Using Your Camera’s Self Timer

Sometimes it is awkward to pick who is going to take a group picture.  Who is most expendable in the group?  Who is basically worth as much as a tripod?  Today’s tip will help you get great group photos and avoid hurting anyone’s feelings.

When you are taking a picture normally, you push the shutter button (the big round button on top of your camera) down and it takes the picture.  But digital cameras nowadays come with a built-in self timer.  This feature gives you a window of time between when you push the shutter button down and when the picture is actually captured, allowing you just enough time to run into the shot and pose (quickly) for the picture.

Setting the Self Timer

While all cameras are a bit different when it comes to setting the self timer, generally there will be an icon that looks like this on your camera:

Self Timer Icon

Oftentimes this icon is located on the back of the camera on one side of the scroll wheel.  If the camera is more advanced, it is possible that it is located in a menu instead of simply a button.  But all you do is activate the self timer and you should see the above icon pop up on the screen.  Then compose your photo, push the shutter button and run into the shot.  You will likely see a light flashing on the front of the camera.  This is the indicator that the timer is ticking.  Once the light becomes solid, it is time to smile for the photo.

Use a Tripod

As much fun as it is to build a pyramid of books or try balancing your camera precariously on a railing, it is probably worth investing in a small tripod.  One tripod that I have used before for a lightweight camera is the Sunpak Tabletop Tripod.  It is relatively inexpensive (right now $12.95 on and gives you a lot of flexibility when setting up group shots, especially if there is also a setting you want as a backdrop.  All you do is screw the top of the tripod into the socket on the bottom of your camera.  A small tripod like this one will quickly help you take much better self timed pictures.