Spending the majority of my travels solo, has often led to some interesting and ultimately funny stories for how I was able to get the shot of myself. A common question is how I photograph myself when traveling alone. So I thought I’d let you in on my secret to embracing those often awkward moments of getting a photo of myself.
How I photograph myself when traveling alone
The first step to getting the shot of yourself when traveling alone is embracing that what you’re about to do will incredibly strange to the public eye. I shoot myself with a tripod because after many times of passing my camera to a stranger, the blurry shots and often horribly cropped images didn’t cut it for me. So here’s what I do:
I always research when it will be the least packed with people. (hint: it’s the early hours)
I shot myself on a bridge in Lyon, France (one of the most packed during midday) to get a photo for a suitcase campaign. I knew that at the early morning would decrease the chances of having herds of people, so I woke up extra early to get out there and get this photo I shot for Incase. Often times when I travel, I’ll do my research ahead of time of where I want to get a photo of myself in destination.
I embrace the weirdness of standing backwards to a tripod and camera.
I remember the first time I did this on a trip and the cringing awkwardness from the looks of bypassing strangers. Here I was, back to my camera walking away and hitting the remote. Embrace it! If you’re in the business of blogging then you know how important it is to get the shot and if you’re not and want a photo of yourself, than who cares! Chances you’ll never see those strangers again, or in my case, someone will recognize you at the coffee shop and ask what the heck you were doing at 7 am with a tripod by yourself…
I always use a tripod and the remote app on my phone.
I upgraded my tripod to this small compact one and it was the best purchase I’ve ever made. It fits in my carry-on, it’s light and easy to use. With the app on my phone from Sony, I can use a remote which allows me to even adjust the camera settings from far away. This means I don’t have to go back and forth to the camera to adjust the settings. (Read more about the camera gear I travel with.)
Other favorite tripods:
60 inch from Ubeesize
I use burst mode when shooting movement and set my camera to a fast shutter speed and a higher aperture.
It’s easy to get a still photo with a tripod but one with me spinning it is even more difficult — like this shot I posted from Taiwan. I put the camera on burst mode where it clicks several photos until I tell it to stop, set my phone down (somewhere easily photoshopped), and then twirl away. When taking a photo of yourself, you’ll want your camera settings at a higher aperture (like f/8-f/11) so that more of the photo is in focus. The faster shutter speed allows for more light and less blur.
At the end of the day, photography is very personal and I always recommend doing what you feel most comfortable with. Get acquainted with your camera and tripod, and head out with confidence!
Do you have any tips for how you like to get the shot? Let me know below in the comments!
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PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!
These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.
1. Book Your Flights
Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.
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Use Booking.com for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.
3. Book Your Tours & Experiences
4. Book Your Car
Use Discover Cars or Rentalcars.com to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.
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I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.
My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are: