READY. SET. SNAP.
Often I am asked by family and friends (and occasionally via Instagram) how I have so many photos of myself considering how often I travel alone. Whether it’s day trips or longer stints, I often like to have a few keepsakes in the form of photos; I am part of generation selfie, after all! Here are some ideas for taking photos of yourself as a solo traveller:
#1 Ask strangers to take photos of you
Ever heard the saying ‘don’t ask and you won’t get’? Well, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking someone to take a photo of you and it’s a great way to force yourself out of your comfort zone. In fact, asking strangers to take your photo is also a great way to strike up a conversation and even make new friends in the process.
When I was in Italy, I ended up going for ice cream with someone I had only asked to take my photo! Considering that I still struggle to use my camera six months after purchasing it, I always always always set the camera to auto before handing it over to someone else to make it easier to just point and click.
If I want a more complicated photo, then I often ask people who are carrying their own cameras and give them an idea of how I’d like the picture to be framed. I don’t ask for too much though… they are doing me a favour, after all!
#2 Only take pictures of your hands/ feet
Sometimes I like to have my left hand (my right hand is always holding the camera- obviously) in the frame, holding a keepsake or instax photo. Other times, if I want to add something a little more vintage, I’ll include a vintage postcard in the snap. If none of these things work, then I might dip my feet in the water, or, in the case of the photo below, rest my feet on the grass.
#3 Purchase that selfie Stick!
Yes, I am a proud owner of a selfie stick. So sue me. I’m a proud perpetrator of the trend that is here to stay. So prolific is the use of this annoyance that signs have been put up in various monuments around Paris asking people not to use them (to avoid selfie-stick related injuries).
#4 Ask friends and family
Of all the ways of taking photos of yourself as a solo traveller, this is probably the least expected. However, I don’t always travel on my own and I’m sure you don’t either! In fact, some of my favourite travel memories have been when I’ve been able to share them with friends and family. The picture below was taken by my cousin on a recent trip to Versailles.
#5 Go old school and use a tripod
‘How vintage’ I hear you say. Everyone has heard the expression ‘if you want something done, do it yourself’ and taking photos of yourself as a solo traveller is no exception! Because, if you want a photo exactly to your specifications; dimension, focus, ISO etc. etc, asking anyone else is not going to cut it. When you have a vision in mind for your photo, returning to the original method for taking selfies is the only way to go!
My camera has a smartphone app where I can control my camera remotely from my smartphone. This has proved SUPER useful in situations where I want to be in the frame. My favourite thing about using a tripod is that you can get really creative. For this shot, I set the camera to a six-second shutter speed and then stood reaaaalllly still in front of the carousel!
#6 Be creative and use mirrors and other reflective surfaces
Get creative; some of my favourite shots have been in puddles, convex mirrors etc. This vintage mirror in the Louvre provided the perfect opportunity for some selfie fun.
#7 Include no people at all!
When you’re taking photos, you don’t always have to include someone in the frame. Just because you’re taking photos of yourself as a solo traveller, doesn’t mean you always have to be in the shot! Although I often like to have someone in the photo to frame the shot/ have photos of myself travelling, sometimes having no one in the shot makes for the best photograph.
My camera equipment for solo female travel photography
Sony A6000: I’ve been using the Sony A6000 for just over three years now. It’s the first camera I’ve ever bought and I’ve been more than impressed with its versatility. As it’s a compact mirrorless camera, it affords the same quality of photos as a traditional full-frame camera without the weight of having all of those mirrors. Perfect for someone who’s always travelling alone!
16-70 mm Vario-Tessar Lens: While the kit lens the Sony A6000 comes with is a great beginners lens, it doesn’t have the same quality or sharpness around the edges that you may well want in the future. And while hte 16-70 mm is a little on the pricey side, its clarity more than makes up for the cost.
DJI Spark: For those wishing to capture more unusual photos, I highly recommend investing in a drone. I bought my DJI Spark in a sale a little while ago, and while I’m still learning how to manoeuvre it correctly, it’s provided me with some beautiful aerial footage thus far!
Instax mini 9: If you’re looking for a more permanent and physical way to capture all of those photographs, I highly recommend purchasing an Instax Camera. Pretty and cute, the photos that come out of this vintage looking camera are perfect for your desk wall, or simply as a keepsake in your purse!