Five Reasons Why We Prefer to Take Selfies & Photos of Ourselves [When Traveling]

Five Reasons Why We Prefer to Take Selfies & Photos of Ourselves
Five Reasons Why We Prefer to Take Selfies & Photos of Ourselves

Taking Selfies & Photos of Ourselves

First off, let me put this out there. I would not classify myself as a narcissist or a person totally obsessed with herself. Of course, I love me, but I am not the type of person who needs or seeks attention from the entire world. You know, the vibe that comes from people who take far too many selfies – Kim K. comes to mind.

However, my husband and I have been snapping selfies way before the trend even existed, way before the word was selected to be Oxford’s English Dictionary ‘Word of the Year’ in 2013, before the ‘selfie-stick’ emerged on the market, and even before facebook and other forms of social media became a part of our daily lives.

Before continuing, I also should note that we don’t own a selfie stick and I have yet to take a selfie with my phone [or my husband’s phone for that matter.] While a lot of our photos together are selfies taken by using our hand and pointing the camera in our direction, the other photos of ourselves are taken with the aid of our trusty and sturdy tripod. By using a tripod, we can successfully frame the photo beforehand and we won’t end up with an image of two big heads with very little background. My husband is usually in charge of that and he will position me in the photo by telling me to move a little to the left or the right, or forwards or backwards. However, some situations don’t warrant for or allow the use of a tripod, so that’s when a convenient selfie comes into play to capture the moment.

One of my favorite pictures of us - Paris, France [Taken with a Tripod]
One of my favorite pictures of us – Paris, France [Taken with a Tripod]

Five Reasons Why We Take Selfies & Photos of Ourselves

We use to and to this day, still take selfies and photos of ourselves. Why? Well, because of these five reasons:

[1] People’s Perceptions of What Makes a Good Shot May Differ From Yours

In all honesty, sometimes it is easier to do things yourself because what you think is a great angle and great composure for a good picture may not coincide with what others think.

I remember the time my friend and I asked someone to take a picture of us in front of CKS Memorial Hall in Taipei. We ended up looking like two little ants in the photo. We showed the picture to our family and friends, who scoured and squinted until they finally located us. ‘Oh yes, there you are,’ they said – like it was some sort of game or mystery puzzle.

[2] You Don’t Want to be an Inconvenience to Others

I recall a time when this couple asked my husband to take a photo, and ten shots later, they finally approved and were satified. I don’t mind helping others, but if you are going to be that picky, hire a photographer or ask someone else. I don’t like being inconvenienced in that way, so I would never request or expect someone else to do the same for me.

[3] Sometimes There is Just No One Around to Help You

My husband and I have been in places high in the mountains and in other locations where there was no one around to help us. I guess we could have waited fifteen or twenty minutes, but it is much easier point the camera our way for a selfie or to set up the tripod, frame the picture, put the time in motion, count down the seconds, and Ta-Da – you got yourself a photo!

A Selfie with the Chinese New Year Decor
A Selfie with the Chinese New Year Decor

[4] Putting the Faith of Your Camera into Someone Else’s Hands is not Always a Good Idea

I always think back to the time in 2005, when we were waiting for a vendor to finish making our pad thai [a type of Thai noodle dish] on Khao San Road in Bangkok, Thailand. These two girls passed by, giggling at the fact that they finally arrived. They approached a couple [not us] to take their first ever picture in Thailand. The guy took the picture for them and as the camera exchanged hands again, it fell and crashed down onto the pavement.


The girls giggles turned to huffs and puffs. The guy said sorry, wiped his hands clean of responsibly, and went on about his day.

I think I would have been devastated if that had happened to my camera and completely crushed if it happened to my husband’s [as he has a way more expensive one.]

[5] Sometimes We Like to Have Fun in Front of the Camera

Yes, sometimes we want our fun and goofy side to shine through, and it is much easier to do it in front of a camera on timer mode or in our hands, rather than a stranger pointing the camera our way and judging us.

