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

Want to learn how to use a selfie stick for better animal photos? Here are the tips and tricks you need to shoot 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.

Watch on YouTube

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 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

Besides 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.

Here are more tips for GoPro animal photography.

Which 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 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.

Sandmarc 25″: I bought this extend pole because of its length. It extends from 10″ to 25″. 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. 

Galapagos-seal-underwaterDid you ever do something so fun, you just had to tell everyone about it?

For me, it was our trip to the Galapagos a couple of years ago. We were working for a travel agency and went on all their excursions. We collected as many experiences and photos as we could. And we were working as a family, so it was extra awesome!

We became instant fans of the GoPro on that trip! It’s light and packs easy.

And thanks to the waterproof housing it can really take a beating. We were going at a pretty fast pace, in and out of boats, hiking, swimming, and snorkeling… A GoPro is the perfect camera for a trip like this!

In celebration of our super fun trip, I’ve put together 24 of my favorite GoPro Galapagos animal photos. I hope you enjoy them! 🙂

Learn more about your cameras capability in our GoPro Waterproof Guide for all models.

GoPro Galapagos Animal Photo Slideshow

Here is a short video slideshow of the photos.

To take a closer look at some of my favorites, check out the individual shots below the video.

Watch on YouTube

The following images are the same as in the video above. Hope you enjoy!

24 Fun GoPro Galapagos Animal Photos























I Want More Of That!

Can you see why I was so excited? And why I think everyone needs a GoPro for a trip like that?

We had the camera on an extension pole and the animals were not afraid it. Their curiosity made for wonderful photos. That’s one of the things I love about shooting with a GoPro on the extension pole is the increased distance between me and the animals. This makes getting great animal photos a lot easier.

Looking at these pictures gets me excited and makes me want to go again. I’m not sure if we will get back to the Galapagos, but we will definitely be doing more of what makes us feel like that!

So what makes you feel like that? What gets your family excited and draws you closer? I would love to hear about it. Please share your story, and if you have a link to a post with photos, share it!

To learn how to get the best color out of your GoPro photos, you might want to read my post about shooting in Protune flat.

If you enjoyed this post please share it.

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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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How to Choose the Best Camera for Safari [Buyers Guide] | Uganda365

Wednesday 14th of March 2018

[…] A few years ago, I used a selfie stick while visiting the Galapagos – and it made a huge difference. Here's more about shooting animals with a selfie stick. […]


Thursday 26th of January 2017

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

Bryan Haines

Friday 27th of January 2017

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

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