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Travel Photography Tips for Solo Travelers

Four tried and true methods to get great photos of yourself while traveling on your own!

a solo traveler in Zion Canyon

There are two types of people in the world: people who love having their social media profile picture be from their most recent trip, and liars.

So how do you do this while traveling solo? There are ways. Trust me! I have amazing photos of myself from every single solo adventure I’ve ever been on, and I’m here to teach you all my solo travel photography secrets.

1 - Make Use of your Camera's Timer

Every camera has a timer. Find a good place to prop your phone, put it in selfie mode, and use that timer to set up your perfect shot!

My phone’s camera comes equipped with a three or ten-second timer that I can set, position myself, and smile (or not). Mine even takes a burst of photos with every timed capture, meaning I can capture myself in motion! If you can’t find your camera’s timer, feel free to check a manual or ask the internet.

The catch of course is that you can’t put your phone down just anywhere. This will work on that gorgeous park, but not in Times Square. You need to be reasonably confident that no one’s going to walk off with your phone while you’re posing. But in the right environments, I’ve gotten some properly gorgeous photos this way. You’ll get really good at balancing your phone on things, or if you want to make this easier you can invest in a small phone tripod.

Here's some samples of photos I've gotten with this method!

2 - Practice Your Selfie Angles

I’m serious! Take out your phone in the comfort of your own house and practice! Some of my favorite travel photos of myself are your standard-issue, end-of-my-arm selfies. If you go into your travel selfies knowing where your good angles are, you’ll be in and out and done before you feel too self-conscious about taking selfies in front of that landmark.

3 - Get Other Travelers to Take Your Photo!

Do it! Hand your phone to a stranger! 

Ok, not just any stranger. Any post like this has to come with a caveat that yeah, some tourist landmarks come packed with people who will use you handing over your phone for a photo as an opportunity to ask you for money or to just run off with your expensive electronics. But let me tell you: I’ve handed my phone to a LOT of strangers over the years and I’ve never once had anyone scam me. The trick is to pay attention to the person you’re interacting with. 

Generally, when I do this, the person I hand my phone to is clearly a fellow tourist. And nearly every time, we both take each others’ photos before we part ways. I truly love approaching a group of travelers that I see fighting with a selfie and offering to take a photo for them. (I used to work at a theme park taking photos of families with the costumed characters. I’ve got getting strangers to give me natural smiles down to a science.) Plus, once I’ve taken their photo, they’re nearly always happy to return the favor! 

If there’s a very specific shot that you want, feel free to tell your impromptu photographers that. Sometimes strangers take amazing photos. Sometimes they don’t. If you’re super invested in the outcome of a photo, feel free to give the person behind your camera some coaching. But I bet you'll get a lot of good ones, like these!

4 - Just Buy the Damn Selfie Stick!

If none of these sound like they’ll work for you, just buy the selfie stick. Selfie-stick toting tourists get a bad rap, but as long as you’re respectful with them, there’s no reason they can’t be an amazing tool. Keep that selfie stick close to your side when you’re not actively taking photos, be mindful of your surroundings when you use them, and there’s no reason that you can’t be a perfectly respectful traveler while toting a selfie stick.

Try These Solo Travel Photography Tips on Your Next Trip!

Gorgeous travel photos are always possible, you just need to be willing to try new things!

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Love and Shenanigans,


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