Now, over to you! What is your take on selfies? Do you like to take them or not?

And if you have time, check me out on facebook, twitter, pinterest, and now instagram

**This post was inspired by Mabel Kwong’s article Why Asians, and Many of Us, Like Taking Photos**

linking up with a hole in my shoe for #theweeklypostcard



42 thoughts on “Five Reasons Why We Prefer to Take Selfies & Photos of Ourselves [When Traveling]

  1. Agree with you on all of them! I still don’t know why I personally take them. Normally if I’m a good mood I will, though I’m still trying to work out where to look when taking a selfie with the phone camera! I end up crossed eyed! 🙂

      1. Here you see people taking selfies non-stop as well. I think these days you cant walk down a street without people taking selfies anymore 🙂
        For me it is just that I dont have any interest in taking selfies, I prefer taking pictures of nature, buildings and people but not of myself 🙂

  2. What a great post, Constance. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it, but I felt so sorry for the two girls who got a broken camera after asking the guy to take a photo of them. Very unfortunate. It is actually this reason I don’t like asking people to take photos of me – I already cringe when they hold my rather heavy point-and-shoot and don’t put a hand under the lens which reduces camera shake.

    Of the few occasions I’ve gotten someone to take a photo of me and my friends, I usually ask the person to take a few photos…because you never know if the one photo taken will be a blurry one or not or someone might have their eyes closed. That’s what I do when people ask me to take a photo of them – I tend to snap a five or six photos.

    I have yet to master selfie taking with a tripod, mainly because I don’t have a tripod! I’ve tried stacking the camera on shelves but that has never worked out. Been saving up for a tripod though, so someday I’ll get it right like your husband 😀

    And thank you for the shout out 🙂

    1. I know what you mean. I think I would cringe, too. Earlier this year, one guy asked my husband to take a picture and he actually put the strap of the camera around my husband’s neck. It was a little unusual, but I totally understand why as the camera was a very expensive professional one. I kind of think he picked my husband because they had similar cameras.

      If someone asks me to take a picture, I will snap a couple of shots as well. But, the couple I am referring to in the post actually would come over, look at the photo, and would decide it wasn’t good enough. I felt that they were taking advantage of and didn’t appreciate someone’s time and kindness.

      Tripods are the best, especially when photographing at night.

      1. Putting the camera strap over your husband’s neck – I’ve never heard of anything like that but it makes sense. I do appreciate it when people take a photo of me with my camera. Sometimes I worry the photo might turn out blurry…but at the end of the day as you said, I really appreciate their time.

  3. I don’t like inconveniencing anyone else either. As a result, Andy and I have a lot of photos of landscapes or just one of us in the picture. I don’t really care for selfies, since I already know what I look like.

    I did take one with my dog once, though. Then, and only then, did I realize how big his head is. 🙂

  4. Hitoshi and I took tons of selfies way back when we first met. This was before I knew there was a name for doing what we did. I was in love with my Japanese cell phone and was astounded I could take pictures facing both directions. Compared to the phone I had in Canada was like a dslr to a pin hole version or the one I bought in Thailand, that was only marginally more “advanced”.
    I also have plenty of pictures of myself from my Finland exchange days back in the mid-90s where I turned around my giant Pentax p&s or, more often, a handy disposable camera. And then I could go further back with my Kodak 110. !!
    In other words, long before “selfie” was a word that was commonplace, I figure most people with a camera turned it on themselves at least once, tripod (or reasonable facsimile) + self-timer or not. Why? Everyone loves to see themselves! And not necessarily in a narcissistic way. It’s fun to see yourself having fun and even if your arm is part of the photo, it doesn’t always matter, especially if the subjects are crazy in love with each other. 😀
    And as for camera preferences, I drove my fil crazy when I insisted that my feet be in a picture. There’s nothing more annoying to me than having a great picture sans feet. ;D

    1. It sounds like you are a pro with taking selfies with a phone. I actually am not very good at taking photos with my smartphone. I don’t know why – maybe it is because I am used to the control I have when taking a photo with a camera.

