When you travel solo, one challenge is taking photos of yourself. Your pictures can often come out blurry, and your pose look awkward.
If you've always wondered, how do those travel bloggers consistently produce amazing photos of themselves? Especially the ones that don't have a professional photographer following them around, then this article will help. Whether you are using a smartphone or a professional camera, here are eight tips on taking awesome photos of yourself:
1. Use a Monopod
First things first: get yourself a good monopod. A lot of solo travellers swear by the selfie stick. It allows you to take sharp pictures and include more of the scene in the frame. It’s also light, small, and easy to use, as there’s no need to set it up.
2. Use a Tripod
If you want better stability and flexibility for your shots, go for a compact remote control tripod. An alternative is to look for a stable post to hold your camera and take a photo using its self-timer, though it can be quite a challenge.
With a tripod, you don’t have to worry about poorly composed shots. It’s also ideal for taking whole body portraits from any angle, including your back. Look for a tripod that can be controlled remotely via a shutter device, so you won’t need to use your camera’s self-timer.
3. Highlight the Destination
Let the photographs of your travel capture the beauty of the places that you visit. When taking a self-portrait, pay attention to the background. If you’re too preoccupied with how you’ll look in your photos, you’ll tend to ignore the background and lose the opportunity to showcase the beauty of the place you’re in.
What makes a great background for solo travel photos? It can be a colourful building in a back street that you wander down, the breathtaking mountain view of your hiking trail, or the crystal-clear waters of a picture-perfect beach.
4. Take Screenshots From Your Video
If you are an adventurous solo, you probably want to try and capture some action shots. If you're planning to go surfing, skydiving, or doing any adrenaline-pumping activity, record your experience as videos instead of photos. Then your video can be paused, cropped, and trimmed, meaning that you can create still images out of the best parts of the video.
It’s also very simple to do. Just record your adventure, save the video file to your laptop, and choose the clips that you want to transform into fantastic travel photos. Just make sure to shoot in high definition or 4k so that when you get a clip and screenshot a scene, the resulting image won’t look pixelated or blurry.
5. Shoot in Burst Mode
Aside from recording videos, you can also use the burst mode to raise your chances of getting an amazing shot without having to re-shoot multiple times. This camera setting takes a series of images in quick succession and is ideal to use when you’re on the move. At first everything may seem a bit blurry, especially the motion shots, but with practice you'll learn how to time your actions perfectly whilst your camera takes several photos.
If you choose to capture motion in burst mode, all you have to do is pose, let the camera snap several photos, and from there, you can already choose the photo that stands out.
6. Find The Best Lighting
Don't forget about the light. I tend to get too excited to snap a photo that I forget all about the light. I often end up squinting in my photos, trying to avoid looking too dazzled by the sun. Not to mention that my photos would get overexposed.
Before you take photos of yourself, it’s best to find a spot that is well-lit so that the light flatters rather than sabotage your look in your photos. Avoid shooting against the sunlight or be directly exposed to it. Find a shade where the view can still be seen before snapping the photo.
7. Focus on a Body Part (Other Than Your Face)
Your travel photos don't need to be all about your face. You can take photos of your feet or your shoes in different locations too. From the beach to the mountain for example. I often take pictures of my back to showcase the background of an exotic location that I'm in. Got toned or tattooed arms? Show them off. Got yourself tanned in the beach? Show your sun-kissed glow! If you're loving your new braid or curls, and having a great hair day, have your shot focus on your locks. Whatever makes you feel good, flaunt it in your shots (without going overboard, of course).
8. Be Yourself
Our travel photos won’t come out naturally beautiful if we always focus too much on looking great. Enjoy the moment while taking your photos. If you feel like laughing with your mouth wide open instead of smiling, do it. If you feel like jumping in the air because you’re ecstatic, go for it. If you love the breeze in the field even if it messes your hair, go for that shot. Years later, you’ll look back on your solo travel photos and will feel good seeing how happy you were on a particular trip.
These are just some of the creative ways to take photos when travelling on your own. If you want to learn how to take photos like a pro, I recommend the Photo Muse Masterclass, a video course by Kristin Addis of Be My Travel Muse. If you have seen her photos you'll know that she is an incredible photographer and she shares all her tips in this course.
Subscribe to Girl about the Globe for monthly solo travel inspiration