6 Tips For Photographing Yourself Whilst Traveling Solo
Planning a trip solo? Looking to capture photos of you in front of the camera and not just from behind it? Great! And you should! It's YOUR trip and why would you not want some memorable moments of the stuff you're getting into whilst traveling solo?
Here are 6 Tips For Photographing Yourself Whilst Traveling Solo
1. Practice being your own art director
Do you have a particular way you like to shoot photographs? Or what you like to see captured in your composition? Do you prefer to have a photo taken in portrait mode or landscape? What about standing still or moving around? If you do, terrific! You are one step closer to capturing your photos just the way you want them. If not, have no fear! It takes a little practice and a little patience and you will get there.
Here's how: Before you head out for your trip, look through your own favorite photos or Instagram accounts or both and identify what it is you love about those particular shots. Consider the composition before the editing has been done. Do you notice the position of where the person is standing in relationship to what's in the background? Do you like that there is hardly anyone (if anyone) in the photo? Do you like the negative space or maybe you prefer a busier image? After identifying what you love, make notes, save your favs on Insta and try to emulate those set-ups when you are in your dream destination. Understanding how you want the image to be taken will help it getting captured despite the modality of the photo being used.
For more tips to make the most of the composition of your (phone) photography, check out this post.
2. Ask a fellow tourist
If you are traveling to a top ten travel destination, for example, chances are there will be MANY fellow travelers at the same landmarks you are looking to capture. So, don't be bashful. When you hear a language you are comfortable with, and see folks you are OK to ask, go for it. Sometimes when a couple is traveling together or a pair of friends, they too want their photo of the two of them taken and you can offer to photograph them in exchange for their help.
Depending on the type of photo you want taken you might also want to look out for individuals who look like they Instagram often or understand style. They might be able to take some cool photos for you. Either way, use your art director skills and provide the person with direction. Ask them to place you in the center of the photo or on the left of the Eiffel Tower. The more discerning you are with your taste the more incredible the photo will be.
3. Use the self timer on your cell phone (or camera)
This you may need to do whether you place your phone on a ledge or use something like a tripod (more on that in a moment), but practicing your self-taking photography with the self-timer is also key; particularly if you like to take photos with motion. Are you someone who wants to do a hand-stand in front of a cool wall, or a cart-wheel, jump, or twirl in a pretty skirt? Then self-timer is for you. Because it photographs in burst-mode you can pick out your favorite shot of the 10 bursts; which height, angle, or direction best suits your desires. If you aren't in a busy area you can consider putting it on a ledge, bookshelf, a tree limb (best with a Joby) or even on the ground. It will come down to the type and style of photograph you want to accomplish and can leave you with one of your most iconic travel photos yet.
4. Use a tripod
A tripod can be intimidating or bulky to pack, but there are now options that make it much easier and less complicated to use for a solo trip. There are tripods available that are both powerful enough and small enough to fit in your backpack. If you aren't an avid photographer, consider more practice at home or in your neighborhood before setting it up on your trip and look for compatible apps that will help you see the image through the lens before taking the shot. For example, the Lumix G camera has a corresponding app that allows the shooter to see through the viewfinder on the iPhone and snap the shot without using a timer at all.
Also, consider where you want to set up the tripod. Some attractions and landmarks prohibit the use of a tripod and you'll have to find an alternative method. And some places will be teaming with tourists, so consider the time of day you hit up the attraction to avoid any issues with your equipment. Plus fewer people in your photo may be exactly what you're looking for.
5. Grab that selfie-stick
If the tri-pod really is too overwhelming, don't feel like you can't just use a selfie-stick. They do come with a funky reputation and can also be banned in particular landmarks, but keep it in your day pack. You never know when you just need to pull it out and capture that shot you so desperately want. It is compact, easy to carry along, and can get the job done for a traveler of one. It might be worth doing a little practice before you go as well to know if you shake when it's fully extended. You don't want blurry photos!
6. Hire a local photo pro
If any of the above doesn't work or you have your heart set on an amazing photoshoot in front of your dream destination, consider hiring a local professional photographer. He or she may know some of the best places to take photos and time of day to capture the shot. And if she is good at what she does, she might be able to give effective art direction and bring out your best in the photo. You can always use a local search engine to find a pro or a site like Flytographer that aggregates local photographers for the shoot you need. All you need to do is set up an account, search for your city and submit. Check out this great service, we both get $25 if you use my code TARYNWEITZMAN or simply use this link."
If you find yourself in Seoul, South Korea and want to work with Greg, you can find his site and contact here.
Happy solo traveling and photo taking!
As always, send feedback, tips or shots!