How to Get Photos of Yourself while Solo Traveling.

 

“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce. ” -Karl Lagerfeld. 

A good set of photographs are my favorite souvenirs to bring home from my travels. Remember that scene at the end of the movie Titanic? The scene when Rose is an old lady asleep in her bed (just like Jack promised ! ) then the camera pans to all her photographs of the adventures she had in her life?  #Goals. That inspired me to start up my own little photo collection.

My fiancé is a bad ass photographer and I’m lucky that not only does he take great photos during our wanders, but he teaches me a thing or two about how to take good photos myself (yes my blog photos I take myself! I can do it too :-P) . Recently, I embarked on my very first solo adventure and since this milestone was important to me, I wanted to make sure I captured every moment. I did not want my souvenir to be an album full of the awkward “just your face” selfie, so I had to think of ways to get creative, quality photos documenting my trip. I mean anyone can look up a photo of the Eiffel Tower, or Mount Rushmore on Google, but to have a photo of those places with you in it? To me that’s priceless.  Here are the methods that worked for me while soloing through Ireland:

  1. Werking the selfie stick!

Don’t just work it. Bust that stick out with attitude and werk it! Yes, it feels awkward at first because people will make random comments and ask dumb ass questions like, “Is that a selfie stick?” But who cares? Once you see what kind of photos you can get by using it, you will get over the awkwardness and have fun. Just exercise some good old common sense, yeah? Don’t whip it out when you are asses to elbows in a huge crowd, or make everyone wait for you while you fumble to get it situated. Also, pay attention to your surroundings. Don’t walk off a cliff or anything.

selfie stick cool autumn aqaurius
Look how much more scenery I captured with that extra length!
Giant's causeway selfie autumn aquarius
Boom. Found a nice little spot to myself and selfied away.

2. Become a camera timer ninja.

Okay, this is going to take some practice. First of all, if you don’t want to lug around an annoying tripod, you are going to have to find a tree stump, rock or some kind of elevated surface to steady your camera on. Then you are going to have to make sure you are framing the shot correctly. When setting the timer, I always use the 10 second option versus the 3 second so that I have time to run into the frame and think of some cool pose. It will probably take several shots until you get one you like, so make sure you have time and be patient. The best time to do this is at the butt crack of dawn when you have crowded places to yourself. I practiced this method, and got familiar with my camera settings for months before I actually got photos that I kind of liked. Also, when you are done with self timer mode don’t forget to change the settings back to normal mode before you snap away at scenery or monuments otherwise you will wonder awkwardly why your camera is delayed in taking a picture and why it’s beeping and counting down at you…

selfie set up autumn aquarius
How I set up my camera for…
DSC06436
This shot.
autumn aquarius selfie shots
Attempt number one out of..
autumn aquarius self time shot
…like 50 tries later.

3. Lastly, just ask already. 

So this is the hardest one for me. I am really shy, and I don’t like feeling like I am inconveniencing people when I ask them to take my photo. Also, you never know what kind of photo you are going to end up with. You can end up finding a person who is super talented and will take a beautiful photo of you, or you can end up with this:

amatuer photo taker
Valiant try…but…nope.

In any case, the best method to go about asking people is to look for couples/individuals/families trying to do the awkward selfie with their arms outstretched, and offer to take it for them. I always take a few from different angles so they have variety, then I show them an example of how I would like them to frame my photo. Nine times out of ten people are nice and are happy to return the favor.

autumn aquarius hill of tara
Timeless photo of me touching the phallic symbol on the Hill of Tara. All because I asked a kind stranger. Thank you kind stranger.

Just remember, when you return from your adventure, these photos will be all you have left of a wonderful time in your life. But that really goes for any adventure life throws your way, whether it be birthdays, weddings, family time, random hangouts with friends, or quiet moments spent at home with loved ones. Enjoy these moments, and if you want to capture them and keep them forever.

Do you have any suggestions on how to take cool travel photos? Share them in the comments!

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Jamie is a writer with a passion for adventure, history, and more. When she’s not out exploring the world, Jamie is at home in sunny San Diego, CA chasing sunsets and carne asada fries, preoccupied with research, or invested in a good book and a cup of tea.

21 thoughts on “How to Get Photos of Yourself while Solo Traveling.

  1. You visited me and so I came to see what you are up to. I like your post and thought you might appreciate a couple more tips. If you don’t want a tripod to do self-timer shots on I recommend a small beanbag (i.e. a sack about 4 inches square filled with beans or whatever suitable filling you may have) it’s easy to carry and you than then put it on an uneven surface and then rest you camera on it enabling you to adjust your angle etc.

    The second is not really a tip but I simply love my Sony DSC-QX10 as not only is it pocket sized you can control it from your phone which is also the viewfinder. So you can set it up, walk over to where you want to be adjust the zoom and focus then press the shutter. Then look at the results and retake as needed. It is great and my girlfriend and I have some lovely shots from using it on our travels

      1. looking at your blog we seem to have visited similar places. I started following you in case I can get tips for my next trip 🙂

  2. You have some good tips on how to take pictures but how do you post them in your blog? I’ve only managed to post one photo in my blog. Since i will be travelling in the near future, I want to add more to my stories. If you can help me with this, I promise to provide some great photos to share with you.

  3. Kia Ora Jamie,

    Offering to take photos is a wonderful way to engage your fellow travelers. People are usually thrilled to have someone take their picture. I love dogs and have painted many dog portraits . so.. when I see a dog, I just can’t help myself- I ask to take their photo! The owners are always delighted and will help pose their dog. It’s a great ice breaker and I have some fun photos- I don’t even mind not being in it! Safe and happy travels.
    Maureen

    1. Kia Ora Maureen!

      That is a great idea! I love dogs as well so I might try that. Thanks for the idea :-). Hope you have safe and happy travels. And find lots of cute dogs to take photos of !

    1. Thank you for reading! I hope it helped. I recently bought a small portable tripod from walmart and I’m loving it. It fits my camera and my phone so it makes things a bit easier 🙂

  4. Love your post! I will add, that we bought a cute little gorillapod and we use that to secure our camera to a sign, branch, or whatever when we want a photo of ourselves… or me when I’m traveling alone… and use the camera self-timer. But I also love asking other people for help and offering to take their picture, it makes me feel less alone!

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