How to Use a Selfie Stick for Better Animal Photos (Galapagos Animal Selfies)

GoPro Accessories, GoPro Tips, GoPro Underwater

Want to learn how to use a selfie stick for better animal photos?

how to use a selfie stick

In this post, you'll learn how to use a selfie stick – to take something other than selfies.

But first, here are some of the animal shots we got on our last Galapagos trip. As you watch the video – remember that GoPro cameras don't have a zoom. The animals are actually closer than they appear in the video. A few of them even intentionally bump the lens with their head – or flipper.

All of the clips and photos were shot with the Hero3 Silver on the XShot extend pole. Check out my favorite two selfie sticks at the end of the post.

How to Use a Selfie Stick: Better Animal Photos

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How to Use a Selfie Stick for Better Animal Photos

To get better animal photos, you need to use a selfie stick. Here's why:

  1. Fishing Lure: The shiny silver GoPro case acts just like a fishing lure. As it moves, it catches the light and this catches the eye of nearby animals. As long as they are not feeling threatened, many will approach to check it out.
  2. Creates More Distance: By adding an additional 3-5 feet in distance between you and the camera, many animals feel comfortable to approach. It is surprising how much difference 3 feet makes.
  3. Reach: The selfie stick will put your camera into places that you can't (or won't) put your arm. I've shot reef sharks in an underwater cave and crabs under beach rocks. In both cases, I wouldn't have felt very comfortable with stuffing my arm into those openings. The selfie stick helped me get those shots – without feeding the wildlife.

I should note that shooting animal photos in the Galapagos is unique. Because most of the islands are National Park, the animals roam freely and have become accustomed to being around humans. Most are surprisingly unafraid. But the selfie stick has improved my animal photography in other places too. See some examples at the bottom of the post.

Because the GoPro camera doesn't have a zoom, the camera needs to get close, very close, to the animal. And animals are a favorite subject for me. See more photos and videos of GoPro animals.

More reading: How to use GoPro underwater

GoPro + Selfie Stick: Galapagos Animal Shots 

giant galapagos tortoise galapagos sea turtle galapagos sea lion galapagos marine iguana

Using the GoPro and Selfie Stick in the Galapagos

Here are a few shots of me using the camera on the selfie stick.

how to use a selfie stick snorkeling

Snorkeling on Isabela Island. We saw sharks, sea turtles, and thousands of fish.

how to use a selfie stick travel

Shooting the Sally Lightfoot Crab – it moves so fast that it actually walks on water!

use selfie stick travel

Shooting a marine iguana on Floreana Island

how to use a selfie stick animals

How We Used a Selfie Stick to Shoot Other Animals

xshot pocket extenderBesides the Galapagos animals, we've had good success shooting animals with the GoPro on a selfie stick. Here are some of my favorite experiences:

  • Blanding's Turtle: This is an endangered turtle species and he was very inquisitive of the camera.
  • Camel at a Local Zoo: When I put the camera to the enclosure, he came right over to see and sniff it. He even gave it a little taste.
  • Flock of Seagulls: Nothing endangered or unusual about these birds. But you need to see how they used the sea breeze to eat the bread we brought them.

What Selfie Stick Is Best?

We have a couple of different models. And each has its use. Here's what you need to know:

XShot Camera Extender: This is the first selfie stick I bought – and I still have it. I used it to shoot all the images on this page.

It extends from 6.5″ (16.5cm) to 30.5″ (77.5cm).

You'll need the GoPro tripod mount ($6.50) to attach the camera to this selfie stick. This is the most compact, quality selfie stick that I've seen. And it's small enough to fit in your pocket. 

This extend pole is a must for your gear bag.

 OCC Pole: I bought this extend pole because of its length. It extends from 16″ (40cm) to 40″ (101cm). And it's more sturdy than the XShot.

It will even support a DSLR (but you need to be careful). It comes with the GoPro tripod mount and a smartphone grip.

This is a great selfie stick – but it won't fit in your pocket. 

Your Turn

Have a great animal photo or video? How do you get great animal photos? Please share in the comments.

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Hi, I'm the Author!

Bryan Haines is co-editor of ClickLikeThis: GoPro tutorial blog. He is a travel blogger and content marketer. He is also co-founder of GringosAbroad (Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with ClickLikeThis.

2 comments… add one
  • Ed Jan 26, 2017, 7:22 pm

    Hello. Doesn’t the XSP2 rust when you use it underwater?

    • Bryan Haines Jan 27, 2017, 2:16 pm

      We just rinse it under fresh water and hang it to dry – works great.

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