How to take the Perfect SUP Selfie

Stand Up Paddleboarding Castle Stalker

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Taking the Perfect SUP Selfie

There is no doubt about it, taking Stand Up Paddleboarding photos is a tricky business. Unless you have someone else with you to either take a photo of or to take your photo it is difficult to get an image with your board and you in it. Over the years we have tried all sorts of techniques and continue to hone in on our favourites. So buckle up and ride with us as we explore how to take the perfect SUP Selfie.

Couple take an iPhone selfie by water

Why take a SUP Selfie?

There is nothing quite like being in the depths of winter where summer and SUPing is a distant memory and being able to sit down and look at your pics of your SUP adventures. A SUP selfie can remind you just how great it is out on your board. This is actually really therapeutic as research from the Vrije University Medical Centre in the Netherlands has shown that looking at photos of nature can help reduce stress levels.

iPhone or GoPro – Which is best for SUP Selfies?

The good news is that you don’t have to go and buy yourself a new phone or camera for taking the perfect SUP Selfie. It is easy to use what you already have. If you are using a phone it is a good idea to get a waterproof case and a lanyard so you don’t lose it in the water. If you are using a camera such as a GoPro it is a great idea to have a floatation attachment. My heart really goes out to the lovely guys at Kombi Life who lost a new GoPro while SUPing the canals of Venice.  You can watch their video here.

Pros of Phone & Sports Camera for taking the Perfect SUP Selfie

PhoneSports Camera
Bigger Screen allows you to frame your shot betterEasily attached to paddle or other mount
You probably already have oneLess likely to lose
Can also use as a GPS to navigate your tripEasy to take underwater images
Can take images hands free

iPhone or Camera phone for Taking SUP Selfies

iPhone taking a photo of a lake with mountains

As already stated it is a great idea to ensure at the very least that your phone is waterproof. Being water resistant isn’t really enough unless you are taking your phone in a waterproof bag (but if you do this it makes taking photos a bit hard!!)

We love the Life Proof cases for our iPhones and have really given them a great pounding. Not only have we found them to be great for protecting our phones on the water but SUP Bloke frequently takes his through it’s paces as he’s Outback Trucking when home in Australia. What better test for a phone case than the Aussie Outback? Recently he has upgraded to an Otterbox for when he’s at work and switches between the two when Stand Up Paddleboarding as the Otterbox isn’t waterproof but has a bit more padding if you drop your phone.

Tips for Taking SUP Selfies on your Phone

Couple taking a selfie on stand up paddle boards
SUP Selfie taken on an iPhone 6s
  • Make sure your phone is fully charged before your trip. This probably goes without saying but you can burn through a lot of battery life when you are out in bright daylight as your phone will accomodate to the brightest screen setting.
  • Attach your Phone to a lanyard so you can wear it around your neck, attach it to a belt loop or some part of your clothing or your board to ensure you don’t lose it overboard.
  • Think about the highlight of your SUP session, is there a particularly beautiful scene along the way? A waterfall, forest, mountain backdrop, historical architecture?
  • Avoid taking the photo with the sun either directly behind or in front of you. Ideally if the sun is off to one side you won’t be forced to squint! Slightly overcast days can work well too.
  • Frame up the scene first using the rule of thirds principle for that added composition aesthetic.
  • If you are with a SUP buddy try to get them in the background so that you can see them on their board. This way even though your image won’t capture your board the fact that you can see another person on a board implies that you are also on a board.
  • You can add to the last point by making your paddle visible in the image as well. See the image above.
  • Alway remember you can crop the photo after its taken if a wave gives you a last minute wobble!

GoPro or Sports Camera for taking SUP Selfies

GoPro attached to a boat on a lake surrounded by snowy mountains

Having a GoPro Hero 8 has really changed the way we capture images and video of our SUP adventures. While a GoPro is certainly better to take video than a phone due to it’s image stabilisation it is great to have a GoPro or Sports Camera to take selfies as well.

When coupled with a GoPro handlebar mount, suddenly your paddle becomes a huge selfie stick! This can be really great for getting more in your image and for added versatility.

Tips for taking Selfies on your GoPro or Sports Camera

SUP Chick taking a selfie with old church tower, village and SUP bloke in the background
SUP Selfie taken on a GoPro Hero 8
  • Having a back up battery extends your photography and filming time. Along with a car adaptor for your battery charger really helps maximise selfie opportunities.
  • Get a handle bar mount for your camera so you can use your paddle as a selfie stick. This places you further from the camera and gives you more room to include your surroundings in your image – just like a real selfie stick!
  • Use a GoPro Hero Floaty to ensure your camera doesn’t sink if it becomes detached
  • Think about the highlight of your SUP session, is there a particularly beautiful scene along the way? A waterfall, forest, mountain backdrop, historical architecture?
  • Avoid taking the photo with the sun either directly behind or in front of you. Ideally if the sun is off to one side you won’t be forced to squint! Slightly overcast days can work well too.
  • Make use of the count down timer to take the image
  • Ensure that you angle the camera so you don’t capture the paddle in your image – unless you intend to of course!
  • Take multiple images until you get the right shot – you won’t know until after the image is taken and you’ve seen it unless you have the new GoPro Hero 9 with a front mounted screen and great eyesight!!
  • If you are with a SUP buddy try to get them in the background so that you can see them on their board. This way even though your image won’t capture your board the fact that you can see another person on a board implies that you are also on a board.
  • You can add to the last point by making your paddle visible in the image as well. See the image above.
  • Remember that you can always crop the image later so don’t worry if its not straight or perfectly framed, as long as you have all the elements in the image.

Some SUP Selfie examples and critique

Selfie on canal while stand up paddleboarding with old building and pontoon in back ground
Not the best selfie… A bit too much contrast – building is overexposed and I am underexposed but some post production editing helped. I’ve also accidentally blocked out SUP bloke!
Couple stand up paddleboarding infant of a castle
This one captures my SUP but also the paddle – but what a cool castle shot hey?
Stand Up Paddleboarding at Castle Stalker
Then again you can always use a drone!

In future posts we will go into SUP photography and videography in more detail. I hope this has given you a couple of tips and tricks you can start using on your SUP adventure.

http://sup-chick.com/barra/
http://sup-chick.com/north-uist/
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6 thoughts on “How to take the Perfect SUP Selfie

  1. worldwidewalkies says:

    A great post. It is a matter of great regret to me that we didn’t get any photos of us SUPing the magnificently beautiful Gorges du Verdon in France. Mark woudln’t let me take the camera.

    It was just as well, as we all fell in and when I retreived my keys from our little around-the-neck dry bag, they were soaking wet. Luckily, our van Big Blue is too basic to have electronic keys!

    Methinks we need a new dry bag and will definitely be putting some of your tips into practice.

    Expect lots of Pups on SUPs!

    • SUP Chick says:

      I remember reading that post!! What a shame you didn’t have a waterproof camera – you’ll just have to go back 😊 many years ago we would buy a disposable underwater camera for surfing, snorkeling or scuba diving as waterproof cameras were pretty expensive but phones have such great cameras these days so a waterproof camera case is a great investment. It can even be used for hiking if there is rain about or snow sports.
      I’d love to take the SUPs to Gorges du Verdon – we saw it on the Kinging It YouTube channel- it looks amazing!!
      I’m looking forward to seeing more photos of your Pups on SUPs 😊

    • SUP Chick says:

      My old website was migrated to the new one but the ere seems some weird cross over that I can’t quite work out… but nothing has changed on my end in the last 8 months or so, it might be a wordpress glitch??

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