Before becoming blogger myself I always wondered… How do all those solo travellers manage to fill their Instagram galleries with such stunning shots of themselves?
Do they have secret photographers they don’t tell us about? Special magic powers or a few extra invisible limbs? Actually, it turns out they don’t. I know this because a) I’m one of them now and b) I’ve been closely observing other bloggers in their natural habitat ever since buying this little piece of Internet real estate.
So, how does this whole solo-travelling photo-taking thing work? Turns out it’s embarrassingly simple. The only requirement? Patience and not worrying about looking silly. These are the best and simplest ways to take photos of yourself when travelling solo…
Possibly the simplest way of taking a photo of yourself when travelling alone is using the self-timer on your camera or phone. If you’re using this method – or any of the following three – you will need either a tripod or a flat even surface to rest your camera on. Flat even surface can mean anything from a bench to a grassy plain, just make sure your camera doesn’t get nicked, splashed with water or something equally disastrous.
As for tripods, I’d only recommend a sturdy big one if you plan on taking beautiful long-exposure shots, need a video head or your camera is very large. Otherwise go with a gorilla pod – they’re extremely versatile, light and easy to transport. If you don’t mind frantically running into the shot, the self-timer function on its own should do. If you’d like to be a little slicker, get a clicker. I’m sorry, I can’t resist a rhyme no matter how subpar.
What I’m saying is – get a device to control your camera’s shutter with. This can either be a separate remote control or just your phone. My Lumix LX100 can do this through the Panasonic image app for iPhone and most cameras have this functionality nowadays.
2. Burst mode
Burst mode is a setting on your camera which allows it to take lots of photos in a short space of time. How many depends on your device, but even an iPhone can take 10 frames per second! The procedure here is very similar to the above – only as a bonus you’ll have more photos to choose from.
3. 4k photography
If you like the idea of having many shots to choose from, you’ll love 4k photography. I know I do! What is it? It’s like burst mode on steroids! The camera captures video at 30 frames per second with little motion blur – in other words, 5 seconds of video will give you 150 different photos to choose from.
For more info, check out my the Panasonic Lumix 4k photo page as well as my post about 4k photography for step-by-step instructions on how to get the perfect image. This method is particularly effective for photos of movement – think running, jumping, tossing your hair…
4. Video screenshots
If your camera does not have a 4k photography function, try simple video screenshots. It’s easy – record a short video of yourself, then pause the video on your computer or phone and take a screenshot. These won’t be as sharp or as high-quality as 4k photos, but with a bit of editing magic you can still get some amazing snaps!
5. Reflective surfaces
Now, let’s start getting a little creative. I know mirror selfies are pretty passé, but I’m not talking about a random snap of yourself at the gym. How about using the reflective powers of sunglasses, car mirrors or water?
6. Random body parts
You are more than just a pretty face! No, I’m not about to give you a pep talk about body image – not today anyway. What I’m trying to say is, you don’t need your whole body in the photo to prove you were there. How about a cute photo of your feet on a cool floor (#ihavethisthingwithfloors), one of those are-they-sausages-or-legs seaside snaps or your hand pointing toward something in the distance?
If you’re a fashion blogger, don’t forget to include a quick #whatiwore snap of your outfit from above. I snapped the one above at London Fashion Week this year – no shame!
7. Selfie stick
I know, I know. A selfie stick is the Justin Bieber of photography equipment – everyone loves to hate them. Are they lame? Oh my, YES. But they get the job done and as long as you’re not beating someone upside the head with them I don’t see what the real danger is.
8. Long arm selfie
If you simply refuse to be that person, just stretch your arm out as far as you can, strike a pose and snap a selfie. It’s more discreet than posing with a selfie-stick and unless you are a T-Rex, you should be able to get a nice enough shot.
My top tip? If you have a wide angle camera – or better yet a GoPro – you’ll be able to pack a lot of background into one photo. Perfect for gorgeous landscapes and sprawling vistas!
9. Friendly strangers
I know this sounds like something straight out of the last millennium (it is), but there is definitely nothing wrong with asking a stranger to take your photo. I always keep an eye out for people carrying DSLRs because I (sometimes wrongly) assume they will know what they’re doing. If you want a great shot, show the person taking it exactly what you want in it and then just hop in and have them press the shutter!
10. Fellow travellers
Last, but certainly not least… fellow travellers. It may sound like this category is no different from the previous one but it is. My favourite way to get gorgeous photos and find like-minded kindred spirits is searching for fellow travellers online and then hanging out in real life.
Where can you find them? Instagram is a wonderful place to meet other people travelling in the area – the photo of me in front of London’s Houses of Parliament was taken by Amy whom I met through that platform!
Another amazing way to meet fellow travelling ladies (sorry boys, don’t feel left out) is joining my online community, the Girls vs Globe group on Facebook. Sure, I’m a little biased. But the women in it – many of whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person – are some of the coolest people I’ve ever encountered.
What are your favourite ways to take photos of yourself when travelling solo? Do you prefer to rely on technology or other people? Which of these methods is your favourite? I mainly tend rely on other travellers and lately 4k photo – don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for more snaps!
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