‘Who takes your photos?’ is the most common question I get on my social media channels and a lot of people get confused when I said that it’s often my best friend Tripod. While not all my shots are taken the same way I wanted to share with you my little tutorial on how to take selfies/photos of yourself when traveling solo.
Usually, solo travelers rarely show up in their own photos unless they have an Instagram husband. While I do have a husband, he doesn’t travel with me all the time and when he does, he prefers to take his on photos than photos of me. And I prefer to be in my own photos, especially after I decided to start a travel blog and moreover monetize it.
I don’t mean to say ‘I’m beautiful and everyone just loves looking at me’, but rather that if I take a great shot of something anyone else can have the same one. By adding myself in the photo I’m going to have a photo that only I’ll have. Does this make sense?
How to Take Good Photos of Yourself? (updated 2018)
What do you need in order to take your own photos? Lots of patience and not worrying about looking silly. Also, the ability to disregard other people’s stares. Once you master the smize technique you’ll be fine and take your own photos quicker 😉
First, let me tell you that by taking photos of yourself I don’t mean these bathroom mirror shots that almost every celebrity decided to put on their social media channels recently. Unless your bathroom looks like this one below I’d never recommend you doing this 😉
Ways to Take Beautiful Travel Pictures of Yourself
Ask people to take a photo of you
While it might seem like the most obvious option, it’s not always the best one. In my case, photos taken by other people turn out to be bad, with either my head or legs chopped off, or without a thing I actually wanted a photo with. Unless you explain to a person what exactly do you want and tell them to hold the camera in an exact position and zoom already set, your photo will probably be useless.
Find people with a tripod, they usually know how to take a decent photo. Hold the camera the way you want it and show them a point of interest.
Reality check: photos like this one below can probably only happen when they’re taken by a professional photographer. Sorry guys!
Use a tripod
Tripods are my best friends when traveling solo. I currently have two tripods: a gorilla pod that I use for bigger projects, and a mini tripod that fits in my pocket and can be used whenever I need a random shot. Both of these tripods were as cheap as below $50 on Amazon and they won’t take much space in your suitcase.
These cheap tripods work for me, but if your camera is heavier they won’t do a very good job. If I’m using my husband’s Sony Alpha 7r II the camera won’t stand on it. In this case, we use either this tripod or this one. I don’t recommend the cheapest tripods out there for expensive cameras, as once the tripod falls you might break your fancy camera and lenses.
A tripod is also recommendable for more advanced photographers willing to take photos with long exposure (eg. photograph the northern lights or dark places) as no matter how steady you might think you can hold your camera it’s never going to be steady enough to make your shot not blurry. Trust me, I thought my hands were steady too 😉
How to take photos using a tripod if you want to be in your shot? You basically have two options: either set the timer for 10 or 20 seconds and run in front of the camera or purchase a remote controller for your camera or phone. Alternatively, install an app called PlayMemories on your phone that connects via Bluetooth. Easy peasy!
For smartphones, I recommend this wireless remote because you can actually go quite far away from the camera. I tried the most popular one on Amazon (this one) and it doesn’t properly work unless you care only about your head in the shot. Here are some other examples of my remote shutter photos:
Use GoPro with accessories
As a new owner of GoPro Hero 6, I love trying all the accessories. While I’m not a big fan of selfie sticks, they can be very useful when it comes to taking shots of yourself. The trick is to hide the stick somehow, so don’t make a mistake I did in this shot below 😉
You can also use a GoPro flex clamp mount which allows you to have two hands visible in the shot. I personally love this one!
Set your camera to burst mode
Burst mode is a camera setting that allows it to take lots of photos in a short time. How many depends on your device, but even an iPhone can take 10 frames per second! You’ll have more photos to go through when choosing the right one, but I think it’s worth it!
Use a long arm selfie for close-up shots
If you simply refuse to be that selfie stick person (like me), just stretch your arm out as far as you can, strike a pose and snap a selfie. This technique works perfectly if you need a close-up shot like this one with a kangaroo, or if you use your GoPro to get a wider angle.
A photo posted by Anna L ✈ AnnaEverywhere (@anna.everywhere) on
Put random parts of your body in a shot
Your full body doesn’t always have to be in the shot, but if you still want to make a photo more ‘yours’ why don’t you put a hand in the shot? You might laugh at my advice, but take a look at this food photo and tell me if it doesn’t look awesome!
This is what you can get next to the pink wall! Well, maybe not my cat wallet but at least a coffee 😉This cafe can print anything you want on your coffee☕️ in 3 minutes. How cool is that?! I was debating printing a photo with @expertvagabond, but @poofythefluffycat looked cuter afterall😜Did I mention I love cats yet…? 🐱🐈 _____ http://liketk.it/2sVyz #liketkit @liketoknow.it
Use reflective surface to take a photo
While reflective surfaces are rare (apart from mirrors) they can be found and used for some great shots. Take a look at my photo from the Chicago’s Cloud Gate aka the Bean sculpture.
Get a drone
The newest took to get awesome photos of yourself is a drone. I currently own the smallest one on the market – DJI Spark, and it’s doing a pretty good job.
As you can see it’s possible to have nice photos of yourself even if you’re traveling solo. Do you use any of my techniques? Share them below!