The Agony of Taking a Self Portrait

A few days ago I wanted to take a picture to show you guys my new mustache scarf. I seriously heart it. No one was home, and I when I upgraded to the Canon 7D (uh, like, three years ago), I never got around to getting a new remote. Which, I don’t know why, because I loved that thing and used it all the time. Nevertheless, I felt certain I could accomplish more than just an Instagram selfie to show off my major crush on this fun scarf.

Here’s how it went down.

The Agony of Taking a Self Portrait

Step one: Need to figure out how to focus on a subject (me) that’s not actually *in* the photo yet.

The Agony of Taking a Self Portrait

Um, no. Not quite.

The Agony of Taking a Self Portrait

Should I stack up pillows? Note to self: Buy a dress form.

The Agony of Taking a Self Portrait

Here’s where I caved and tried to figure out the fancy remote Kevin got me for Christmas. It was never taken out of the box, and surprisingly more complicated than one would think a camera remote should be. When I finally got it all set up, (after reading the manual cover to cover — which was not originally written in English and had some serious translation issues — and after watching a YouTube video) I tried it out for the first time and promptly dropped the brand new fancy-but-complicated remote on the concrete and it smashed into a million pieces.


Needless to say, it never worked right after that.

The Agony of Taking a Self Portrait

Unfazed! I decided to press on. If I have one thing going for me, it’s stubbornness. You can’t beat someone who never gives up. Self portrait you will not beat me!!

The Agony of Taking a Self Portrait

Getting closer! I’m almost in the frame now!

The Agony of Taking a Self Portrait

Once I figured out where to stand, I had to wait between gusts of wind to take each shot. Sometimes it wouldn’t be windy when I pressed the button, but 15 seconds later when the timer when off… surprise gust of wind right before the beep!

Is that hair sticking in my lip gloss?!



The Agony of Taking a Self Portrait

Now might be a good time for a hair brush break.

Hello hair. Can you look like this every day, please?

Gotcha! I’m going inside to lay down on the couch now.

And never get up.

Have a great weekend, friends!

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52 Responses
  1. Lydia

    I also used to take a selfie to try to show off my new hair. However, it was quite difficult, I spent hours and finally picked one. I really understand how you feel

  2. Eric

    Very nice blog … love the images. I just upgraded to a G12 from a G6. The G12’s LCD can face forward for easy selfies – not that I’m into that.

  3. Anne

    I don’t like selfies either…I don’t know how these young girls do it.
    I use a tripod and a bright pink post-it on the wall to focus, then use my timer while I jump in front. Not very exciting but has proven to be successful. For a selfie anyway.
    I think I will stick to taking pics of food, crafts and my kids….

  4. Amanda Bumgarner

    I really appreciate this post so much! I have this SAME problem. It’s SO NICE to know that big-time bloggers like yourself have my same issues. Sorry for the all caps, but that’s how excited I am about this post :)

  5. Ashley @CenterCutCook

    I am so glad you documented what I’m sure everyone goes through when they try to do a selfie! By the way… cute scarf! :)

  6. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking

    Haha! You look lovely in every single one of them, Amanda! But seriously. The wind needs to chill the &$#% out sometimes. Doesn’t it know when you’re trying to look PERFECT? Ugh.

  7. Jelli

    I just got my hands on my first DSLR this weekend and tried my 1st selfie today. So glad to see that the bloggy pros like you even have difficulties sometimes. I encountered that same focal problem this morning, but with no remote never did figure out how to remedy it. If you ever to a tutorial on that, I’m all ears…er, eyes! Thanks for the giggle!

  8. Julia @ hungryandconfused

    LOVE the scarf. I am no good at taking selfies – I usually end up with my arm in them or it being totally wonky!

  9. Ayisha

    Hi Amanda new follower here. I just want to say that it is good to know that even a “Real” photographer has difficulty taking a selfie. :-)

  10. Crystal Williams-Brown

    I feel your pain. Most times I just give up. I need a better photo for my website but every time I consider taking one I think about how it will probably come out horrible. But you encourage me to give it a go. Persistence is key, right?

  11. Erin

    This is adorable. I love a peek into the behind the scenes of staging blog pics. You’re more persistent than I am; after the 3rd out of focus pic, I would have gathered up that scarf over the grill (isn’t that everyone’s staging area?), taken its picture, and called it a day.

  12. Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen

    Perfect post for me to start my day with a smile! Good for you for hanging in there! Normally when I finally get in the frame and looking good I am hopelessly frustrated and not smiling. :)

  13. Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective

    Love this! Selfies are sooooo hard to do! (and make them look right) Your stubbornness totally paid off! Beautiful photo! :)

  14. Christine

    I placed an order for that scarf! Too cute!! I have a feeling my 13 year old will steal it though…she loves mustaches! I have a 5D mark ii and had a remote for my 40D. I was surprised I was still able to use it on my 5d! I got mine off of Ebay pretty cheap ($20?) several years ago. I don’t take many self portraits, but it’s great for using it on my tripod and needed a slow shutter speed.

