How to take photos as a solo traveller

How do you take pictures when you are a solo traveller?

We have all been there, that awkward moment when you really want a photo but you have no one to take it, and sometimes a standard selfie just doesn’t cut it these days. What do you do?

Here are some of my solo selfie tips and products that I use: 

You can simply ask someone, I know some people don’t feel comfortable doing this, but what I normally do is. If I see someone taking a photo, I ask them if they would like me to take a photo of them, and in return ask if they can take one of me 🙂 It’s as easy as that. Generally if you are a solo traveller, strangers are quite nice when it comes to taking photos of you – I mean you might not get many photos, but one is better than nothing to remember the moment. 

Views of the Amalfi Coast, Italy (asked someone to take a photo)
Ghajn Tuffieha, Malta (asked someone to take a photo)

Tripods

Invest in a gorilla tripod, these are amazing. Not only can you stand them up, but you can attach them to all sorts of things, trees, structures, anything they can wrap around. These are great if you want to get an image with some height. They also come with a remote shutter so you can be as far from the tripod as you want (up to 30ft) and still take the photo. They are also small and compact so can fit nicely into a bag without taking up too much room. I carried this around with me in my bag everyday in Malta.

Get a phone tripod stand. Now this is different to a gorilla tripod, as this stands on the ground, is adjustable in height so can be quite tall (depending on which one you buy). The great thing about this tripod stand is that you can attach a phone or a tablet to it, the holder can increase in size to fit most phones. What I also like about this is that it has a 360 rotation so you can position it at the angle you need to get the perfect picture. It is also more sturdy than a gorilla tripod. I find this kind of stand works best on solid and flat ground and if you are creative, you can create some pretty amazing shots on your own with one of these. I would also advise using a remote shutter for pictures where you are further away. 

Not another tripod Jemma? Yes another one, now this one is a combination tripod. It has a LED light circle and mirror, plus a remote shutter and an adjustable height tripod. It’s an all in one tripod. I like this one a lot because if you don’t have particularly good lighting you can use one of the 3 LED light options to create some more light. Again this one is better to use on a flat surface. The mirror attached to the LED light is great because you can see what the picture is going to look like before you capture it.

All of these tripods are small and can fold down to be compact and come with a small case, so they are the perfect size to fit into your backpack whilst travelling. As someone who travels solo I know how hard it can be to take photos, but when I invested in tripods they changed my solo photo opportunities massively.

Gorilla Tripod
Combination LED Tripod + Tripod Stand
My Samsung NX5

Timers & Selfie Sticks

Set a timer on your camera/phone. This can give you hilarious outcomes sometimes. But if you want to take a picture where you aren’t that far away from the actual camera then a self timer is a great tool to use. I personally would always put it on the longest possible timer to give yourself time to get into position. Otherwise this is when the funny photos appear. Now here you can have your camera/phone on a tripod or you can simply have it positioned on something stable. Or sometimes what I have done is lean my phone against my backpack or a water bottle, whatever I have accessible to me at the time. The old school selfie stick, believe it or not I still see people using these now. I’m not sure how popular they are, but they are still an option. I have always had one that folds down small so can fit into a small bag, but can extend out quite far. The only downside to a selfie stick compared to a tripod is that you always get an extended arm in the picture. In saying that, I do think that a selfie stick is great for bigger group photos or even as a phone holder when doing something like a panoramic photo, a wide angle photo in a busy area or trying to take a photo of something that is higher up. An alternative to a selfie stick would be the go pro accessories. Now I have a ‘fake’ go pro by a company called ‘Campark’ – they are exactly the same but much cheaper. The camera is great because it comes with all the accessories and attachments in a small portable pouch, plus a waterproof case. I used it a lot in Costa Rica when I was on a zipline course, I had it attached to my helmet and it shot some great photos and videos.
On a boat in Capri, Italy (Campark camera)
Marsaxlokk, Malta (short selfie stick)

Invest some money in a good drone. This is something that I am looking into getting. I think they create some amazing shots that can only be captured from the sky. When I have a drone, I will update this part of the post linking in the one I get.

We all know that sometimes it can be hard to feel confident taking photos when you are alone. You might worry that people are looking at you in a weird way thinking ‘what’s that person doing?’. This is something I still haven’t fully got comfortable with yet, but if I can tell you one thing, it would be, don’t care about what others think, you don’t know them, you’ll likely to never see them again and it’s your trip, you want to make memories so enjoy taking photos, and take as many as you want!!

Leave me a comment if you liked this blog and if you have any other solo selfie tips or investable products 🙂

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