10 Ways To Take Photos Of Yourself When Travelling Solo

panasonic-4k-photo-candy-floss
panasonic-4k-photo-candy-floss

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…

1. Self-timer

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

A post shared by DREW BINSKY (@drewbinsky) on

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!

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. If you buy a product through them I will get a little cut at no extra cost to you. This allows me to keep running this site, making it better and better for you! 🙂

  • Great tips, Sabina! My go-to solution is definitely friendly stranger! When I backpacked in South-America I ended up memorizing both the Spanish and the Portuguese equivalent of “Could you take my picture, please?” Winner, haha!

    • Totally!! It’s a great solution and can sometimes lead to meeting awesome people while travelling alone – always a good thing IMO 😀

  • The Yaya Project

    This is great, I hadn’t thought of some of these options! Thanks for sharing!

    • Yay, glad you enjoyed the post and found some new tips in it! 😀

  • Can I add two more? 1. Remote control! It’s cheap, small enough to be hidden in your closed hand. 2. Wifi apps for cameras like Canon Connect: allows you to shoot from your phone and seeing the picture you are taking (I used it for these photos: http://machedavvero.it/en/2015/07/in-venice-like-a-bond-girl/)

    • Absolutely!! I briefly mentioned both in the first point but they deserve a separate shoutout 😀 Such helpful little gadgets!

  • Olga Rabo

    I neeeeeed to get a tripod!
    http://www.therussianabroad.com

    • Haha it took me a while to get one as well! Check out the Gorillapod I’ve linked in point 1 above – they’re really good and can hold a DSLR 🙂

  • I’ve been seeing so much about 4K photography so now I’m interested! lol I’m heading over to read your post about that next but I’m glad to see you included the selfie stick. I know people have their gripes about them but I’ve seen some travelers get really creative with them!

  • I just knew the easiest tricks: thank you so much for posting new ones! I actually never thought about the video-screenshots: it´s so easy to do!! THANK YOUUU

    https://pandaonavespa.wordpress.com/

    • Yay, really glad you found something new in this post 😀

  • Great post! I do always get a bit queasy setting a camera on a tripod and walking away from it when there are people (to potentially snatch it) around.. guess that’s more reason to get out there and shoot in nature!

  • Absolutely love the post! So many photos hacks

    • Thanks so much for your comment! Really glad you liked the post 😀 <3

  • Andrea

    These are such great tips! The video screenshots one is really clever because it’s one of the easiest ones to do. I’ll definitely keep them in mind! It’s not always convenient to get a friend to take pictures for me haha

    ~Andrea Tiffany~
    http://aglimpseofglam.blogspot.com

  • Love all of your tips here! I wouldn’t have thought of several of them! — Amy @ http://thegiftedgabber.com/

    • Thanks for the comment Amy!! So glad you enjoyed the post 😀 <3

  • I can’t wait to get my hands on a Gorilla Pod! Great tips, I’ll be sure to experiment with all of them!

    • Gorilla pods are super useful and so light & portable! Definitely a fan! 🙂

  • Sarah Lynn

    Great tips Sabina!

    I’ll even look past the fact that you mentioned the selfie- stick… my nemesis. Lol.

    Sarah Lynn
    http://www.wanderbeforewhat.com

    • Hahah I’m sorry! It had to be mentioned 😀 😀

  • I’ve used all of those except burst mode and 4k photography. Think I’ll give burst mode a try soon.

    • Definitely give it a shot! If you can get your hands on one of the Lumix cameras, 4k photo is very useful as well 🙂

  • Lovely tips! I always travel with my boyfriend, but I don’t like it when we take separate pictures, selfies, selfies with s selfie stick, or that one time when two friendly strangers dropped my camera. Despite it all, we still depend quite heavily on these. We have tried the timer thing, but we need a bit more practice to perfect it. This is the first I’ve heard of burst mode and 4K photography and I definitely want to try them out. I will also be actively searching for reflective surfaces.

    Thanks again for the great tips!

  • I have always found asking someone to snap you is a great way to get talking to strangers and like minded travelers! I’ll admit it though, I do own a selfie stick too.

    • Haha no shame!! Everyone and their grandma has a selfie stick nowadays 😀 Totally agree about talking to other people too.

  • She Gets Around

    Love these. Just what we all need 🙂 I love burst mode… perfect for when asking someone who may be bad at taking photos to take a photo. At least you then have the choice of a few

  • I need to get a tripod soon 😀
    I usually ask strangers to take a picture or use my selfie stick, I know that many people find them ridiculous but they are so helpful that some of my friends got convinced to get one 😀 😀
    http://restlesscat.wordpress.com

  • Crazy travelista

    Great tips!!! I wasn’t aware that the iPhone had a self timer, but I need to check that out! I purchased a travel tripod, but when I received it a found out its too big and bulky to carry around. I heard the lighter ones are not good as they are flimsy, especially in windy conditions. So I’m still looking for the perfect one! Oh, and I believe the GoPro selfie stick is a lot cooler than the phone selfie stick…or at least that’s what I try to tell myself hahaha 🙂 #noshame

  • Love this! I definitely always struggle to take photos when I’m alone!x

    • I know what you mean! I’ve had to get creative so many times 😀

  • I just got a gorilla pod and i freaking love it!! It’s so easy to use and so portable. Thanks for the other tips because I always wondered the same darn thing about how bloggers do it!!

    • I love mine as well!! Gorilla pods FTW!! 😀 Glad you enjoyed the post <3

  • Amanda

    Great tips. I typically use my timer, but I had never heard of 4k before. I’m curious to try that out!

    • 4k photo is awesome, definitely check it out!

  • Great tips! I usually carry a tripod with me, or ask strangers. I’m not a fan of selfies but when desperate, it will do! 🙂

    • I know what you mean – I couldn’t even find any selfies on my IG which is why I opted to use other people’s photos! But they can be nice, sometimes 😀

  • Great tips – I’ve tried taking selfies but found my arms weren’t long enough to get a good shot (I caved and bought a stick, so far so good). I’ll definitely have to try the flat surface tip (so simple, yet it never occurred to me!)

  • I am a T- Rex, my arms are soooo short selfies suck! I definitely need a tutorial on selfies hahaha

  • kab421

    This is a goal of mine for next year. I don’t really like being in photos but I love the way that some are able to put themselves into the place (vs being the focal point). It just takes a little more time (and a remote timer helps a lot).

  • TJ

    I like to use rockpods or treepods, etc. I find there is usually some way to set the camera up. Then self timer with multiple shots or a shutter remote.

  • My Fujifilm XA2 has a selfie mode, kinda weird but it gets the job done with the flip screen lol =)

    http://www.raisiespeaks.com/tech-nightmares–revealing-the-most-expensive-paperweights-to-have.html

  • I’ve never used the self timer on my camera! I’ll have to give that a go on my next trip, but my Olympus Pen E-PL7 has an amazing flip down screen for selfie mode – and you only have to touch the screen for the shutter release!