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Sunday 10 January 2016

How to use your camera remote control

How many times has this happened to you: you set up your tripod for your photo shoot and your remote ends up front and centre, hogging the limelight! No only that, but you end up looking like you're in a murderous rage or auditioning for the next Mr. Bean movie.

In today's blog post I give you several easy techniques, which I have developed in collaboration with Miz Bagg Laboratories, on how to point and shoot your way to fetching and professional photos that don't hurt your remote, your camera or your reputation usually in the process.


Such a fun technique! Optimal positioning of the remote in your pocket is critical. For beginners, the horizontal sweet spot is easiest to find and stretchy fabric works best, but with experience you will realize that the horizontal position is just one way to trigger the shudder shutter.

a) Demonstration of successsful Hot Pocket technique

How secretly exciting it is to conceal a magic wand in your pocket, knowing that when you press the button and hear that happy chirrup, your rapture will be photographically captured forever. You'll laugh and laugh.

When outdoors, passersby will hastily retreat out of respect for your extraordinary expressions of concentration, but your wandly bulge alone will act as a clear signal of your dedication to photography.


a) Example of hideous remote control takeover. "Hello, hello! Is there a person there? Knock, knock, knock. Where? Where? I don't see her. I only see a selfish camera remote control!!"

The solution in this case - sunglasses. Suddenly you're no longer a dork with a remote - you're a super sleuth with a camera remote control masking-taped to the arm of your sunglasses. You instantly become a player in a game of farcical global intrigue. Oh, such a simple solution. "Why hadn't I thought of it before," you'll ask yourself over and over.

b) Demonstration of successful Accessory Remote technique

When outdoors, people who see you will hilariously think your tripod belongs to someone else and you're having serious trouble with your eyewear. Fun, isn't it?

3. REMOTE ON RAILS (Caution: only for seriously remote users)

Like Robert DeNiro in the movie Taxi Driver (here at 1:34), in this case your remote control is hidden up your sleeve at all times. When it's time to use it, you simply slide it down the rail strapped to your arm, then reach over and trigger it with your other hand. This particular technique may not actually conceal your remote, but whatever.

a) Demonstration of remote on rails with a coat

b) Demonstration of remote on rails without the coat

Sometimes the remote may derail. Pffft. If anyone gives you the side eye while using this technique, simply say: "Are you lookin' at me?" and start sliding your remote quickly up and down your arm. They will leave.


Sometimes you may be wearing so much shite that nobody will even know you have a remote control cleverly concealed in your clothing. This is an advanced version of the Hot Pocket Remote technique and should be used with caution.

a) Failure to conceal remote in clothing. Hideous photo shoot hijacked by electronic device. "Look at my remote! Look at my remote! Don't look at me!!"

b) Successful remote concealment which allows for total poser relaxation

In this case, a rare soft and feminine facial expression of sophistication and really kind of chic-ness with hairiness has been achieved. And where is the remote? Hahaha! If you guessed it's nested in the pom pom under the purple ear muff and polka-dot scarf, left, you'd be correct. Ding ding ding ding!!

c) Another distraction technique: glittery legs, coupled with the question, "WTF is she wearing?"

I hope you've learned something special here today, my friends. It has taken me and Miz Bagg Laboratories more time than it should ever be necessary to address this very serious issue, but we are happy and proud to share these results with you. We hope that you become more and more remote aware. 

If you need a refresher on posing, be sure to reread Miz Bagg's How-to Guide to Posing here

Please take a moment to share your own experiences applying these winning techniques in the comments section below. 

Even after this intensive study, it will take a while before I perfect my remote handling. Until then, I shall employ "Learning through Teaching," which is a popular technique that involves teaching others how to do something until you figure it out yourself. 
I took an extra light into the concrete box this time, which helped brighten things up, and got a few photos I really like. That Taxi Driver-rail tape was a challenge to rip off. I should have used elastic bands. There will be no next time to try it.
New thrift finds: The champagne pink sequin dress I adore - it's from My Sister's Closet. The vintage striped maxi dress has a hood and front zip and I suspect is a '70s beach coverup. I bought it super discounted on Boxing Day at Used House of Vintage. 
I'm linking this up to Patti at Visible Monday, Not  Dead Yet Style, and Catherine at #iwillwearwhatilike at Not Dressed as Lamb.
Have a great week, everyone.
Below is something I wore earlier this week. I decided to be a tourist in my own town to distract myself from the cold. It didn't work.

I am employing Distraction Remote (Lite) technique here with my new thrifted purple ear muffs. Sorry, Greetje, I didn't get a good photo of the blouse, but it's silky and ties at the front.


