Solo Snaps: Photography Tips for Solo Travelers

By Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor February 5th, 2024 Posted in DIY Travel, Travel Blog, Travel Guides No comments

Traveling alone allows one to see and feel the world profoundly and personally. You have the freedom to immerse in experiences that resonate with you.

As such, your exploits may not be complete without capturing significant moments. These photos are a great reminder that you’ve been there and experienced such undertakings.

Solo Snaps Photography Tips for Solo Travelers
Image by Wanaporn Yangsiri on Unsplash

However, taking photos as a solo traveler can be daunting. Besides being a spectator, you actively capture every scene, requiring the balance of enjoying and documenting the moment.

So, how do you capture each escapade perfectly when you’re behind and in front of the camera? We’ve got the answers here!

Use Your Phone’s Self-Timer Feature

The smartphone’s self-timer feature is one of the simplest yet efficient tools for solo travelers. Even older models have this camera function.

This handy feature lets you capture photos without needing anyone’s help. Set up the angle, hit the timer, and position yourself in the frame—you’re both the photographer and the subject. You can also experiment with backgrounds, angles, and compositions to find the perfect shot.

Moreover, you can maximize your creativity by using the burst mode. This high-speed, continuous shooting function lets you take multiple photos while moving. This way, you have a series of outtakes to choose from.

Buy a Selfie Stick or Tripod

Sometimes, more than the self-timer and burst mode is needed. While you can use these functions for selfies, you’ll have to find spots to let your phone sit for wide shots safely.

Fortunately, selfie sticks and tripods are your best friends in these situations.

Selfie sticks can extend your camera’s reach, allowing you to include stunning landscapes in your selfies. They’re best for quick shots beyond your arm’s reach.

But there are scenarios where selfie sticks fall short. They may be unstable, and you usually can’t use them hands-free. Tripods can eliminate these problems by providing stability and wide-angled shots.

Tripods also provide precise framing for long-exposure and low-light shots. They help ensure your photos are crisp and well-balanced.

Generally, selfie sticks are best for mobility, while tripods are ideal for versatile and complex shots. However, many photography gears combine these two features into one device, letting you maximize the functionalities. Models with Bluetooth connection and remote controls are also available.

Take Selfies With Wide Angles

If you prefer curating your Instagram feed for aesthetics, regular phone selfies aren’t usually ideal. However, wide-angled selfies can provide unique points of view and action shots that elevate your IG feed.

Wide-angled shots are possible with action cameras with wide lenses, such as the GoPro. These cameras are designed to capture a larger field of view, making them ideal for dynamic selfies with motion and landscapes.

Another feature to leverage for wide selfies is the 0.5x camera setting. This function is the ultra-wide lens option available on most smartphones. Some have the 0.6x setting. You can use this instead if the GoPro doesn’t meet the budget.

Ask People

There are times when you need help to set up your photography gear. The place might be crowded, or it doesn’t permit filming and shooting with large equipment.

This is when you can ask people for help. When it feels awkward, think about what will bother you more: taking a few seconds from a stranger’s day or not having photos of your travels.

But not all people are photographers. Strangers may be unable to capture your desired shots. Here’s what you should do:

  • Approach people with decent cameras
  • Take practice shots and show them to the person so they know what you want
  • Ask the person to take multiple shots

Initiating conversations is also essential to build rapport with strangers. Then, you can ask them to take photos of you and offer the same for them.

Join a Group Tour

While tours allow travelers to experience the local culture, they can also be a great way to get travel pictures. Consider joining one to avoid bringing equipment or if you haven’t figured out your phone camera’s features.

After learning about the places, you can ask the tour guide or a fellow traveler to take photos of you.

Since tours focus on the best destinations, you can ensure getting photos at some of the top tourist attractions.

Take Photos of Different Parts of Your Body

Solo Snaps:Photography Tips for Solo Travelers
Image by Andre Furtado on Pexels

Your solo travel photos don’t always have to include your face. Sometimes, all you need are human elements that show your presence.

For instance, take photos of your feet dipped in the water or resting on the grass. You can also take photos of your hand while holding a food or drink. Partner them with majestic views, and you will have pictures that are tangible memories that can beautify your IG feed.

Leverage Mirrors and Other Reflective Surfaces

Mirrors and other reflective surfaces can add an artistic twist to your travel photos. Whether it’s a shop window, a body of water, or a glossy facade, you can capture yourself with the surroundings in a single frame, creating a visually compelling composition.

With this technique, you can transform ordinary scenes into multi-layered images to enhance your photo collection.

Don’t Include People

Some moments are worth capturing without people in the frames. Including no one in your travel photos can offer a serene perspective of the places you visit.

This approach emphasizes the beauty of the destination itself, allowing you to focus on nature, architecture, and landscapes without crowd distractions. It can even remind you of the moment you saw such attractions up close.

Capturing views devoid of people can also create a sense of timelessness that evokes the thrilling experience of personal discovery, making the journey and memories more intimate.

Things To Remember When Taking Photos Alone

Struggles are inevitable when taking photos alone. Here are the things to keep in mind to ensure captivating images:

Go early

If you prefer fewer people, go to your destination in the morning before the peak hours. This way, you can take photos without worrying about others’ reactions or feeling like people are watching you.

Poses

Some of the best poses to elevate your solo travel photos include:

  • Walking away
  • Back of the head
  • Walking across
  • Facing the camera but looking away

Safety

Carrying heavy bags can be a burden when taking photos. It’s best to leave your backpack at the hotel or luggage storage.

For instance, if you’re traveling in South Korea’s capital, find a secure luggage storage in Seoul to store your belongings and move freely. This storage is also beneficial for last-minute urban escapades after checking out.

Moreover, you shouldn’t be too far from your camera when taking photos. It’s best to be slightly closer to the frame than losing your camera to thieves.

The best tip is to zoom out your frame as far as possible. Despite being relatively near the camera, you can still include vast sceneries. Then, you can crop or zoom in when editing.

Capture the Perfect Solo Snaps

Taking pictures when traveling alone can be daunting, but with the right approach, you can overcome the struggles and maximize your creative expression.

Remember, the perfect solo snaps don’t necessarily have to be perfect. It’s about capturing the essence and emotions of the moment. Embrace the imperfections and leave room for spontaneity to create memories that are uniquely yours.

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Written by Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor

Two Monkeys Travel Group – Community Travel Blog is a travel blog and website. We quickly grew into a valuable source of inspiring travel stories, advice, itineraries and travel guides, with the aim of demonstrating how to live a sustainable life of travel, whilst living your own definition of success. If you'd like to contribute and write a guest post, contact us at [email protected]