How to Take Good Pictures of Yourself When Traveling Solo

‘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 good photos of yourself when traveling solo, with or without a tripod, as I take most of my Instagram pictures solo.

Usually, solo travelers rarely show up in their own photos unless they have an Instagram husband. There’s even a saying (that actually makes me mad), that behind every pretty girly Instagram account there’s a boyfriend or husband behind it. While quite often it’s true, it doesn’t have to be the case.

You CAN take pretty pictures of yourself when you’re a solo female traveler. 

While I do have a husband, he rarely travels with me and when he does, he prefers to take his on photos than photos of me. Since I prefer to be in my own photos, especially after I decided to start a travel blog. 

How to Take Good Photos of Yourself?

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 πŸ˜‰

By taking my own photo I don’t mean to say ‘I’m beautiful and everyone just loves looking at me’. 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?Ways to Take Selfies


Taking a good picture is only 40% of a successful photo. Learning how to edit your photos properly will make you a successful photographer. 

Photos I Took and Edited by Myself AKA Social Proof

How I Take Instagram Pictures by Myself
How to Take Good Pictures of Yourself
traveling solo photos
How to Take Photos of Yourself

Ways to Take Beautiful Travel Pictures of Yourself

Use a Mirror or Reflective Surface

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 πŸ˜‰

Sketch London

chicago bean

Ask Strangers 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. Unless you explain to a person what exactly do you want and tell them to hold the camera in an exact position, your photo will probably be useless.

My Tip: 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.

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!


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A post shared by Anna Karsten | Anna Everywhere (@anna.everywhere) on

Use a Tripod

Tripods are my best friends when traveling solo. I currently use a Manfrotto Tripod, as it’s sturdy enough to hold my camera and doesn’t get blown by the wind. 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.

I previously used a gorilla pod and a mini tripod that fit in my pocket and could be used whenever I needed a random shot. Both of these tripods were as cheap as below $50 on Amazon and they don’t take much space in a suitcase.

A tripod is also recommendable for more advanced photographers willing to take photos with long exposure (eg. photograph the northern lights or dark places). 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 still too πŸ˜‰

Checking my remote shutter

How to Take Photos Using a Tripod if You Want to Be in Your Shot?

You basically have three 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. You could also 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!

tripod photos

If you’re taking pictures with your smartphone, 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.

Alternatively, install an app called PlayMemories on your phone that connects via Bluetooth. Here are some other examples of my remote shutter photos:

solo travel in Iran
self photography tips

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 πŸ˜‰

GoPro selfie

For extreme activities, I use my GoPro wrist strap that became very handy when I went sledding in Tromso. 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!

Use Wide-Angle Lens for Close-Up Shots

If you simply refuse to be that selfie stick person (like myself), you can get yourself a wide-angle lens. This way you will be able to balance a camera on a flat surface nearby, strike a pose and snap a selfie. This technique works perfectly if you need a close-up shot like this one with a Moomin.

mama Moomin
If you want to have lunch with a Moomin, check it out in Tokyo!

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!

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. Drone laws are quite strict, so it’s not always the best option, but keep it in mind.

how to get a drone selfie

How to Take Your Own Travel Photos

how to take good pictures of yourself

As you can see it’s possible to have nice photos of yourself for Instagram even if you’re traveling solo. Do you use any of my techniques? Share them below!

45 thoughts on “How to Take Good Pictures of Yourself When Traveling Solo”

  1. 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?

  2. 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!

    • 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. 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!

    • 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 πŸ˜‰

  4. 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 πŸ™‚

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

  6. 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.

  7. Hello I have the Nikon DSLR 5200 and my daughter and I are going to Disney where selfie sticks are banned.
    Is there any tripod or device that would assist in taking great pictures of us (without always having to ask folks in a crowded park)?
    Any tips and advice would be most appreciated. I’m not an expert on cameras just an amateur single mom that enjoys a good photo πŸ™‚

  8. Thanks so much for this post Anna! I’m very new to blogging and one of the things that’s holding me back is that I don’t have anyone to take pictures for me. I have invested in a tripod but haven’t quite got the hang of it yet. Thanks so much for your tips and advice – mahoosively helpful!

