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Photography Travel Tips

The 5 Tips You Need to Know to Take Amazing Photos of Yourself When Traveling Solo

November 15, 2017
White Sands National Monument - How to Take Amazing Photos of Yourself when Traveling Solo
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Are you wondering how to take amazing photos of yourself when traveling solo? No worries, the struggle is real. There’s nothing worse than being on your dream vacation, and having no one to capture a photo of you there as well. I mean, these are your memories after all!

So trust me, I completely understand. And since I have picked up a few tricks on the subject, I am happy to share some tips with you! Let’s go!

P.S. All photos included in this post were captured either by a tripod or by a stranger

  

Grimes Canyon - How to Take Amazing Photos of Yourself when Traveling Solo

How to Take Amazing Photos of Yourself When Traveling Solo

1. Invest in a Tripod and Become BFF with Your Automatic Timer

I recently invested in a tripod and it has been glorious. I seriously love it! Here’s the key though, you need to be best friends with your automatic timer.

I like to set my automatic timer to take 10 shots every 0.5 a second. Then I use a 10 second delay so I have enough time to jump into the frame. And presto, photography magic! 

White Sands National Monument - How to Take Amazing Photos of Yourself when Traveling Solo

The beauty is, if you don’t like the image, you can easily change exactly what you want to change. You can do this by zooming the lens, moving yourself within the frame, etc. 

Pirate Tower, Laguna Beach - How to Take Amazing Photos of Yourself when Traveling Solo

Pirate Tower, Laguna Beach - How to Take Amazing Photos of Yourself when Traveling Solo

2. You Have to Ask the Right People to Take Your Photo

One of the easiest ways to take amazing photos of yourself when traveling solo is to ask a stranger. But trust me, there are definitely some “do’s and dont’s”. Let’s begin!

Temecula Valley - How to Take Amazing Photos of Yourself when Traveling Solo

Here’s the thing, you can’t just ask anyone. If you do, you will increase your chances of being disappointed. Then, you’ll have to awkwardly wait until they leave so you to ask someone else to take your photo (don’t act like you don’t do this, too 😉).

LACMA Los Angeles County Museum of Art - How to Take Amazing Photos of Yourself when Traveling Solo

Here’s what you do:

  • Ask a Girl – I almost always ask a girl. Look for a girl who is also taking photos. Or even better selfies! She’s going to be your girl. The chances are higher that she’s going to do a decent job, just because she clearly cares and is into photography. 
  • Ask Someone Who’s Younger – Older people just don’t understand our “take a photo of everything” generation. They are also easily confused by nicer cameras. If they’ve asked where the shutter-release button is, you’ve asked the wrong person.
  • Ask Someone with a Nice Camera – This doesn’t always work. Some people buy nice cameras with no idea how to use them. But at least it will increase your chances that they might know what they’re doing. 

White Sands National Monument - How to Take Amazing Photos of Yourself when Traveling Solo

3. Set your Camera to Continuous Mode 

When you ask your kind stranger to take your photo, change the camera setting to continuous mode. This way, when they press the shutter button down, the camera will take multiple photos, instead of just one. By doing this you increase the chances of getting one you like. I put mine on the highest setting which is 10 frames per second. 

If you only have a phone camera, don’t worry, I have tips for you, too. Ask whoever is taking your photo to press the shutter release button (the button that takes the photo) continuously. This way they are taking multiple photos, instead of just 1 or 2. The cool thing about camera phones is they are able to take multiple photos very quickly. By doing this, you are able to achieve a similar effect as continuous mode on a camera. 

Pirate Alley, New Orleans - How to Take Amazing Photos of Yourself when Traveling Solo

4. Communicate the Angle You Want

Communicating the angle helps people understand what you’re wanting. 

Basic things I tell my kind stranger are:

  • Horizontal vs. Vertical – It’s important to specify how you would like them to hold the camera.
  • Body Shot – Do you want your whole body (including feet) in the frame?
  • Urban Shot – Do you wanting the entire building in the photo, or maybe just a little bit of it?
  • Landscape Shot – Do you want to capture the top of the mountain peaks? (I’ve found they frequently get cut off)

Pro Tip: A great trick for if they seem patient is: take a sample photo without you in the frame to show them exactly what you’re wanting to capture.

Monument Valley - How to Take Amazing Photos of Yourself when Traveling Solo

5. Communicate What You’ll Be Doing in the Photo

For my photos, I don’t always like to look directly at the camera. As you can imagine, this can easily create confusion. If I don’t communicate to them “I’m not going to look at the camera”, they’ll be waiting forever for me to be “ready”.  

Instead, I tell them in advance what I plan on doing in the photo. Simply saying, “I’m going to sit on the rock and look out at the bridge” increases my chances of a good photo by 100-fold. 

Antelope Canyon - How to Take Amazing Photos of Yourself when Traveling Solo

BONUS TIP: Add Movement

I love movement in photos! When a camera is pointed at me, I tend to freeze up. When I add movement such as walking, twirl, raising my hand, etc. my photos look smooth and natural.

So, let’s put it all together!

  1. Save yourself some headache and buy a tripod
  2. Ask a younger girl with a nice camera to take your photo
  3. Set your camera to continuous mode
  4. Communicate how you want the photo taken
  5. Communicate what you’re going to do in the photo
  6. Add the movement to make your photo look more natural

New Orleans - How to Take Amazing Photos of Yourself when Traveling Solo

Read More:

10 Tips for Taking Great Photos of Yourself (for any occasion)

San Diego’s Most Instagram-Worthy Spots

Monument Valley’s Most Instagrammable Locations

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How to Take Amazing Photos of Yourself when Traveling Solo

And vualá! These are all my 5 tips for taking amazing photos of yourself when traveling solo! Do you have any tips? I would love to know in the comments below!

TIFFANY NICOLE

Tiffany created Lavender Vines as a place to share her love for Jesus and adventures from around the world. She has a slight obsession with salted caramel lattes, Japanese kimonos, and an ongoing love affair with NYC and Paris.

  • Reply
    Christina
    January 10, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    First off, I love these tips and the post about posing! I’m starting to travel more and I want to take more artsy photos. I always feel awkward lol. I’ve noticed that a good amount of your photos are empty places. Any tips on taking photos in busy areas with a tripod and not feeling awkward while traveling solo?

    • TIFFANY NICOLE
      Reply
      TIFFANY NICOLE
      January 10, 2018 at 12:39 pm

      Hey Christina! I’m so glad you found it useful and helpful! But the funny thing is, even though a lot of the places in the post are landscape/nature, they definitely were not empty, lol. There were lots of people around looking at me, and I definitely have had to overcome feeling a bit awkward. Especially when using a tripod. My best advice comes from personal experience. Whenever I”m somewhere beautiful and really wanting to capture a great image (but feel too embarrassed to get out there and do it) I come home feeling a bit disappointed in myself. I think the short term embarrassment is worse than never having that memory captured in an amazing place. When I think of this, I just reassure myself that I don’t know these people, and will never see them again, but if it’s a great photo, I will cherish it forever. I hope this helps! Trust me, I know it’s hard. But I’ve actually gotten compliments from friends who are like, “girl you just go out there and own it like a boss”, haha! I guess you just gotta own it sometimes. 😉

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