Recently I purchased a Canon Rebel T5. I'm a high school student so this was in my budget. I enjoy taking picture of myself and putting them on Instagram... taking photos for my friends' parties and so forth.

I'm here is to see if there is a way I can take a picture of myself with no one behind the camera. Now I know that of course there are self timers, but there's more to it. When I take a photo on my tripod and use the self timer, I can't seem to get the image focused on me. When I hold the button down I can't see where it's focusing and the timer has already begun so I have to get into the pose I want to. Below I can show what one of my pictures look like vs. how I want them to look.I'm getting ready to take photos like this since summer is approaching and I don't have friends to take photos of me since I'm an only child. Thanks for the advice and it would help to give detailed instructions. :)

What my photos look like:

enter image description here

What I would like them to look like:

enter image description here

And also we have the same camera

  • \$\begingroup\$ possible duplicate of Best way to take self photographs \$\endgroup\$
    – inkista
    Commented Apr 11, 2015 at 1:20
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The other question focuses mostly on how to trigger the camera, which @Jaadyn already knows. There's also another question about self-portrait focus, but that one is specifically concerned with wide aperture. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Apr 11, 2015 at 2:06

4 Answers 4


The way I did it back when I had no remote to trigger: Place some dummy object to focus on, start the timer, then run and replace the dummy with yourself. I'm sure you've got something lying around that you can use for that purpose. Even if it's just a broom leaning against a chair.

That of course is just a workaround to get things done. If you're doing that more often, you should definitely consider getting some sort of remote control for you camera. There are quite cheap wireless transmitters from china on Amazon that work well with rebels and can also be used to fire strobes.

And since J0hj0h mentioned, that the wireless transmitter wouldn't fix the issue of the blurriness: it does, if you choose a transmitter that allows to set the auto-focus, just like pressing the shutter on the camera itself. Using that, you can even use lower f-stops. Just not too low, because in my experience the auto focus often takes the nose to focus. This creates a little blur on the eyes, which generally should have the main focus.


You can increase your f-stop. That way, the depth of field of the photo increases and more of the scene will be in focus.
This darkens your image, though. Also, if you'd like some blur in the background, you'll have to keep the f-number low.

Additionally you can try to manually focus. That way, the camera won't mess up (you will).
As Daniel mentioned, you could use something that is where you want to stand and focus on that.

The remote control Daniel recommended does not solve the problem of your composition and blurriness of the photos. But he is absolutely right that it helps tremendously not to have to run back and forth for every shot.


I've been in the same situation as you and have solved it using two ways: Remote Live View and Magic Lantern. Unfortunately the Magic Lantern firmware is not available (yet) for the 1200D, so I'll explain the first method only. If something is unclear please ask for clarification in the comments, search Photo.SE or ask a new question.

Remote Live View

This method works best if you have a laptop at hand, or a computer which you can easily see and manipulate from the spot you are posing on.

Install the EOS Utility. This software is supplied with your camera. It can be downloaded, but it's easier if you install it from the CD and update it. When you have it on your computer do the following:

  1. Connect your camera through USB.
  2. Start EOS utility.
  3. Go to Camera settings/Remote shooting. A window will show up with camera settings and a shutter button.
  4. Click on Live view shoot.
  5. Drag the focus area to where you want to focus.
  6. Make sure your lens is set to AF (Automatic Focus).
  7. Open the Actual Size Window by clicking the loupe icon in the lower right of the window. A window with a 100% view will show up.
  8. In the Focus section on the right (2nd from above) Hit On. The camera will focus using Live View. You can tweak the focus using the <<< << < > >> >>> arrows in that section.
  9. Now you're ready to take the shot by pressing the shutter button in the initial window. Of course you can alter the aperture, shutter speed, etc… first. Do not close the Live View window before taking the shot as then the autofocus will be lost.

Additionally, if you want your photos to look like the example you'll probably need to work on the light. I think the main reason the example photo looks "good" is because the sun is shining. Without an external flash you'll never get that result indoors.


In my camera (Panasonic DMC-FZ200), the self-timer has two different trigger modes: you can half-push the button to get focus and then push fully. The focus you acquired will be carried forward to the actual picture once the timer runs out. This would not work without placing some focusing dummy at the right distance first (you can adjust the focus rectangle to be somewhere else rather than in the middle of the picture).

The other possibility of using the self-timer is to immediately push the shutter button all the way. In that case, the camera first counts down the timer, then acquires focus and shoots. This would work painlessly for your use case.

There is, of course, focus/exposure lock and/or manual focus to work with either way. Again, this would require some focusing dummy for reliably getting a focus guess. You can use a swiveling tripod head if you have a suitably distanced dummy outside of the actual picture. Swiveling would also work in addition to the half-press method but then you need to be reasonably sure in maintaining half-press while swiveling back in order not to have to rush.

A trigger remote (usually supporting half-press) might help with that even though it sounds like overkill to be using both a remote and the self-timer. But holding a half-pressed remote while swiveling the camera in-place is likely more reliable than holding the button on the camera itself half-pressed while swiveling.

At any rate, this is not an infrequent problem so it makes sense reading the self-timer section of your camera's operating manual. Maybe there is a solution in there, like there is in mine.


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