  15. Jocelyn @BruCrew Life

    Oh my goodness…this was too funny! I think because I have been there trying to do that before too! I can never get the focus right and trying to run back to the right spot before the timer goes off is always comical I’m sure! But you got an amazing shot, even if the remote bit the dust! Girl, that scarf is way fun and you are adorable!

  16. Sandy_in_MD

    Great post – you final result turned out fantastic. I had a thought about a solution other than a dress form – stick a dowel stick that is your height into a container filled with plaster, then put a close to life size head shot at the same level as your head. Place this where you want to stand. I think this would trick the camera into focusing correctly, plus give an okay check on the lighting too? It would probably be easy to shove this piece aside in time for you to take its’ place. Not sure if it would work, but it popped into my mind as I was reading your post, so I thought I would pass it along.

  17. Susan

    I’m cracking up! Great post!! I’d love to know about the cute, colorful pillows behind you that I can barely see, but KNOW i’m gonna LOVE!!! Those are the colors I use on my patio!!

  18. Michelle (The 3AM Teacher)

    Okay!! Aside from laughing hysterically…because… I think we have ALL been here before… I couldn’t help but notice how stinkin’ cute your scarf is!! Thanks for the laugh!!!


  19. Rosemary S.

    Hilarious!! Now, little amateur-hobbyist-with-the-camera doesn’t feel so bad about her efforts! :)

    I’m so sorry to hear that your fancy remote came to such a sad end! I love my little remote, by the way……….but, even though it’s a Canon product, it’s instruction sheet was also written in at least 3 languages, none of them English!

    Thanks for providing my Friday-morning-smile! Hope you’re recovered now, from your ordeal. :)

    Take care…………..Rosemary

  20. jenny Flake

    Oh my gosh I am totally cracking up!! What a cute post and you got a killer photo, great job! Love the scarf and love the cute picture of you! See you soon girl! xoxo

    1. Amanda

      Lol! I needed you there to take another photo!! :) I thought I felt like a dork asking you to take that one of me in my maxi dress, but I had no idea what humiliation was until my neighbor came outside and caught me trying to take this one by myself, lol!! :) Can’t wait to see you soon!! :) xoxo

  21. Cody Doll

    Very cute. Don’t worry I don’t have a remote so I have to pretty much that. Click the shutter button run to my spot and wait 10 sec for the camera to go off. Luckily for me my camera has a light on the front that counts down for me so I don’t have to mental do it.

  22. Jeremy Blanton

    I was seriously considering the 7D as my next purchase. But, the flip out screen that the t3i has makes me not want anything from now on that doesn’t have that option. Comes in handy so many times when you want to shoot self vids & portraits. At least I know when I’m in the frame with it LOL. Now, to get a remote for focusing.

  23. Heather

    You are seriously so pretty, and this post is hilarious! I haven’t tried more than an IG selfie, but I can’t imagine any would turn out this good ;)

  24. Alanna | Toronto Mama

    This is so funny! You are too cute, Amanda. I’m still in Instagram selfie mode, so no fancy remotes for me. There are several self-timer apps you can buy for iPhone. They may save you a bit of time!

    1. Amanda

      Oh, LOL, I thought you meant you could use your iPhone as a remote for the DSLR! :) Wishful thinking!! :)

  25. Jenny - Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

    Oh my goodness. Reading the play-by-play cracked me up, but I can SO relate! I just got a new haircut (over 12 inches cut off for Locks of Love!) and was desperately trying to take a selfie of my new ‘do. Why is it that something that seems so easy is so darn difficult?

    Eventually, I gave up and went for the Myspacey mirror shot. Oh well!

  26. Ali | Gimme Some Oven

    Oh my goodness — I love it! I gave up on selfies with my “big girl camera” years ago. Could never get the focus right, so always resorted to Instagram. Now I need to get a remote!!!

    More importantly, you look completely beautiful in these photos. And I love that scarf!

  27. Rhonda

    Scarf is really cute. I’m interested in shirt,where’d ya find it, so flattering. Ofcourse I feel ya on the self portrait. I tried to do one of me and husband and kids. It was painful but finally got there too.

  28. Anele @ Success Along the Weigh

    OMG, I can’t count how many times I’ve done this! I’ve seriously considered getting a pic of my big head on a stick to slap on a wall or for the Mr to hold when I want us both in focus in a timed pic. I can only imagine the looks we’d get in public! Sorry about the remote. Oh yeah and thhbppt is a familiar sound made by all of us glossy gals…rarely good. :-)

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Meet Kevin & Amanda

Kevin and Amanda

We love to travel and to eat! Here we share our favorite quick and easy recipes, plus travel tips and guides for our favorite places around the world. If you have any questions about what camera I use or how I edit my photos, check out my photography tutorials.


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