How To Get Awesome Photos Of Yourself While Solo Traveling

Jamie Laird

What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.  -Karl Lagerfeld

A good set of photographs are my favorite souvenirs to bring home from my travels. Remember that scene at the end of the movie Titanic? The scene when Rose is an old lady asleep in her bed (just like Jack promised!) then the camera pans to all her photographs of the adventures she had in her life? #Goals. That inspired me to start up my own little photo collection.

My fiancé is a bad ass photographer and I’m lucky that not only does he take great photos during our wanders, but he teaches me a thing or two about how to take good photos myself (yes my blog photos I take myself! I can do it too :-P) . Recently, I embarked on my very first solo adventure and since this milestone was important to me, I wanted to make sure I captured every moment. I did not want my souvenir to be an album full of the awkward “just your face” selfie, so I had to think of ways to get creative, quality photos documenting my trip. I mean anyone can look up a photo of the Eiffel Tower, or Mount Rushmore on Google, but to have a photo of those places with you in it? To me that’s priceless. Here are the methods that worked for me while soloing through Ireland:

1. Werking the selfie stick!

Don’t just work it. Bust that stick out with attitude and werk it! Yes, it feels awkward at first because people will make random comments and ask dumb ass questions like, “Is that a selfie stick?” But who cares? Once you see what kind of photos you can get by using it, you will get over the awkwardness and have fun. Just exercise some good old common sense, yeah? Don’t whip it out when you are asses to elbows in a huge crowd, or make everyone wait for you while you fumble to get it situated. Also, pay attention to your surroundings. Don’t walk off a cliff or anything.

Look how much more scenery I captured with that extra length!
Look how much more scenery I captured with that extra length!
Boom. Found a nice little spot to myself and selfied away.
Boom. Found a nice little spot to myself and selfied away.

2. Become a camera timer ninja.

Okay, this is going to take some practice. First of all, if you don’t want to lug around an annoying tripod, you are going to have to find a tree stump, rock or some kind of elevated surface to steady your camera on. Then you are going to have to make sure you are framing the shot correctly. When setting the timer, I always use the 10 second option versus the 3 second so that I have time to run into the frame and think of some cool pose. It will probably take several shots until you get one you like, so make sure you have time and be patient. The best time to do this is at the butt crack of dawn when you have crowded places to yourself. I practiced this method, and got familiar with my camera settings for months before I actually got photos that I kind of liked. Also, when you are done with self timer mode don’t forget to change the settings back to normal mode before you snap away at scenery or monuments otherwise you will wonder awkwardly why your camera is delayed in taking a picture and why it’s beeping and counting down at you…

How I set up my camera for…
How I set up my camera for…
This shot.
This shot.
Attempt number one out of..
Attempt number one out of..
…like 50 tries later.
…like 50 tries later.

3. Lastly, just ask already.

So this is the hardest one for me. I am really shy, and I don’t like feeling like I am inconveniencing people when I ask them to take my photo. Also, you never know what kind of photo you are going to end up with. You can end up finding a person who is super talented and will take a beautiful photo of you, or you can end up with this:

Valiant try…but…nope.
Valiant try…but…nope.

In any case, the best method to go about asking people is to look for couples/individuals/families trying to do the awkward selfie with their arms outstretched, and offer to take it for them. I always take a few from different angles so they have variety, then I show them an example of how I would like them to frame my photo. Nine times out of ten people are nice and are happy to return the favor.

Timeless photo of me touching the phallic symbol on the Hill of Tara. All because I asked a kind stranger. Thank you kind stranger.
Timeless photo of me touching the phallic symbol on the Hill of Tara. All because I asked a kind stranger. Thank you kind stranger.

Timeless photo of me touching the phallic symbol on the Hill of Tara. All because I asked a kind stranger. Thank you kind stranger.

Just remember, when you return from your adventure, these photos will be all you have left of a wonderful time in your life. But that really goes for any adventure life throws your way, whether it be birthdays, weddings, family time, random hangouts with friends, or quiet moments spent at home with loved ones. Enjoy these moments, and if you want to capture them and keep them forever. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

More From Thought Catalog