  1. Oh this is most impressive and informative. I like the idea of taping the remote to different body parts so that one could discretely employ the remote and defuzz the bod as well. If one moved it to a different hairy area for each photo shoot, the entire body would soon be completely fuzz free and some interesting photos would result. I feel a patent coming on. You are magnificently beautiful. Especially in your red muppet coat. I for one am so happy that you are remotely photographing your gorgeous stylish self.

  2. I just use that setting where you push the button and run in front of the camera

  3. I bow down before your in depth lecture on remote technique. This really should become a TED talk you know. It needs to be shared with the world!
    Miz Bagg Laboratories really are at the cutting edge of this field. I shall nominate you for a Nobel Prize.

    Awesome red coat and those houndstooth pants are pretty damn fine too.

  4. Hahahahahahahahaha!

    And then another hahahahhahahahaha on Connie's comment! : P You two are hilarious!

    How many times have I been upstaged by my remote or my pug?

    I adore the sunglasses technique! Must try that!

    Of course I'm all over the pocket technique...hello! In fact on the lookout for a larger bulbous remote that has an option of vibrating motion (to massage my fingers!) of course.

    Your acting skills are forefront here. Kudos for getting in your stairwell with the mini ladder and lights. I bow down to you oh Queen Melanie!

    I'm loving the sparkly legs! I keep seeing a blue polkadot piece of fabric but can't figure out what it is. A scarf?

    I'm really loving the peach sparkly dress. So much better than the other one you tried on when we were thrifting.

    Thanks for the laugh! It's always a pleasure visiting your blog and experiencing some of your comic & style genius.


  5. Oh my reverend queens of comedy, I bow down to your accolades and genius suggestions. Yes! I realize now that I need finger massages and defuzzing as well. Hahahaha! The blue polkadot thing is a scarf I tied over my head to keep everything on. Just another day out of my closet, tra la.

  6. I love that in your spy pose, your shoes are undone. You are indeed the queen, Ms. Melanie! This is comic genius, fabulously funny writing, and you are a mistress of modeling.

    Thorne, I also do the "run in front of the camera" thing.

  7. What is this talk of a remote? I am with Thorne Garnet - push the button, run in front of camera and hope you catch a couple of decent shots. 9 times out of 10, I look fat, my expression is off kilter or the lighting shows every wrinkle I possess.

    You must belong to the Upper Echelon of Zoolander models who can afford such a high degree of technology. *grins*

  8. Many thanks to Miz Bagg Laboratories for a most informative advanced (yes advanced) commentary on Do It Yourself Fashion Shoots. I just bought myself a tripod to attempt this very same scenario so I don't have to always bribe, cajole, yell, beg, etc. etc. my travel buddy to take pics for me.

  9. So educational, so uplifting! My remote is tall and dashing but surly at times. At least yours gives you no lip. Love your styling as well, and you don't look one bit like a tourist. xox


  10. You are so funny! Shooting with a remote is tricky for sure. Mine won't work from inside a pocket. :-(

  11. I agree , so informative and creative Miz Bagg Laboratories have been so busy. My early attempts at taking my own shots were a disaster, no remote just some running and forgetting to return to posing and removing my glasses. You are the best dressed non tourist in town.

  12. I love these photos of you! I know they're supposed to be comical, and they are, but they also show one helluva vibrant spirit and wonderfully eccentric clothing.

    I also just realized you and I are neighbours, at least in a global sense. I recognized a location in this post.

  13. I think you make using a remote look groovy! Or at least way better than the holding-phone-in-front-of-bathroom-mirror technique. I had a remote that actually had a timer, so I could click it and then conceal it before the shutter opened. Alas, that camera is gone in one of Mr. S's purges since I wasn't using it.

    I love the long stripey cover-up, and the way your hair matches the skyline in the last photo!

    You're looking kind of scary in these photos. Does anyone else use that stairwell or do they back away from you and rappel down the building instead?

  14. Most excellent post, great tips and made me laugh, Ta muchly for the tips.

  15. Nice! This is extremely useful. Whenever I use a remote, I'm always SUPER nervous about it. I can't relax, no matter how hard I try. So, the techniques for natural poses and also hiding the remote are really key for me. The pocket trick is good. I use that one, but I also like the other options for when pockets aren't available.

    One thing I read from another blogger is that she sometimes throws or drops the remote in the grass, which I think is another good idea, because it frees up your arms/hands. Anyway, great post! In love with that red coat, too, by the way!