      Oh, the good old Kodak cameras! I had one, too! It captured a lot of ‘Kodak moments!’ 😉

      For me, being in the picture brings back memories of how I felt when the picture was being taken. For instance, I love the above pic in from of the Eiffel Tower so much – not because it is awesome [I wish you could see my face] but the amazing time we had there!

      1. Ha ha! Well, my mother did ask me why my arm was in so many pics or she could only see our (Hitoshi and me) faces from my first year in Japan. 😀 But that’s what happens when you’re in love, right? You need to be glued to the other person’s cheek. 😀

        Do you still have your Kodak? Mine, unfortunately, got left at a friend’s house one summer and despite many pleas, was never returned. 😦 I suppose it doesn’t really matter. I’d have to invent a substitute film cartridge!

        Oh yes. I agree about the memories with photos and I’d love to see your face in that Paris picture. I’m sure it’s priceless!

  5. I never liked selfies, because I never looked good no matter how much I tried. And I am such an impatient person, how sometimes people can spend so much time getting that perfect angle and frame for a selfie is beyond me. So after awhile, I guess I sort of just gave up. But I do agree with all your points.

    I’ve been thinking, selfie is a relatively new term, isn’t it? Before this, the word to describe selfie is very much less flattering. I believe that word is camwhore, isn’t it? I think I’ve read earlier blogs where girls claim things like “I am camwhore queen” or something. They probably didn’t realize what the second half of that word mean.. 😀

    1. I think when it comes to selfies, practice makes perfect.

      Yes, I have heard of the other term before, but I think it also has to do with someone who loves getting their picture taken, no matter if it is selfie or not. When I think of the word, I think of someone who always has to be in front of the camera.

  6. Ugh, I don’t really like taking selfies because my head looks so big, my face so long and all my pimples are visible, haha. (There is some app that instantly beautifies you, I think all Chinese girls use it). However when we travel we do the usual of extended arm, two big heads together, small background xD I prefer asking someone else to take the pic…

    1. Oh, most girls use that app in Taiwan as well. It seems that most Taiwanese girls love to make their skin whiter and their eyes bigger. They do the duck face to make their face look smaller [or so I was told by several my of students awhile ago.]

      Actually, the camera I purchased last year is perfect for taking selfies. The lens covers a larger area so it is easier to capture yourself and the background in an image. We took the CNY décor pic above using it.

  7. It’s the Framing thing that gets to me. To my way of thinking, if I am in front of an iconic building, the building should be featured, not just myself. I can’t tell you the number of times when someone photographed me and my huge head was blocking the fabulous building. I want to scream, “People! Learn the Rule of Thirds!” Aargh!
    So yeah, selfies. The Asians are on to something there…

    1. Yes, it is pointless to have a picture of yourself with only a fraction of the iconic landmark included in the image.

      Sometimes, selfies are indeed the way to go. And these days the camera lens covered a larger area so it is easier to capture yourself and the background in an image.

  8. I got a selfie stick a few months ago and already it’s made a huge difference! When I have to rely on strangers to take my photo in front of a landmark, I don’t know what kind of quality I’m going to get, and often I end up asking multiple people until I end up with a pic that’s satisfactory — which is also a waste of time. And one time in Dublin, I gave my brand-new point-and-shoot camera to a random passerby to photograph me in front of the James Joyce statue. The person promptly dropped the camera, breaking it.

    1. Oh, no! Someone dropped your camera? I think that would be my worst nightmare come true, especially when traveling.

      It sounds like the investment of a selfie stick has made a big difference for you – you get the photo you want in a fraction of the time.

