The one question I get asked most often when posting my photos on social media or showing someone my pics is, “who took the photo?”. Even before “where was it taken” or anything about what’s actually in the image. I travel on my own a lot, but in fact, even when I’m travelling with others I often find that the best snaps are the ones I set up and take myself (no offence if I’ve ever asked you to take a photo for me). I’m by no means a pro, but I’ve been experimenting with different equipment and methods and have managed to up my Instagram game significantly in the past three months. So now I want to share how to take solo photos while travelling and maybe get some more tips in the process.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]Ask someone
Ok so I’ll start with the most obvious, ask someone to take the photo for you. They usually come out rubbish though, right? And then you’re too embarrassed to ask for another because it makes you look totally vain. There are a few things you can fix up after with editing like a wonky horizon (why can’t people take level pics?), you can even easily “photoshop” stuff out too, like a rubbish bin or a stranger standing in the shot with cheap apps like Retouch.
But I have a simple trick how to take solo photos while travelling that you’ll love first time . Before handing over your camera, set it to ‘continuous‘ mode. Most cameras have this option in their settings, you can even do it easily on your iPhone, just explain that the person needs to press and hold to take a whole load of images while you pose/walk/stare into the distance. Get more than you need and chances are at least one will be usable. Make sure to pick your faves straight away though and delete the rest, because those bursts can take up a lot of memory space. You’ll get the added bonus of a more natural photo, not quite candid but as close as you’ll get in a set up situation. Here are a few Instagram pics I’ve achieved through using continuous mode.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]Equipment[dt_gap height=”10″ /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]I often prop my camera or phone on a windowsill/bench/floor to get an angle, but there are a few pieces I bring on every trip to get the best solo photos. I order all generic brand stuff from eBay, meaning nothing is crazy good quality but it’s cheap and light and does the job. You’ll need;
A mobile phone tripod, which actually also doubles as a mini tripod for a digital camera when you screw off the extendable plastic phone holder. Handy if you want to use the timelapse function on your phone too.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]A full size tripod that extends so you can take pictures where there’s nowhere to prop a camera up (like a beach, field, etc). This one is really lightweight which is great for travelling, but check that it holds the weight of your camera. I’m using the Canon G1 X Powershot Mark II at the moment and it’s able to support that no prob, but I’d probably need something more sturdy for a heavier DSLR. Set it up and check the view before setting your camera to self-timer mode. The G1 X has a flip up screen so you can actually see the image while you’re in the shot and you can play around with the timer options to give yourself more time to get into the frame and to take a set number of pics, (e.g. 10 secs, 10 frames) so you don’t need to keep running back and forth.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]A selfie stick with remote control. So that your selfies aren’t all up in your grill. A little shoulder action never hurt anyone, or even a bird’s eye view when you extend the pole out fully….just try not to get the metal stick in the shot![dt_gap height=”10″ /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]Camera
When you’re choosing your camera, look for features like the ones I’ve mentioned above; continuous mode, the flip up or tilt screen so you can take pictures from above or different angles (plus it’s great for vlogging) and customisable self-timer.
The Canon G1 X Powershot Mark II has a couple of other nifty features that have made it much easier to take solo photos while traveling. You can activate the self-timer by simply smiling or winking at the lens…you can even teach it to recognise your face, smart! Another winning addition is the facility to remote control the camera with your smartphone…leaving you more able to jump into an Instagram-worthy shot!
What’s your favourite tip to get the best shot when you’re on your own, or even if you’re away with your other half and want a picture of the pair of you that doesn’t involve the taller of the two extending their arm out for an awkward selfie?[dt_gap height=”10″ /]