  9. i’m debating between buying a gorillapod or one of the travel tripods you suggested, but im curious – which do you find yourself using more?

    i worry that there might not always be something to hang the gorrillapod on & that it might not be able to provide the best angles. for example, i’m going to visit chichen itza & i want to take photos of my friends & i similar to the one you posted, & for some reason i don’t think a gorillapod would work for that lol or like, for beach shots where they may not be a suitable palm tree available! on the other hand – i don’t really like the idea of having to carry a bigger tripod.

    • Exactly. To be perfectly honest I use both, depending on the situation. I always prefer to carry as little as possible with me, but recently started bringing the big one with me all the time.

  10. A good tripod will help steady your camera and ensure sharp pictures. When using a shutter speed slower than this simple rule of thumb suggest, a tripod is in order. If your camera screws directly onto the tripod, then the camera plate should have matching screw.

  11. I have always loved solo travelling and yes it brings the challenge of photography. But I do manage to click on my own. Nice post.
    BTW which camera are you holding there?

  12. This was a fantastic post. Thank you for writing it. I studied photography for several years but life got in the way of continuing it as a hobby. I’ve been getting into it, recently, but travel photography hasn’t ever been a strong point of mine.
    Thanks for the great pointers, I’m looking forward to learning the skill of travel+photography!

  13. Hi! I loved your blog! I also love traveling and photography!
    I wanted to know if you have a tripod and use a remote control, it’s going to appear in the picture. How can I have my picture taken without appearing that I’m holding a remote control? Just using a timer app then without buying one or do you have some techniques?

  14. Thanks so much for your post! I’m going dor my first solo travel, so excited yet anxious too. Just a quick question, how do you carry your tripod around? Do you bring a large backpack or carry separate tripod bag?

    • I hate backpacks hehe, so I never have any. I either put it on top of my handbag, or bring a tote bag. It sticks out but it doesn’t matter really πŸ™‚

  15. How do you manage to get the angle, and position yourself on the exact spot the camera sees it? I always find this difficult, as the camera is positioned right, but when u get there I’m usually a millimetre off where I want to be, and it makes a difference.

  16. Thanks so much for this! I’ve been getting photos of myself solo traveling for awhile now but I’m still pretty new to the tripod game – I’ve just depended on the times I meet a friend while traveling to snap shots of me when I can. But no more! I’ll just need to get more comfortable looking silly and getting stares, like you said ????

    All the best! ❀
    Claire @ Real Girls Travel

  17. Hi Anna can you give me the name of the remote you use because when I click on the link it’s a selfies stick that apear to me!

    • That’s so strange! Do you mean for the camera or for the phone? For the camera it’s called Foto&Tech, for the phone it’s Zodiac Bluetooth Selfie Remote Control

  18. Very good article. Very beautiful pictures! I see that you have great experience on this subject. There are many ways to take beautiful pictures of myself, but the one I use most often is to ask stranger to take a photo or a tripod.

  19. What lens did you use for the image of yourself in front of Petra. What do you prefer for photos of people in front of large landmarks.

  20. Hi Anna,

    Thanks so much for your article! I am about to embark on my first solo trip and have exhausted myself with research about which tripod to buy and which camera to buy. Do you think it’s necessary to have both an actual camera (I’m thinking Sony a6000) and a GoPro for underwater shots, or can the GoPro do it all? Additionally, I’m wondering if there are any affordable (under $50) tripods out there that can be mounted to both your phone or an actual camera (Sony a6000) or whether you would have to choose? I’m a beginner in photography so would primarily be using Auto mode. I don’t want to regret not having an actual camera, but I’ve also been told by many that my iPhone 11 camera will serve me just fine. What do you primarily use your tripod with? Do tripods typically come with the necessary and appropriate camera/iPhone mounts or do you have to buy those separately as well? Thanks so much for your help in advance! I’m just really lost, and could use your advice.

    • Photos are just half of the success, editing is 50% of the final effect, to be honest. In terms of tripod heads, it depends on a tripod. iPhone 11 takes pretty good photos, but switch to shooting in RAW. The problem is iPhone photos is that they look great on a phone but the moment you put them on a bigger screen it’s all pixelized because the resolution is low.
      I use my tripod for video, photos of myself, night shots, long exposure shots.

  21. Too true though, asking strangers for photos almost always produce the worst angles and unflattering shots. lol Looking at your photos makes me want to pack up my suitcase and travel again. I’ll definitely look up tripod options to take for our next trip.


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