All You Need to Know About How to Use a Selfie Stick

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who love selfies, and those who hate fun.

Just kidding. But either you hate selfies or you love ‘em, and at PicMonkey, we love selfies. Naturally, our fascination has extended to the selfie stick phenomenon. Through rigorous research conducted during the office Halloween party, PicMonkey Labs has answered some of the universe’s toughest questions on this mysterious tool. Today, we unveil our findings on how to use selfie sticks.

Pictured: science.

Why should I get a selfie stick?

There are many excellent reasons to consider the selfie stick:

  • You have stubby T-Rex arms.

  • You’re tired of trying to cram all your friends into frame when you take group shots.

  • You’re looking for a sneaky way to fight off assailants.

  • You’ve cherished a lifelong dream of becoming a baton twirler, but your strict parents wouldn’t let you try out for the team. I’LL SHOW YOU, DAD!

Perhaps the most compelling reason, however, is that it seems like fun.

But won’t the stick be in like, every shot?

You’d think the major downside of the selfie stick would be the intrusion. However, our field researchers had difficulty getting the stick into shots, even when they were purposefully trying to sabotage their photo op.

If you do end up with a case of invasive selfie stick, PicMonkey has a fix! Just hop over to the Clone tool and see how deftly this tool can magically replace pixels of your pic like they were never there.

How do selfie sticks work?

Selfie sticks can appear intimidating, but they are easy-like-Sunday-morning-simple to use. You put your phone into the bracket at the end of the selfie stick. The stick will sync up to your phone in one of two ways: wirelessly or with a cable. Push the button to operate the stick’s shutter.


What can I do with a selfie stick that I can’t do with my phone or camera?

Fit more people in the frame (and get rid of the need for a Designated Photographer). A selfie stick makes it easy to fit all your friends in one shot. Best of all, nobody has to be the Baby-in-a-corner taking the photo instead of being in it.

Pictured: a sad selfie, alone and sans selfie stick.

Pictured: a happy selfie, enabled by the long reach of the selfie stick.

Add context to your selfies. If you do have stubby T-Rex arms, taking selfies can be a frustrating and even pointless endeavor because you can’t fit anything in the frame. The selfie stick provides distance between the camera and your subject (you!), so you can capture more: the skyline behind you, an art installation in the background, you name it.

Get more angles. The selfie stick is essentially a handheld tripod. That means you can get some truly fun and original angles going—to enrich your selfies or to take interesting photos of friends.

Self-ception. If you have two selfie sticks, you can take a selfie stick selfie of yourself taking a selfie stick selfie of yourself.

Or did we just blow your mind?

Whoa, there’s a ton of these out there! Which selfie stick should I buy?

There are, in fact, a ton of selfie sticks out there. Here at PicMonkey, we did our own comparison between two types: a wireless Bluetooth stick, and a pocket selfie stick with a 3.5mm cable.

Here’s the skinny: Both of these sticks work great with an iPhone. They also both claim to be “universal,” but warn that Android phones may require a third-party photo app before they’ll work properly. PicMonkey’s JV product testers had no success using the selfie sticks with Android phones, but they also didn’t try installing any apps because they had “work to do” and “seriously, give me back my phone.”

Above: Merkury Innovations pocket selfie stick with AUX cable. Below: Tzumi wireless shutter selfie stick with Bluetooth.

As you may have guessed, the pocket selfie stick doesn’t have the reach of its bigger siblings, with a maximum reach of 30” compared to the Bluetooth stick’s max of 39”. The pocket selfie stick also has a “clamp” attachment, while the Bluetooth stick has a “cradle.” The clamp holds a phone in place on two sides, while a cradle snuggles it close on all four sides. We didn’t have problems with slippage on either stick, but if you’re worried about your phone flying away, a model with a cradle attachment may be your best bet.

Our product testers had no issues using the Bluetooth stick with an iPhone. However, though they are highly trained, they did consistently forget to turn on the selfie stick, connect their phone via Bluetooth, then turn it off after use to prevent its battery from draining. If that many steps sounds daunting, you may be happier with a plug-and-play model.

One benefit of the Bluetooth selfie stick: it has a rear-facing mirror that allows you to take pictures using your phone’s superior rear-facing camera.

Does the pocket selfie stick really fit in your pocket?

Unless you favor dungarees or cargo pants, the pocket selfie stick will most likely not fit in your pocket. If it does fit, it’ll look weird. (“Is that a selfie stick in your pocket, or are you about to hit me with a wrench?”) Where it will fit: purses, backpacks (even mini backpacks), and fanny packs of 7” long or more.

Are selfie sticks waterproof?

Unless the packaging or marketing materials explicitly state that your selfie stick is waterproof, do not assume that it is waterproof. That’s a good life lesson for a lot of things, actually: don’t assume it’s waterproof.

Hey, a lot of people are saying selfie sticks are ridiculous. Is the selfie stick ridiculous?

Selfie sticks are totally ridiculous. But we’re gonna throw it back to you, dear reader: why be ordinary? Why. Be. Ordinary? Party like the roof is on fire and a selfie stick is your best hope of reaching the sprinklers in time!

…In seriousness, we at PicMonkey believe that you deserve amazing photos, however you get there. Let the world laugh! As long as you wield your selfie stick safely, wield it with pride.

Bring out the best in your photos when you get a PicMonkey membership.
Elisa Chavez

Elisa Chavez is a content writer here at PicMonkey, where she hopes to change the world one dinosaur selfie at a time. She is also a nationally ranked slam poet, champion shopper, and doting dog mama.