How to Take Your Own Photos when Traveling Solo
written by myrra kate
Solo travel is fun and exciting but for a blogger like me, it entails one big challenge among others: who will take my photos?
As much as I believe in living in the moment, I must say that I value the photos I take when I travel. For someone like me with short-term memory, photos are my way of ensuring that I will have something to remember the things I did and the places I visited as I travel. My parents also request that I take photos for them to see so that they would feel like they are also going through the journey with me. On account of being a blogger and influencer, too, I must say that the photos I take may as well earn me a living. These reasons, among others, make it obvious that beautiful travel photos are important if not a must for me.
The challenge here lies in solo travel. I have posted about my solo travel in Rome and Budapest in the blog and have been posting a lot of my travel photos on my Instagram account. In fact, some of the comments that I get says that my IG feed screams “#travelgoals” (Sidenote: thank you so much if you follow me on Instagram. If you haven’t yet, follow me here!). But the thing is, these blog posts and Instagram photos are just the surface. What goes behind the camera is the very challenging part
that almost makes me crazy.
If you’ve also previously done solo travel and tried to take your own photos with all your might, I think you can relate to most if not all of these:
- Bringing your own tripod but regretting it after because of the added weight and hassle
- Having a hard time choosing someone who can take your photo for you because you’re shy or you don’t want to bother anyone
- Ending up asking a stranger to take your photo but having to deal with the one blurry shot you got where your hands were moving or your scarf covered your face (ohh this shiz is hard to take)
- Going home with happy memories and a camera full of beautiful photos of sceneries but not one photo with you in it
If you experienced some of these, I am
crying with you giving you a tap on the back. I understand. Trust me, I do even if I’m armed with such an amazing camera to use. I can say that solo travel is one of the best experiences ever but when it comes to this matter, it really is going to challenge your patience (and maybe even your sanity).
But somehow, I thank the heavens for making experience the best teacher. Because of my own experiences, I can say that I have a thing or two to teach you how to take your own amazing photos even if you’re traveling solo. I got your back, fam!
Want to know how to take beautiful photos on your solo travel so you can share more about your amazing journey across different places? Then, keep on reading!
Tips on How to Take your own Photos when You’re Traveling Solo
1. Invest in a high-quality camera or phone to use.
Before anything else, it is important to note that you can’t expect amazing (jaw-dropping, drool-triggering) photos if your gadget can’t give them to you. I’m not talking about buying some super expensive DSLR cameras with lenses that can zoom in to see the moon craters because unless you’re a professional photographer, you wouldn’t actually find them so relevant. What’s important here is to start with simple and easy-to-use camera that can actually produce quality photos. Before being an exchange student, I settled with my iPhone camera but I invested on a Fujifilm XA10 (and it’s definitely one of the best decisions I made).
2. If you think additional weight to carry is not a hassle for you then go ahead, bring your tripod.
After all, these are one of the reasons a tripod and timer exists: to help you take a stable photo when you can’t do it yourself. However, I don’t usually suggest this because it’s quite a hassle to bring it everywhere you go and you still have to take your time assembling it. That’s why I recommend #3 more, and that is to…
3. Ask a stranger. Preferably a tourist with company or someone with a camera.
Remember: it’s okay to ask. Don’t be ashamed or afraid that you will bother them. They can always say no if they don’t want to and you can always ask someone else to take your photo. Just be polite and respect their time. After they take your photo, always thank them. You may also offer to take their photos in return.
Now, to have a better photo, here’s a protip: find someone with a camera with them. Often times, these are the people who know how to operate a camera. If you’re lucky then you might just find someone who is actually a professional photographer himself or herself.
If you can, ask someone with company (i.e. family or friend) with them so that it’s safer to trust them with your gadget. It’s not always the case, of course, but there would be fewer chances that they are going to steal or run away with your camera. Also, always, always trust your instinct.
4. Position your camera in the angle you want it to be or show a photo inspiration.
If someone else is taking a photo for you, in the hopes of having the photo you expect to have, it’s a must that you position your camera in the angle you want it to be. At the very least, you can instruct whoever is taking your photo if you want a high- or low-angle picture.
What I also usually do is show a photo inspiration to the person taking my photo. Days before I travel, I would have searched some photo inspirations on Pinterest then I would show it to them so they would know the shot I wanted. In some cases, I’d also first take a photo with my camera and tell the stranger where I would stand in the photo so he or she has an idea when to click that shutter button.
5. Set your camera to burst mode or ask someone to take at least 2-3 photos.
This way, you will have backup shots if ever the first shot is blurry or someone actually passed by in front of the camera when the person was taking your shot (true-to-life story lol). You can also have candid shots which, I think, are better than the posed ones.
6. Make friends or meet friends who may be in the same place as you.
This is one of the best ways to travel solo but still have lots of amazing photos to look back to. I usually stay in hostels and luckily, I find nice people there and eventually, become friends with them. When this happens, we choose to walk around the place together and so, they are always willing to take my photos. This isn’t to say that our days would be a photoshoot already though. Of course not. We would only take a few minutes in taking each other’s photos then go on with our day so as not to miss the best experiences life can offer.
(The photo below was just shot by a friend I coincidentally met in my solo travel to Rome!)
7. Learn some photo-editing skills.
Life happens. And for sure, some of those shots still do not appeal to your standards. What do you do then? Instead of sulking and maybe ranting on social media (Don’t do this, please. Let’s lessen social media toxicity.) about the fact that you’re having an amazing time on your solo travel but do not have a nice photo of yourself, go out there and find ways to make whatever photo you have beautiful.
With apps like Snapseed, VSCO, Instagram, etc., there are countless ways to improve your photo. You just have to be patient, creative, and resourceful and trust me, it will end up being amazing.
8. If you’re feeling extra, book a local photographer in the area.
This is something I haven’t done before but have always considered. This is only an option if you wouldn’t mind paying the cost of the photographer and if you really need professional shots to be taken of you. I’ve heard that Sweet Escape Photography is one of the best options because they offer their photography services in almost anywhere in the world for an affordable and sometimes, discounted price.
There you go. Secrets are out, loves! Those are my ways to why I never lack amazing photos even when I’m traveling solo. Always remember though that photos are not everything. You can always have the best time on your solo travel whilst not having photos of yourself. Live out there, loves, and make your dreams happen!
Did I miss anything? Share your tips in the comments on how to have amazing photos when you’re traveling solo!
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I'm Myrra Kate.
I help female entrepreneurs scale their income and impact by launching transformational online courses.
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