How to Get Great Travel Selfies!
We all want those perfect travel selfie shots… but how do some of the best bloggers do it? Below I share my own tips and tricks for how to get great travel selfies when travelling solo. They may not be fool-proof, and I’m sure there are better ones out there, but this is what has worked for me so far!
- Use a tripod. I love using gorillapod tripods, especially for my iPhone or Olympus TG4. They have special ballheads for dslr’s and mirrorless cameras as well. They can grip to anything and are good for traveling light due to their lightweight and compact nature.
- Use a remote, or a self-timer. You can get a simple remote for your dslr, like this one (just make sure to check it’s the right one for your camera model), or even this bluetooth one for a smartphone. Set-up your gear and compose your shot, then step into the frame, pose and click away! A self-timer can be a little trickier, but definitely doable.
- Ask a stranger to take your shot. Setup the shot you want and explain to them when to take it. People are usually pretty friendly. You can also offer to take one for them in return. I would suggest you use caution when doing this though. You wouldn’t want someone to run off with your gear! This was taken by a tourist in Iceland in front of a water fall that was in a slit canyon. Needless to say that I wasn’t worried he was going to run off with my camera!
- Be aware of your surroundings to avoid getting your stuff stollen. If you’re asking a stranger to take your photo, maybe scope them out beforehand. Try asking someone who already has his own camera, or you’re sure is a tourist and you can offer the same thing back. Chances are, they won’t run off with your stuff (but it’s always a possibility no matter where you are).
- Don’t stray too far and too long from your setup gear. Leaving your gear unattended for long periods, or walking too far from it increases the chances of it being stollen. Be vigilant like with anything else, and if it doesn’t feel like the right spot or you have a bad gut-feeling about it, listen to it and find another spot you’re more comfortable with!
- Who cares what people think? Well, I still do… even if I don’t know them! It’s something I’m working on, and it should be for you too! In the end, you’ll probably never see those people again… so go for it, even if you feel a little (or a lot!) embarrassed. If anything, it can make for a great ice-breaker for meeting people with a laugh!
- Make the shot interesting. Sometimes we want the classic pose-for-the-camera-and-smile shot, but I’ve found my best photos are when I am actually doing something in the photo that looks completely natural and candid. Like this one for example!
- Use different angles, get creative! Low to the ground, close ups, perched on a rock higher up… the possibilities are literally endless! Use your imagination, be creative! You’ll be happy you did!
- Lighting is everything! I’m saying it’s one of the most important factor – if not THE most important factor – in taking selfies, or any photo for that matter! If the lighting sucks, so will your pictures! Best advice is to go out and shoot an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset, A.K.A. the golden hour! Avoid shooting in direct sunlight, you’ll just get harsh awful shadows. That lighting is the worse, even though it’s the time we want to take photos. It’s counter-intuitive. Overcast skies are also your best friend! They act like a giant diffuser, softening light and shadows! I know we all prefer sunny days, but for portraits and selfies, those are my tips!
Examples of nice lighting!
And last but not least… Please for the love of all that is sane and holy:
- Don’t over edit your images! Subtle enhancements are the way to go here, keep it natural (unless of course you’re aiming for something crazy!). Adobe Lightroom CC is a great App to use if you’re editing from your phone a lot, and it also syncs up to your laptop Lightroom CC as well. The mobile version has some free basic presets you can use, or you can purchase some online. I’ll be coming out with my very own set of LR presets, so stay tuned for those soon!
Examples of editing the same image for creativity purposes, without overdoing it.
So there you have it; my tips on how to get great travel selfies, especially when you’re traveling solo! I hope you enjoyed and, of course, feel free to comment or email me if you have any questions or suggestions!
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Happy selfie-taking and safe travels, always!
Love and light,