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I know that selfies are an "evil" of this generation, and you're never going to get a good picture when taking one of yourself, let alone when you are unable to compose it bc you can't see the viewfinder, but I have a technical question. My current camera is a canon s95 which is incredible. However my wife and I often find that if we try to take picture of ourselves with something in the background, eg. when we are traveling, we take up so much space in the picture and can't see anything else. Of course this is the nature of a selfie, to some extent, but is this also related to the zoom angle? The widest angle on the s95 is 28mm. If I were to use a camera or lens with a wider angle (eg. 24mm), would that make a significant difference? How much difference does 28mm vs. 24mm (wide angle) have on taking selfies?

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    Rather than considering a whole new camera, as the S95 is a rather nice little thing, you could chuck a small tripod in your backpack for these shots. This would allow you to compose you shot with your wife and use the self timer for the photo. Gorillapods are tiny enough to go in your pocket and can grip onto benches, railings, or branches or you could look into a light weight monopod to extend your reach if you don't want to let go of your camera – alex Apr 27 '14 at 7:07
  • @Alex You should post that as an answer – Philip Kendall Apr 27 '14 at 8:29
  • @PhilipKendall done. – alex Apr 27 '14 at 12:29
  • I'd argue this isn't really a duplicate - the underlying question is "how can I take better self-portraits?", which Alex's answer does very well, rather than the literal "will 24mm give me better self portraits"? – Philip Kendall Apr 27 '14 at 20:34
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Rather than considering a whole new camera, as the S95 is a rather nice little thing, you could chuck a small tripod in your backpack for these shots.

This would allow you to compose you shot with your wife and use the self timer for the photo.

Gorillapods are tiny enough to go in your pocket and can grip onto benches, railings, or branches or you could look into a light weight monopod to extend your reach if you don't want to let go of your camera.

  • Isn't a selfie supposed to be done holding the camera yourself? I thought that was the point. Otherwise, everything you say is right. – Itai Apr 28 '14 at 0:56
  • Are there rules for seflfies? I always thought of it as just shorthand or slang for self portrait. Anyway, the OP called them evil and I took his question to mean that he's after a way to improve his holiday photos more than anything else. – alex Apr 28 '14 at 4:52
  • So you're saying not to use the wide angle lense, just get farther away? That's kinda what I was going to say - sticking a wide angle lense really close to your face isn't going to make you look good. You can capture more, but wide angles make everything look bigger - like your nose :) – Jasmine Apr 29 '14 at 22:40
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This is easy math, fortunately. 28mm is 1/6th larger than 24mm, and correspondingly, your selfie taken from the same position will be 1/6th wider. If you stay in the center of the frame, you gain an additional 1/12th on each side, or, expressed another way, about 8% more on each side.

For more, see How can I visualize or simulate the effect of different focal lengths?

  • Thanks - and if I used a short tripod or monopod to extend yhe camera away from myself, say 12 or 18 inches, what kind of divergence would that make in terms of the composition, mathematically speaking? Eg. If we take up 30% of the image when the camera is held 2.5 or 3 feet from us (arms length), with the extra 12 or 18 inches of a tripod what percentage would that be? Just curious about the difference between expanding shot angle vs. distance of camera from subject. – Jason Apr 28 '14 at 5:13

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