With photography, whether we use a self-timer or take a selfie will depend on whether we use a stand-alone camera or the camera on our mobile phone. So, this article will look at the pros and cons of that to help decide which option is best for us so that we always appear in the picture.



On a stand-alone camera, a self-timer is a device that will delay the shutter release from firing so that the person taking the photograph can appear in it themselves. Generally, it will be used when taking a family group when you do not have anybody else around to become the photographer. The old-style cameras used to have a cable attached that was connected to the camera and could be operated from a distance away. Digital cameras will have a time delay that makes a self-timed shot possible. The time delays possible can vary between 2 and 10 seconds.

Another use for a camera’s self-timer is with close-up work. It can be used to avoid camera shake because you will not be touching the camera as it takes the shot. This is particularly useful when working in low light, perhaps taking pictures of fungi close-up in a darkened woodland. Self-timers are good for lying in wait to capture nature if you use a long cable attached to the camera.

To use a self-timer, you will want to invest in a tripod to hold the camera rather than precariously position it on top of something like an uneven stone.



A selfie is defined as a picture taken of oneself but this is usually on a smartphone or perhaps a webcam. The purpose usually is so that it will be shared via social media. They are normally taken quickly without much thought and an instant way of sharing a picture of yourself. They vary from self-timer shots in that they are normally just picturing the person taking the photograph rather than groups of people. This is because holding the camera close to take the shot does not allow for an awful lot extra to appear in the background. It depends on the capability of your mobile phone’s camera in that respect.

The term selfie was coined on 13th September 2002 when it was used on ABC Online, an Australian Internet forum. Before that, a group of Australians had created a website and uploaded the world’s first digital self-portraits to it.


The Comparison

To compare the two options, it all depends on whether you are looking to take a group of people and focus on nature as opposed to just taking a picture of yourself. The latter option better lends itself to the idea of a selfie being taken on a mobile phone.

Webcams were first developed in 1991 when one was pointed at the Trojan Room coffee pot inside Cambridge University. Since, then, they have been used as one way of capturing self-images. Incidentally, this particular camera was switched off on 22nd August 2001.

Now, with selfie’s on mobile phones, a good many effects can be added to someone’s image to make it bespoke and stand out. The software built into mobile phones also allows for images to be improved and eliminates the need for separate image manipulation software to be used.

The quality of the image, if you buy a high-quality stand-alone camera, should be better than on a mobile phone. It all depends on what you want to use the image of yourself for. It is an easy way to take one for a passport or application where your photograph is required. Remember when taking a passport photograph that you should be facing towards the camera with your eyes wide open and your mouth closed, have no hair in front of your eyes, and have nothing covering your face.


To conclude, it all depends on what you want to use the photograph for whether a self-timer option or a selfie that has been taken on a mobile phone is best. If you are looking for a high-quality image, consider the self-timer on a stand-alone camera option.