Time for a personal post! I’m sharing our anniversary photos, which I was able to DIY at home without an extra set of hands. Read on for the backstory and some tips on capturing self-portraits with a remote and tripod…
We had our five year wedding anniversary planned LAST YEAR- a trip to the Galapagos Islands via charter boat, coupled with a few days exploring Quito. It was the perfect celebration of ‘us’: travel and adventure in a new destination. Then March came around, and COVID-19 with it. “No worries, it should be gone by May,” as we bunkered down at home. April came, then May, and the world continued shutting down. May 23 arrived, and instead of peering through a set of binoculars checking out a blue-footed booby, we ordered delivery from Masseria and MilkBar (both sinfully delicious).
I couldn’t let this milestone pass us by without documenting it (“Honey, this is when Grandma and Grandpa celebrated our anniversary during the pandemic” – oh how interesting those conversations will sound in 50 years, after this passes us by). Alas, with everything shut down, I was left to my own devices and resorted to capturing our photos with a remote and tripod. Talk about an exercise in patience and giggles! I share a few tips below, should you embark on this endeavor yourself. But first, the good stuff. Darren and I bought this home about a year after getting married, and promptly ripped it apart to make it our own. Kitchen, floors, later our basement, bathrooms- almost no room has been left untouched in this labor of love. Yet despite all the work, for many years, I have felt like a stranger in my own house. It didn’t quite feel like ‘home’ yet, but there’s something about being in it 24/7 for months now that has finally allowed us to settle in and find refuge and comfort during these unsettling times. All that to say- home is where we celebrated and documented our marriage of 5 years. When all of this is over, I will still have that travel credit to the Galapagos, in addition to these fond memories at home with my partner and best friend during these unprecedented times. For that, I am truly thankful.
Tips for self-portraits with a remote and tripod:
- Plan for 2-3x the time that regular portraits take– I would say we ended up shooting for about an hour, and I ultimately kept around 20 photos. A lot of time was spent checking the back of the camera, running back into ‘position’, and then retaking the same photo a few times to ensure we nailed focus.
- Go into your session with a plan– Self-portraits require far more timing due to setting up the tripod and moving it. So I shot all of the living room photos first, allowing for breaks to switch between portrait and landscape camera orientation, then moving the tripod closer, etc. The better your plan is (mine was not very good, hah!) the less time you will waste running back and forth to the back of your camera
- Get a good remote and tripod– Could you just use the self-timer button on your camera? Maybe, but I think you’d be a bit of a grumpy mess afterwards. It’s far easier to use a remote. It’s best to get one with a timer delay. Mine has a 2 second lapse, which allowed me to point the remote at the camera to fire the trigger, then hide the remote somewhere (tossed behind the couch, wedged in your significant other’s back pocket, you know…) and still have time to place my arms in the correct position. The tripod is probably self explanatory- one with a level and ball head that can sufficiently support the weight of your camera and lens is important (I have this one but if I had to buy again, I’d get this)
- Have fun– Lastly, don’t forget to have fun! It’s easy to get frustrated when taking self-portraits with a remote and tripod, but some of the best moments you will capture will happen organically. I’ll also point out that if you think that this is beyond your realm of capability, hiring a professional is always a great idea (*waves hello*)
So there you have it friends! Happy photoshoot, and if you do happen to utilize my tips for shooting portraits with a remote a tripod, please share with me!