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How I learned to love the selfie stick

iPhone selfie sticks used to appeal to me about as much as taking photos with an iPad. I didn't think it was possible for me to loathe an accessory more, and when I first saw it, I literally face-palmed.

Yet the impossible has happened: I went on vacation and quickly found myself on a mad search across London for the one object I swore I'd never buy. Yes, you heard me right — I bought a selfie stick, and it was totally worth it.

How I learned to love the selfie stick

I'll start by saying that I consider myself a pretty prepared person. I have lists for lists — and then maybe even a list for that. So when I started packing items for an upcoming European vacation with my partner and two close friends, I thought we had every accessory that we could possibly need. An Olloclip, my Nikon, a fancy wide angle lens, my new tripod (opens in new tab), and more.

Nowhere on my list, however, was a selfie stick. No way — we didn't need that. And if anyone had told me I would've been on a frantic hunt for one in just a few short days, I would have laughed them out of the room.

And then the subpar selfies commenced.

How I learned to love the selfie stick

On the left is a photo that took four attempts to get the Tower Bridge in the background. Each time, one of our heads was in the way, or I couldn't hold my hand steady enough without earning the title of Mr. Blurry Cam.

The one on the right, well, it speaks for itself. Not only can you see Tower Bridge, but I snapped an angle I could have never gotten with just my arm. Selfie stick: 1. Ally: 0.

How I learned to love the selfie stick

Honestly, the selfie stick should really be called the groupie stick. That's where it really shines, and what I like most about it. It's hard enough getting a shot of one or two people with subject matter in the background; squeeze in four people, and it's just plain awkward. The shot above shows me failing at getting an acceptable group selfie of four people with only my arm; below are two shots using the selfie stick that only took one take to shoot.

How I learned to love the selfie stick

Aside from getting great group shots, I quickly realized that the selfie stick is fantastic for capturing accidental moments. There were numerous times where I accidentally snapped photos while setting up for a shot, but they ended up being some of my favorites from the entire trip.

A perfect example is the main image of this article: It was totally a half-accidental, half-silly shot from a set of bursts I didn't mean to take. Below are accidental pictures we took while trying to figure out the selfie stick and just being silly. Comical and great memories we won't forget — all thanks to the selfie stick.

How I learned to love the selfie stick

Now, I still think there's a time and place for selfie sticks. Will I be taking it with me to every event I attend? No. But will I bring it with me on vacations and to events where I don't want to take my DSLR camera everywhere (or at all)? Absolutely. Not only is it much easier to set up and control than a remote, or my regular camera, but smartphone cameras are even getting good enough to do the heavy lifting on their own. And if a selfie stick is the accessory that finally makes me confident enough to leave my heavy camera bag at home, I'm okay with that. So to all you selfie stick users out there, rock on. I get it now.

Do you own a selfie stick? If so, how do you feel about it? If not, let me know your thoughts on them regardless. And if you're interested in picking one up, hit the link below!

  • iMore store - $34.95 - Buy now
  • Amazon - $20 and up - Buy now (opens in new tab)

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.

20 Comments
  • I got one for Christmas with my iPhone 6 Plus. Love it!!!! Sent from the iMore App
  • What's the brand? Where do you get it?
  • No!!!!! Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm a little concerned about my iPhone 6 falling out of one. How sturdy are they? How do you actually press the camera button?
  • I assume you use the timer in the camera app. Sent from the iMore App
  • Some selfie sticks have a built-in shutter button that works via Bluetooth.
  • One can use the button on the earbuds as a remote shutter release... it may be the sticks have the mechanics of the earbuds to use as a remote shutter button.
  • They are clamped in there with a spring. Unless someone knocks it pretty hard, they aren't going to fall out. Some are bluetooth and have a button, that's how mine is. The button controls the camera shutter. Some plug into the headphone jack and just like headphones, the button triggers the camera shutter. I think some are just sticks and you use the timer, but the bluetooth or headphone jack ones are the best bet.
  • I'd feel stupid using one. Then again i said that about using a 6plus and here i am. Sent from the iMore App
  • You'll always feel stupid, just roll with it.
  • I got a Selfie Stick as more of a gag gift for Christmas. (Our local hardware store sells Polaroid versions for less than $20 with a mail in rebate.) We laughed it off until I opened it up and tried it out with an overhead group shot. Let's just say I'm a Selfie Stick believer now too! It is a Bluetooth device with a shutter button on the handle. My iPhone 5s fits very securely in the cradle without any fears of it slipping out. Just open your camera app, extend the pole, press the button on the handle and SNAP! Great shots you could never get with just your arm!
  • According to the item description: "The iStabilizer Monopod fits devices up to 2.75" (7cm) wide. Please check your device's dimensions before purchasing. Larger devices will need to purchase the buy together option with the XL Mount. If you are unsure please call customer support for more information." My iPhone 6 Plus is about 3" wide (closer to 3.25" with the case). So, according to the above, I need to get the XL mount? It's just throwing me off because "wamadden4" did not mention anything about having to have the XL Mount. I did a search for "XL Mount" and wasn't able to find anything. Also, Ally, how do you take a picture with this specific one with it not being in your hand? Do you have to use the mic button on the earbuds or does it have a Bluetooth shutter option (as mentioned by "fat_overaotor")?
  • Probably won't fit the 6 plus. I linked amazon as well. check out the new link i added. I haven't actually used the one in the iMore store, mine I paid an ungodly amount for in a dept store in London. Works great and is Bluetooth but you can get Bluetooth ones for a cheaper price online.
  • The accidental ones are my favorites too!
  • A lot of people tend to forget that you don't have to take "selfies" with it. It's useful for raising your device over the heads of a crowd to snap photos too. You can use it to hold your device over a crevas and other situations you yourself can't get in.
  • I could have it for just around 2$, 10$ up for a selfie stick with bluetooth, you just need to press the button on the bottom of the stick
  • Sorry, but selfies are for narcissists. Quite why people are now obsessed with photographs of themselves is truly baffling. When I travel I want to see my environment, not me, as funnily enough, I know what I look like already. As for the selfie stick, it really is as bad, perhaps even worse, than tablet photography. It's obnoxious in the extreme.
  • I'm not a huge fan of selfies but not against them. As @Allyson-Kazmucha said, the selfie stick really shines for group photos. True narcissists aren't going to be taking too many group photos.
  • This may seem odd, but flipping the phone around and using the selfie stick to take a photo with the rear camera, is really appealing. Especially for low light selfies.
  • the selfie stick is very common here in indonesia, all of my friends are using it they tend to take selfie everywhere with funny face (Duck Face) around
    i'm not really into selfie stick but it is interesting to see the way people do selfie with selfie stick :) any style of picture would be Possible for them
    and now Go Pro is being trend here in indonesia :) another modern Selfie stick