Is it really that hard to believe that a young, attractive female would be traveling on her own, without the financial aid or company of a man or friend? Apparently it is, because it seems like whenever I post a photo with just me in it when I'm traveling solo, there is, without fail, at least one person who comments and says, "Who's taking the picture?" like they're trying to catch me claiming to be traveling solo when there's really someone else there or something.
Well, there's not. Unless it's a random person or tourist that's nearby, or a tour guide who I ask to take my picture. I've simply mastered every possible way to be in a picture when I travel solo, and that includes the "selfies" and "selfie-stick-selfies" that people love to taunt me about as well. How else am I supposed to be in a picture if I'm by myself?
So, for the people wondering "who" is taking my pictures when I travel solo, the ones who think I take "selfies" because I'm obsessed with myself, and all of the awesome people who just want to know some tips on taking pictures when you travel solo, here are all my dirty little secrets. Try to contain your excitement.
1. Timed Photos
This is the type of photo that people always think someone else took, but it was really just technology! Most smartphones, cameras and GoPros now have a timer option, which is absolutely amazing for solo travel pics that you want your entire body to be in. Even if you don't have it on your phone, there's a ton of apps you can download that will do it for you too.
The only thing you'll have to do is find something to prop your phone up against, then just angle it, hit the timer and run to get in the picture!
2. Video Screenshots
This is one of my favorite solo travel picture taking techniques because it's both inconspicuous and not as obnoxious. Put your phone or GoPro on video, and start moving around or doing something in action that you wouldn't be able to hold a phone while doing.
Then, you can view the video later and pause it when you see something that would make for a cool picture, and screenshot it to use for a still shot.
Nothing is more amusing than a SloMo video, plus it gives you the chance to get an even better screenshot for a still pic than an actual video does! Test it out with things that are moving fast, like a waterfall, or an animal running, then figure out how to put yourself in the frame.
You technically could hold your phone out to SloMo yourself, but since it's in slow motion anyway, you might as well mount and angle your phone so you can can jump in front of it.
Sorry, I don't remember the name of the random tourist that I asked to take my picture in front of a waterfall, but that's who took the picture of me when I was traveling solo. I usually have no problem asking a random person to take a picture of m (even though most of the time they don't turn out that well) and even offer to take their picture first to be polite.
Selfie sticks get a lot of heat from people these days, or rather, the people who use them do, but the bottom line is that they work. I personally hate selfie sticks, but continue to use them with my camera, because they take awesome wide-lens pictures and give me something other than close up of my face.
Yes, it's embarrassing to use one, and yes, people always stare and comment, but guess what? I don't care, because I'm getting epic pics and videos and they're not. Hmph!
6. Classic Shameless Selfies
Yes. I take travel selfies. But why wouldn't I want a memory of me in an epic place? Try to position the background first, then figure out where to put your face in it. Holding it up at a higher angle gets a lot more scenery and perspective, and typically makes you look better as well.
Don't forget that filters can work wonders... but you didn't hear that from me.
7. Incognito Selfies
If you're the type of person who doesn't like getting immediately labeled as a tourist or vain person, you might want to opt for an incognito selfie. It's very easy to appear as though you're taking a photo of something in front of you, while secretly taking a selfie with something behind you. You can even put an object in front of you to pretend like that's really your main photo target.
The burst option is also great for action or determining what your best angle is. In a split second it takes about 11 or so photos, so that you can tediously scroll back and forth to figure out which ones are best.
9. The Panoramic
Taking a panoramic with you in it might require a little bit of practice and skill. You'll have to be able to steadily hold your phone as you slowly move it along the nerve-wrecking red line that your camera demands you follow in order to create the panoramic.
You might end up looking like a distorted alien the first few times, but once you get it, it makes a really cool picture!
10. Alternate Angle Photos
Perhaps my most favorite kind of selfie to take is the one that I don't actually have to be in. I hate seeing a full-on photo of my face just as much as my mother loves it, so I'm all for the "back of head," "side of face" or "half of face" selfies that actually tend to make pretty great angles.
So, there you have it! All of my solo travel photo secrets that you can either use for yourself -- or use to stop asking me who's taking the picture!