There’s one little struggle that comes when travelling solo, and that’s how do you take those awesome travel photos of yourself. Because we all know that if it’s not on social media it didn’t happen, right?
I’ve travelled by myself for a couple of years now, here are a few important lessons I’ve learned from years of trying to capture the perfect photos as a solo traveler – tricks that go way beyond a selfie stick.
Personally, I mostly travel with two iPhones and use these for photos because I don’t want to lug a SLR camera around.
Take Your Time
This is probably my favorite thing about taking photos of myself: I can take as long as I want, trying out as many silly poses as I need to until I get the perfect shot without feeling like I’m keep my travel buddies waiting.
Use a Tripod (lightweight of course)
This is huge game changer and not as hard as it seems. I got my first tripod off ebay, it came with a little bag and is super lightweight. My phone clips in the top and the legs adjust. I spent $20.
There are fancier ones that have a level thingy so you can get super straight photos….but a wonky angle gives…character I say.
Yes you can rest your camera on a ledge somewhere and use the self timer, but it’s going to be so much harder to properly frame your shot. Also, I’ve broken many phone screens by trying to rest it up against something and it’s fallen forward…
I’m yet to purchase one of these. But have seen other solo travellers wrap them around trees and poles for the perfect shot.
Bonus tip: If I start to feel embarrassed about taking so many photos of myself in public, I just pretend that I’m working on a super important photo project. It might sound silly, but just pretending that to myself gives me the confidence to do my thing without worrying about how ridiculous I might look. If anyone asks – I just say it’s for a university project.
Ask for Help
Sometimes you can’t set up a tripod (like somewhere busy where someone could steal it) to take a photo of yourself and then it’s totally find to ask someone for help! Almost everyone is going to be willing to help you out, and if you do happen to ask someone who doesn’t want to do it, just ask someone else, no harm done.
Photos taken by strangers can be a little hit or miss, but there are a few things you can do to ensure a better photo:
- Ask someone with a nice camera
They generally know how to take a decent photo if they’ve invested big $$ into a fancy camera.
- Ask them to take several photos of you
It will only take a few extra seconds for someone to take 3 or 4 photos of you instead of just one, and those extra shots could make all the difference!
- Be specific about what you want
Most people are going to want to help you get the photo you want, so don’t be afraid to give them instructions! In fact, being specific about how you want them to take the photo will make it easier on them.
For example, hey I’d love for this big tree to be in the background and I’ll stand to the right of it.
- Be mindful of who you ask, approach people your own age.
Not everyone is tech savy. Aim for gen-y or someone a similar age to you. They generally know how to use gadets and don’t get flustered trying to use a touch screen.
FOR THE LOVE OF BABY GEEBERZZZZ – ASK THEM NOT TO ZOOM. ZOOMING IS THE WORST. It effects picture quality in a big way. It’s always better to crop afterwards.
Befriend other solo travellers
The funny thing about solo travel is that oftentimes you’ll end up joining up with other travelers anyway. Take advantage of this and offer to take some photos of your new travel buds for them! If you spend some time getting the perfect photos for them, chances are they’ll do the same for you in return.
BONUS: Use these tips when you’re traveling with friends too!
Just because you’re not heading out on your own doesn’t mean you should leave the tripod and remote at home. It can be easy to forget to get photos with everyone in your group, but it’s worth at least sometimes putting in that extra effort to get some shots of all of you.
Use Video Screenshots
This is one of the cheekiest tips, one that I only learnt about this year.
Take a video or set up your camera and video, then you can screenshot the best moments, and use this as a picture.
I met my friend Liz at a fashion show, we instantly became friends. She’s always travelling around solo and has the best insta photos. She shared her secret with me. MINDBLOWN
Hope you found these tips helpful. Let me know if you have any to add.