Ways to Take Beautiful Travel Pictures of Yourself

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‘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 and that’s totally fine, but 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 shot… and 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 a good picture of yourself? (updated 2017)

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 😉  Ways to Take Selfies

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 😉

Sketch London

Sketch restaurant in London

Ways to Take Beautiful Travel Pictures of Yourself

Option 1:
Ask people with a good camera 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.


I wanted a photo with a fish…

Reality check: photos like this one below can probably only happen when they’re taken by a professional photographer. Sorry guys!

Option 2: 
Use a tripod and set a timer

Tripods are my best friends when traveling solo. I currently have two tripods: a big tripod 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 $20 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 you fancy camera and lens.

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 😉

Checking my remote shutter

How to take photos using a tripod if you want to be in your shot? You basically have two options: either set the timer to 10 seconds and run in front of the camera or purchase a remote controller for your camera or phone. 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 (here) 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:


Option 3:
Use GoPro 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 😉

I wanted to take a cool shot, but I suck at using selfie sticks ;-)

I wanted to take a cool shot, but I suck at using selfie sticks 😉

For extreme activities, I use my GoPro wrist strap that became very handy when I went rafting in Mexico.

Huasteca Potosina rafting

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!


Road tripping to Chichen Itza!

Option 4:
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!

Option 5:
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.

Selfie of the day with a kangaroo! Thanks to @nurturedbynatureotters for an amazing experience 🙂 #nurturedbynature #kangarooselfie

A photo posted by Anna L ✈ AnnaEverywhere (@anna.everywhere) on

Option 6:
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!

Option 7: 
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.

Hi5 with myself!

Hi5 to myself in Chicago!

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!

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  1. Mar 25, 2016 / 9:08 pm

    Have you ever had any bad experiences using your tripod? I would be nervous, especially with the mini one, that someone would just grab it and run. In some of your shots, you have your back to the camera…has this ever made you uncomfortable that some would try to steal your camera?

    • Mar 26, 2016 / 6:35 pm

      Nope. My camera doesn’t look super expensive tho! 🙂

      Jun 21, 2016 / 3:23 pm

      I was thinking the same thing. 🙂 But I probably look super tense with my tourist death grip on all my belongings.

  2. Jun 21, 2016 / 2:01 am

    LOL. Thank you for answering my Twitter question about how you took those awesome photos. You looks really awesome. I bet you are even awesomer in person.

    I mostly took photos with my Canon 7D. Carrying a heavy tripod isn’t feasible to me. I find mobile phone a much easier option for shooting.

    Have fun traveling while you can!

    • Jun 21, 2016 / 11:02 pm

      Mobile phone can also take great photos, especially nowadays when we have cool editing app. Just remember that the quality isn’t going to be the same when you put the photos on a big screen.

  3. Jul 26, 2016 / 4:23 pm

    Oh man, I made the mistake of trying to set my camera in a tripod over a rock in NY to take a group picture with my friends and the camera fell on the floor and the back glass got shattered. I was soooo upset for the rest of the day lol. I guess I will just stick to big tripods or asking for favors. I love how you suggest that we look for people with the nicer cameras to snap our pics though, great tip!

    • Jul 26, 2016 / 5:08 pm

      Oh noes! It’s useful to put something heavy at the bottom of the tripod when it’s windy (that’s what this little hook is for), but to be fair I’m always afraid slightly 😉

  4. Aug 29, 2016 / 7:00 pm

    I need to work on being more comfortable in front of the camera- model lessons next time I see you please:)

    • Aug 30, 2016 / 6:46 pm

      For sure hehe 🙂

  5. Taylor
    Sep 12, 2016 / 11:52 pm

    What kind of camera do you have? I am in need of investing in a good one for my travel shots. Love all your content. Thank you in advance 🙂

    • Sep 13, 2016 / 11:47 am

      Thank you Taylor! I currently use Sony a5000 for simple shots and Sony a7rII for more specific shots. Apart from the GoPro of course. If you’re looking for just one camera I’d recommend Sony a6000 -> http://amzn.to/2csEdLT

  6. Shelley
    May 8, 2017 / 11:44 am

    Really enjoyed reading this .. Thank you for all those tips..ie tripod, burst and putting different body parts in pics.

  7. Jul 25, 2017 / 5:57 am

    Really these ideas are useful. As a traveler, maximum time I need to go for solo traveling and then I have to face many problems to take selfies and photos. Many times, the pictures I clicked are not as I want and I feel upset. Your methods of taking pictures using tripod and timer is a nice idea. I hope following your methods I will be able to take beautiful pictures. Thank you for the suggestions.

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