North Texas Daily

Selfie stick trend extends photo possibilities

Selfie stick trend extends photo possibilities

Selfie stick trend extends photo possibilities
January 20
00:11 2015

Samantha McDonald / Senior Staff Writer

Selfies have gained momentum in the last year.

From interactive filters to shutter-release remotes, almost any gadget, app or fixture that contributes to a better-looking self-portrait has seen increasing demand.

As Instagram constantly reminds us the importance of finding our best angles, out comes another innovation: an expandable rod-like apparatus that makes it easier to strike poses for the camera.

The latest trend in digital accessories, the selfie stick, resembles a monopod that attaches to a smartphone, allowing a person to snap photos that require more than an arm’s stretch to shoot. While some critics call it the “narcissi-stick,” selfie enthusiasts laud the invention as a technological advancement for the times.

“I thought it was the coolest thing when I got it,” education senior Lauren Pugh said. “I spent the day using it and messing around with it.”

Pugh, whose brother got her a selfie stick for Christmas, enjoys taking pictures with friends and is often called “queen of the selfies” in her family. She said there have been times when she would get an invite to an event and realize that a selfie stick would make it easier to snap group photos.

“Phones have become our cameras these days,” Pugh said. “And no one wants an arm in a picture.”

How it works

Although the history of the selfie stick can be traced two decades back in Japan, The New York Times reported that the stick didn’t begin selling in the United States until a year after Utah-based company iStabilizer released its smartphone tripod in 2010.

Despite a price range from $5 to more than $50, selfie sticks have been flying off shelves in electronic and department stores across the country. Among these is the Denton Walmart Supercenter, where store representative Nicholas Keith said the holiday shopping nearly eliminated their remaining stock.

“We do get asked about every other week or so about them,” Keith said. “It’s kind of a popular item.”

Some features of the selfie stick include rotation, a headphone jack for video-taking purposes and compatibility with virtually all smartphones and cameras on the market.

However, most people who buy the sticks use them primarily with their smartphones, Keith said.

“It’s designed so that you can plug it onto your phone and click a button on the stick to take pictures for you,” he said.

GoPro cameras

Founded in 2002, GoPro has become one of the most well known producers of digital cameras. Its high-definition still and video camera allows owners to take a decent selfie – particularly one that involves a group rather than a single person – when affixed to a selfie stick.

“The GoPro is ideal for the selfie stick because it’s small and light,” photojournalism professor Thorne Anderson said. “It has a wide-angle lens that will easily take in a small group of people at a little more than arm’s length away.”

Unlike smartphones on selfie sticks, the GoPro is typically encased in a durable shell that is both shock-resistant and waterproof, making it a prized device among extreme sports photographers and videographers. At a price tag that ranges up to $500, it maintains the ability to take pictures and footage while being mounted on everything from motorcycles to helmets to surfboards.

“It can even record action shots while keeping a stable image,” Keith said. “It still gives high-quality video even under those circumstances.”

However, the GoPro’s few buttons allow only minimal control for a professional photographer who may be more inclined to periodically adjust his or her camera’s settings.

Anderson said although the GoPro makes a good companion for those focusing on their activities rather than the camera, it can become wearisome to deal with a wide-angle’s ability to “distort the sense of space” in pictures and videos.

“As a photographer who cares about the art of photography, I think GoPros should really be used only in those situations where no other camera will go – in or around water or attached to a drone or a helmet,” Anderson said. “But if using a real camera is practical then I’d much rather do that.”

Featured Image: Senior Staff Photographer Byron Thompson takes a photograph with his new selfie stick. Photo by Edward Balusek – Visuals Editor

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