5 Foolproof Tips to take Fantastic Solo Travel Pics
Stunning travel photos of yourself in the wildest locations are all the rage right now. Like so many others I cannot afford my own personal photographer, which is why I have come up with these five foolproof tips to take fantastic solo travel pics. So if you are looking to up your Instagram game or just want to have a couple of nice shots of yourself when you travel, this is for you.
#1 BRING A TRIPOD
The first tripod that I got was very heavy and I couldn’t fit it in any bag or backpack. I used to hesitate to bring it along when I traveled solo. Now, it’s the first thing that I pack. The key here is to get a tripod that’s light and small when folded. I’ve done a lot of hours of research about a suitable travel tripod and a lot of companies out there really stepped up their game. While you can get a professional travel tripod for $900ish, I wasn’t ready to spend that much on a tripod. So, after doing some more research and making loads of pro and con lists, I found a tripod that was small, light and actually affordable: The Davis & Sanford PB228-10. Check out this list of the best travel tripods in 2018 for more. Next, all you need to do is hit that self-timer button on your camera, and get into position!
A tripod helps you set the scene and keep the photo straight. It also ensures that your camera is secure and won’t slip or fall when otherwise placed on walls, benches or garbage cans (we’ve all been there).
#2 GET UP EARLY
One of the things that often ruin good shots are other tourists. So what to do when you want to get that iconic shot in front of the Taj Mahal minus the people?
You get up early.
Try to aim to get up before sunrise to be at the location when the day begins. Not only will you be able to get amazing shots with fewer photobombs in your shot but you can also take advantage of the morning “golden hour” that will make your photo even more awesome. For those who don’t know, in photography, the golden hour is a period shortly after sunrise or before sunset during which daylight is redder and softer than when the Sun is higher in the sky. Hence, your photos will have that natural glow that you just can’t achieve with Photoshop.
Do your research and check when the sun rises and sets in the place you are traveling and double check opening hours of attractions.
Check the beautiful lighting in this shot inside the Forbidden City below, plus there were not a lot of people around as I went early in the morning.
#3 GET AWAY FROM THE CROWDS
Now, what if you can’t get somewhere early or, even when you got there early, there are still crowds of people? No worries! Try to get away from the crowds by shooting photos from ‘unpopular’ angles. For example, when I visited the Forbidden City in Beijing, I didn’t follow the main way through the middle of each hall. Instead, I went to the side and explored those areas where fewer people were. This is not only great to get rid of nasty background tourists but it will also get you more unique perspectives of well-known locations.
We all know the iconic front Eiffel Tower shot but shoot it from the side or from the other side of the park and it’s a fresh new look onto the world-famous landmark. This makes it interesting and gives you an edge in your photography.
See all the people in the background in the shot below? They were all following the central pathway in the Forbidden City. I branched out and set up my gear on the right-hand side with nobody around.
#4 USE PROPS… OR ANYTHING REALLY
It’s quite easy to take nice travel shots when you’re shooting landscape and you are more or less part of the surroundings but what if you want to be in the foreground? It’s very difficult to set the right focus when you are shooting all by yourself. This is where props come in handy. Now, you could bring along a life-sized dummy to be able to get the focus just right – or, you could look for ‘natural props’. On my recent trip to Beijing, I wanted to get a shot where I am in front of the Temple of Heaven, in focus, and I wanted the temple in the background to be blurry. It was practically impossible for me to find out the right manual focus for me to be perfectly sharp.
Luckily, I was able to use a garbage can for help. I set up my tripod and focused on the garbage can in the lower part of the shot and then stood right in front of it. You could also stand right next to it for the same effect. You can also do this with benches, signs, or even other tourists standing in just the right spot where you want to take a photo once they’re done and gone. Later, you can either photoshop the prop out or just cut it off.
Notice that brown thing in the lower left-hand corner of the shot? That’s the garbage can I focused on! I can simply edit it out in Photoshop or just cut the image shorter.
#5 DON’T CARE WHAT OTHERS THINK
This is probably the most important tip of all. If you follow it, you will get amazing travel shots of yourself guaranteed. I used to never take photos of myself when I was traveling solo and the result were amazing landscape and travel shots minus me! Once I got more into blogging and Instagram it became frustrating because I wanted to be part of the story I was telling through my photography.
The reason why I never took any photos of myself when traveling solo was that I felt awkward.
I felt awkward taking photos of me because people do stare. Sure, it looks weird when you’re walking or posing in front of the camera and you’re all by yourself. But hey, I’m never going to see those people again and if it gets me awesome and fierce looking shots – I couldn’t care less! So don’t bother whether others might think you’re weird and do your thing!
For the below shot I combined all of the tips and tricks mentioned in this post: I set up my tripod, I woke up early, hence no crowds, and I didn’t care if people thought I was weird taking photos of myself. The wall to the right is all glass so people had a clear view of my crazy photo-taking skills there. The result? A beautiful shot in one of China’s most stunning indoor pools.
I don’t regret it.
Show me your fierce shots!
Now it’s your turn to take these 5 foolproof tips to take fantastic solo travel pics of your own! Tag me in your shots @lindagoeseast so that I can see the results! Safe & happy travels!
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