    - Anna

  16. And on a sad day like this I'm thinkin that your style have a lot in common with David Bowie's

  17. What Ulla-Marie said!
    (and you my dear did brighten my day with this post - thankyoU!!!) xox

  18. Oooh, I'm SO late to this party!!!
    What Connie said! Ulla-Marie likewise!! Would be willing to borrow what Patti said, despite the "surly" :)
    You're absolutely right to love your champagne sequins; and I'm perfectly right to covet yet another pair of your shoes (and if you were to throw in the tights too it'd do no harm!)
    Thank you, as always, for your wicked self-irony - and for never, EVER being dull.
    Baci Sxx

  19. Great read, but am sticking with the press and run technique - not ready to advance to gadgetry yet. Love the rose gold dress and glitter tights, as Greetje remarked recently, I'm a more is more kinda girl x
    Anna's Island Style

  20. hahaha, that was funny. Especially the posing guide whahaha.
    I have another remote trick for you: put a plant next to you with leaves that can hide the remote but not let it disappear. Like boxwood. The remote can usually be set to take a few seconds. Quickly hide it in the plant and assume position. The curse because the boxwood did eat the remote after all.
    As for the outfits this post... they are rather out of my comfort zone haha. But the sparkling dress and the striped dress have my love. I would just combine them differently. Conservative, remember?

  21. I never take pictures of myself so I won't be able to try these out for myself, but I'm sure the Remote on Rails would be my most favourite if I did. :)

    Those glittery tights are amazing!

  22. You are awesome and have had me rolling around laughing!! I love the first distraction remote, you look like you are trying to change channels on your tv set. Keep up your good work of teaching us all your top secret moves and grooves!!

  23. This post made me seriously laugh out loud!! I think I'd much rather the remote than the do the ten second timer scramble.

  24. What fun! This is all hilarious!! What I especially enjoyed Melanie is the evident community found with all the fun comments.

    I'm so bummed I didn't remember you live in Vancouver. I'll be back there though since it's always our mini vacay away from Seattle. Plus it's Hongcouver, so I love it even more.

    I just have one question: can I please have that sequin rose dress!? It is beyond fabulous!!

    Love, Ann from Kremb de la Kremb

  25. I'm in the same group as Thorne and Sheila - I press the 10 sec delay button and run into position. Rarely ever results in a good shot. You, on the other hand, have managed to capture several stellar shots with your fancy-shmancy remote. I know I have mentioned this in a comment before, but if you had been around in the era of silent films, you would have definitely been a star! Your facial expressions are the best part of this post XO

  26. That creative brain of yours! It's the best!!! Between reading your post and Connie's comments my stomache muscles are still aching from laughing so hard. So, do you seriously plan these posts ahead of time or just roll with the flow of your creative fun self? This time, my daughter read it first and called me laughing so hard I couldn't even understand her. And then she always ends by saying, "but she is so dang gorgeous", which is the truth!
    I'm loving your new find of that sequin dress, love the color, the fit and the style. And I agree the stripe was most likely a cover-up and I would gladly take it off your hands and use it for that as well this summer.

  27. You crack me up. I adore this educational post, but your facial expressions are priceless. You are a true actress with overwhelming talent.

    Could I borrow your pink sequin dress???

  28. You are both the queen and the expert on this subject, Melanie! I will have to consult with you once I decide to remotecontrole my photo shoots. :) These red furry coat and red shoes are beyond fantastic. Love your richly textured glam outfits and comic talent!

  29. Bwahaha, you are the best, my dear! I absolutely LOVE that red coat of yours. Just about one of my favourite things I've seen on a blog, evaaah!!

    My remote doesn't work in a pocket either, but my camera has a 2 second delay, giving me time to whip my hand behind my back, or even shove it in a pocket if I'm speedy.

  30. fabulous dresses and über fabulous furry red coat, I'm loving it!!, and your poses and great advices!, even if I have not a remote, nor a tripod!.
    I'm used to take my pics using my camera 12sec timer, and a litter bin or a bench. Sometimes Mr.A. is forced to take my pics, but he stays hating photography.
    Your furry coats are absolutely covetable!

  31. The perfect tutorial. I just need a remote to go with it. Every outfit is a pleasure, every expression a joy. Stay warm!! You just made my day. XXXXOOOO

  32. hahahaha! it is my problem, I know it very good! Love your posts :)
    Best (

  33. All this talk of remotes and with the light cord showing made me think you had somehow plugged in your camera!
    Crazy twist of thought.
    My fav is the glasses position...with the feet sitting in undoneup shoes.
    And the remote on rails is genius!
    Xo Jazzy Jack

  34. this tutorial is awesome...and I love everything you're wearing!

  35. So informative! I read the whole consider myself now to be a remote (hidden or not) control freak...uh...PRO. Thanks, miss Mel!

  36. LOVE THIS. I have not even thought about the more obvious solution of just OWNING the remote and using the "rails" technique. Well-played Madame. I will be using this.


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