How to Take Photos of Yourself When Traveling Solo

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We all know that solo travel comes with its struggles, and one of those major struggles is getting good photos with you in them. Everyone wants photos of themselves in cool or beautiful places, and traveling is the best time to get them. Don’t let traveling solo deter you from getting those stellar shots! Here’s our guide on how to take photos of yourself when traveling solo, and how to make sure you like them.

1) The Convenient Option: Selfies Only

Easy to take and solo traveler-friendly, selfies are the most convenient and thoughtless process for getting photos of yourself while traveling. I get it – it can be really tempting to take selfies 100% of the time while traveling alone.

You can switch up your selfie game by getting a GoPro or a selfie stick (cringe). However, they all kind of look the same. Although selfies are the obvious answer for solo travelers, I personally tend to shy away from using them as an exclusive way of taking photographs of myself while traveling.

2) The Trusting Option: Ask Someone Who Looks Credible

If you don’t want all of your photos to be selfies, you could ask a friendly bystander to take your photos. However, be warned that asking a random person to take your photo is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes they’re great and sometimes…we’ll let’s just say sometimes they don’t turn out very well.

My hesitation toward this option is twofold. First, I have a nice camera that I really love, and I hesitate giving it to a strange who could either steal it or drop it. Second, I almost never get the photographs I want from this method. Yes, I have gotten some really great gems from handing off my baby to others (see my photo above from Rainbow Mountain, taken by the awesome Belinda from Australia!). However, I tend to avoid this option if I have the time and space for one of the next few options.

3) The Workout Option: Tripod and Timer

Alternatively, you could simultaneously get a workout AND take some nice photos of yourself by using the timer option on your phone or camera. I have used this method many times when I’ve either a) forgotten my remote or b) am photographing myself in a location that is too far away for my remote signal to reach. All you need to do is set up your tripod, put your camera on timer, and run for it.

4) The Artistic Option: Tripod and Remote

This is admittedly my go-to option for taking self-portraits while traveling. Not only is this the most flexible and space-efficient way to take photos, but you can also set everything up exactly how you want it. Then, as easy as 1, 2, 3, you can snap as many photos as you’d like. No random people or impromptu workouts are required.

Doing this requires you to have a travel camera that is compatible with a remote (my Sony camera is) and either a wireless or phone remote option. After that, just set your camera up on your tripod, frame your shot, make sure autofocus is on, and click away.

5) The Options Option: Tripod and Time Lapse

If you want to have a ton of options to choose from (so you can ensure the perfect shot), or your desired self portrait is too far away from the remote signal, you can use this final option, which is time lapse mode. Essentially, what time lapse does is it has your camera take a series of photographs continuously until you command it to stop. You can then walk out to your desired location in the shot, pose a bunch of times, then choose the photos you like the best later for post-processing. If you’re picky or just want to maximize your chances of getting the “perfect shot,” this option is for you.

The Bottom Line

Getting great travel photos of yourself as a solo traveler can be really tricky, but it’s not impossible. Depending on what kinds of photos you want to take and how much time and energy you want to put into them, you can play around and experiment with different types of self-portraiture. Choose your strategy, set up your shot, and get to work.

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To see more of Kay’s self-portraits, check out her personal Instagram at @thekaydays. Or, if you want to see some photos especially curated for Jetfarer, check out our feed at @jetfarer.

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Kay is a full-time working professional located in Washington DC who takes every spare vacation day to get outside and explore the world. When she travels, she loves visiting the most iconic and naturally beautiful destinations in the USA and abroad. You can typically find her wandering the streets of a city, running through a park, taking ridiculous self portraits, or hiking a mountain somewhere. Connect with Kay: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

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