“Who takes your photos?!?!?” As a solo traveler, I get this question all. The. Time. Well, I have a few tricks up my sleeve.
First, solo travel is my jam: I am self-reliant on myself for all things. I can see exactly what I want, on my schedule. I have the freedom and flexibility to be quiet and reflective, or make friends with other solo travelers and enjoy a boisterous night out.
One of the challenges to traveling alone, however, is capturing photos of myself — that aren’t selfies — in these amazing locales. I’ve got nothing against selfies, and sometimes, they’re all I got… but most of the time, I’d rather feature the background (the place) than the foreground (me)!
So how do I get the perfect snap, that shows the place and me in it? Here are my secrets to solo travel photography.
The perfect shot: Getting photos of yourself as a solo traveler
- Selfie stick
This one’s a no-brainer. Snap in the phone, extend the wand, press the button, and viola! It’s a selfie on steroids, even if you look cheesy to bystanders (and, I could care less!).
- Apple Watch timer or bluetooth remote with a tripod
I think you’d be surprised to learn just how many and how often I post photos on Instagram that were triggered by my Apple Watch. I pluck that phone into the tripod, arrange my shot (I can view a small preview on my watch), use the 3-second delay, and get into position. Sure, there are limits to the bluetooth range. but other than that, it works incredibly well (case in point — this phone from Bruneau Sand Dunes in Idaho!).
- Fellow solo traveler tradeoff
Just because I do a lot of solo traveling doesn’t mean I’m alone all the time. I use apps like Couchsurfing to get acquainted with other fellow travelers who are exploring a city and do a photo trade, or I already have friends who are more than willing to show a girl around and take a few pics.
And if all else fails… you can always ask a stranger: “Can you take a picture?” I don’t have any qualms about doing this — although my skeptical friends wonder why I’m not worried about someone running off with my expensive iPhone. Of course, I keep an eye out for shady characters, but generally believe people are good — especially other travelers in the same boat, enjoying the same view that I am.
What other tricks do you use? Leave me a comment!