  9. Great post! We rarely take selfies but really try to get ourselves in front of the camera to have a memory of being there together, and sometimes, get some really incredible backgrounds for a photo with the two of us! And you’re absolutely right – a lot of the time there is no one around to take a photo for us, or we’re not too sure we should just be handing over our camera depending on where we are. We’ve also had a LOT of fun being goofy with selfies. Our opinion? To each their own!

  10. I actually hate asking other people to take our photo. Luckily many people come and make the offer and then we return the favour. We do occasionally take a selfie, but not a lot

  11. We also like to take selfies and have done so before the stick came along. We’re not great at it with just our short arms and no tripod, but we try our best. I did buy a selfie stick to help me reduce camera shake when I’m taking a photo on my cell phone. It is actually very helpful and convenient.

  12. I agree, we have fun and take a few selfies also. Being silly and pulling a face is something we don’t need assistance with 🙂 Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard

  13. We love to do family selfies when travelling. It makes everyone less self-conscious when squeezing in together and they are usually pretty goofy. I prefer them to the posed on holiday shots.

  14. We are behind the times when it comes to family selfies. My husband and I do take them when we are on vacation, mostly, for ourselves. Most of the time, one of us comes out terrible or we are too close. So recently we purchased a selfie stick. I hope that will help. 🙂

  15. I’m too lazy to pull out the tripod for a selfie, but now I think i will! we usually go lazy and do it with the camera.. which means it’s just our three heads and almost nothing behind us, so then I say, what is the point 🙂

  16. I’ve not very good at taking selfies…but I’m determined to master it – much to my tween- and teen-aged daughters chagrin, as I make them be a part of my selfie attempts! The thing is, as the main photographer of the family, if I don’t throw the occasional selfie into the mix, we can return from a trip with thousands of photos that look like I wasn’t even there!

  17. Only every once in a while can I convince my bf to take a selfie of us! In general, we don’t get a lot of travel photos of the two of us, because I agree, I don’t like to inconvenience people. But I do always regret it a little that we don’t get more pictures together.

    One day, I did that exact same thing to my friend’s camera. I think I was taking a picture of her and when I handed it back, I dropped it and broke it! Of course, I paid her for it. 🙂

  18. My boyfriend and I both don’t really like to take photos of ourselves – but sometimes I regret it because we have very few photos together! On our last trip though, I decided to bite the bullet and get a selfie stick because like you, I don’t trust handing my camera to a stranger! But we ended up not really using it very much because it was kind of a hassle to have to get the stick out and attach it to our cellphones every time!

  19. When Dan and I took our recent river cruise we had all the best intentions of taking selfies. With at least one city every day two weeks, we thought, would give us at least a dozen good shots … but we kept forgetting to do it when ashore.

    Kudos to anyone who actually thinks of it, IMO. Sometimes I wish I had that Asian Selfie gene, lol.

  20. Occasionally I like to have a photo with my husband and me together rather than taking separate photos of each other. I like your idea of using the tripod and camera timer. We usually end up leaving the tripod in the car since it’s just one more thing to carry but then wish later that we had it. I don’t look good in close-up photos, so I rarely took selfies. I thought a selfie-stick would be better. NOT.

  21. Interesting post Constance. We rarely ever take selfies, reason being we usually feel uncomfortable. Explain to me something; why is it that Asians (more than anyone) love to take selfies so much? We notice it everywhere, including Budapest where we are now. It’s often not about the church or the view or the monument – it’s about getting yourself in that shot. We’ve seen Asian tourists snapping 10 photos of themselves in the same position, the secondary point of interest (ie. the church/view/monument) in the background. And honestly we just don’t get it. Is it to prove you’ve been there? We usually hate photos of ourselves.

    I understand the reasons why you’d rather take the photo yourself than have others take it for you. I get it. But I just don’t understand why people, particularly Asians, take all these selfies. Please help me understand the cultural reason behind this! 🙂

    Frank (bbqboy)

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