Photo Taking Tricks For Solo Travel –
Every now and then someone will tell me, “isn’t it sad that there is no one to take photos for you when you are traveling alone?”
That person is right… there is no greater #firstworldproblem any solo traveller faces. I mean how are you going to share travel photos on Instagram and tell the World you were there when you’re not in the photo?!?! Gosh the horrors (roll eyes). But honestly, it would suck a little because you will have photos of almost everything but you in it.
Thankfully after a couple of trips, I’ve come up with five photo taking tricks if this is the biggest problem you face while traveling.
1) Get a pod
Not the kind you eat or listen to, but a tripod or monopod. Tripods can be heavy so unless you are using a heavier professional camera, those small light weight ones will be fine. Lightweight monopods are also becoming the in thing these days and with the right adapter, can even be used with your smartphone. They are usually retractable and can easily fit into your small travel bag.
Other than being convenient and making it easier for you to take photos (with you in it of course), it also gets your camera into hard to reach areas for exclusive shots. Too short to capture whats happening at a concert? No problem. Barricade preventing you from getting close enough to your subject matter? No problem too.
2) Use the timer function
This may seem obvious but many people forget this function on their camera. In fact we should use this all the time cause it reduces shakiness from pressing the shutter button. For smartphones without inbuilt timer functions, download one of the many camera apps with awesome filters that doubles at making your mediocre photos look nice. There are also attachments or remotes that allow you to take your photos remotely by wifi or bluetooth.
I saw this pretty amazing IOS app called CamMe that allows you to use smart hand gestures to remotely activate the shutter button on your iPhone. Mind blown.
3) Practice framing and angles
You can have all the tools in the World and still take terrible pictures with yourself in it if the framing is bad. Remember a selfie without being able to see where you are at doesn’t really count. And there is this thing with people taking the entire background of wherever they are at while they stand far away in the background. We are not playing “Where’s Wally?”
I shall use cats to illustrate the importance of framing and angles. (Images Credit: Sad&Useless)
Angle too high. Are you only taking your face and the floor?
Angle too low. Double chin for you?
Off focus. Unless your point was to really act all pensive and be blur.
Whats the point? You might as well be at home and take this.
Not bad. Subject in focus with a hint of the background.
Alright I’m not sure if this is clear enough but at least it is cute.
4) Ask the right stranger
Finding the right stranger is an art in it’s own right. I’m pretty sure all of us have experiences with shaky, off focus or badly framed photos. Even I am guilty of taking crappy photos for others sometimes. There’s also that small risk of the stranger running off with your fancy smartphone or camera. How then do you ask the right stranger?
Generally I try to approach people who are taking photos themselves. Offer to take a photo for them and they’ll gladly oblige to help you with yours. Younger couples are usually my best bet and are quite savvy with most kind of technology. When possible, I’ll try framing the picture before asking for help to increase the chances of getting the right shot. Oh yes, don’t forget to be friendly and smile!
5) Meet people and have fun
One of the beauties of traveling alone is that you are kind of “forced” to make friends. Hook up with the folks from the hostel or make friends from a tour/tourist attraction and travel together. It’s always interesting meeting new people and you’ll have someone to help with pictures at all times! Go crazy and take all sorts of fun and stupid pictures. After all the people we know aren’t there to judge us and you can still filter what photos to post.
If all else fails even after following these tricks, photo bomb other tourists to feel better. Animals do it too so we are excused. :P
Curious squirrel (Image Credit: Justsomething)
Got other tricks to share? Drop a comment below!