selfie subjects.

2. Selfie + Unintentional One

The range offered by selfie sticks means that sometimes unexpected subjects show up in the background of your pictures. If it’s an image that is going to be in any way public, then courtesy at the very least requires that you get that person’s permission. An exception to this would be a “public person in a public place”, such as a movie star or a politician.

3. Selfie Safety

The best selfie sticks allow users to focus on capturing images with minimal setup. But photographers or videographers should never forget safety. Never attempt to take pictures while operating a moving vehicle of any type. Remember that unless it’s somebody’s long suffering pet, animals (especially wild ones) don’t care for pictures. And although the cliff, the lava, and the ocean make dramatic backdrops, if you want to include them in your selfie, make sure that you can do so without endangering yourself or others.

4. Accident/Crime Scene Selfies

Unless you’re a police or media photographer, you should not be stopping and taking selfies at these locations. It’s in stupendously bad taste, potentially dangerous and often illegal. Are you the first one at one of these unfortunate scenes? By all means, pull out your phone-and call for help.

5. Nude/”Intimate” Selfies

There may be selfies taken and shared of this type that turns out well. But that may be because the photographers/subjects are very discrete. Those who don’t usually end up embarrassing themselves and viewers and worse.

6. The Selfie Stick

One of the most important tips for shooting with a selfie stick? Don’t let it interfere with anyone else’s enjoyment of a view, a concert, etc. These devices are increasingly being banned at public venues of all types because of their interference with public viewing by others. Selfie sticks used in public should be brief and discrete. Don’t block the view of others, and be aware of the room when operating with it to avoid injury.

7. The Public “Stunt” Selfie

Slipping under a barrier in a museum to pose next to a famous painting and forcing startled strangers in public restrooms to pose in a group shot may seem hilarious, but the laughs might not be worth it in the long run. The stunt selfie taken in your driveway may be less dramatic than vaulting that traffic cone on 5th Avenue. But it’s safer and less costly in more ways than one.

In conclusion, as smartphone use becomes the norm for generations of children, etiquette for not just phone use but using it as a camera needs to be in place. The best tips for shooting with a selfie stick for all ages is a courtesy, discretion, and learning to utilize it to take selfies truly worth seeing.