You all know that I LOVE to solo travel. When I went on my first solo trip, my friends/family were confused by my lack of selfies. I want my pictures to capture my full experience (and let’s be real, I want my whole outfit in the picture). BUT we all know that asking strangers to take our picture can be tricky. First, you have to trust that this total stranger won’t run away with your phone. Second, you have to hope that they know how to work your phone. Finally, you pray they know the rule of thirds, and that they won’t cut off your feet or part of the scene you’re trying to capture.
Here is how to get the PERFECT picture:
Ask a Stranger
First, I look for a couple or another solo traveler taking selfies. I approach them and ask if they would like me to take their picture. Then I take as many shots as necessary to help them get the perfect picture (you know, you have to get the angle/lighting/pose just right!). Then I look at their picture and say, “Wow, that’s actually a perfect picture! Would you mind taking the EXACT same one for me?” That way, I already know that I am going to love the picture.
Did you follow the steps above, and your picture still didn’t turn out just right (they cut off your feet, you blinked, etc.)? No worries! Just walk around for a few minutes, and when they have walked away, find a new couple and try again!
Use a Tripod
If you are not a fan of talking to strangers or there is no one around you, tripods are a great way to go. This will also allow you to set up your camera, so that all you need to do is jump into the shot.
Go on a FREE Walking Tour
You all already know I LOVE free walking tours. Literally Google “Free walking tour [insert city name]” any time you go on a trip. Another thing that I love about walking tours is that they are a great chance to get some amazing pictures! Your tour guide will walk you past all of the picturesque sites, and will give you plenty of time to snap some great shots. There will always be other solo travelers and couples on your tours. Offer to take their pictures (see steps above), then ask them to take yours. The great thing about this is that you will not be concerned about them running off with your phone/camera because they are on the tour with you.
Find Your Pose
Posing for a picture can feel awkward (I never know what to do with my hands). I find it helpful to look through Instagram and Pinterest to find inspiration for pictures that other people have taken at the same location. You can even look around you and see how others are posing. Honestly, if all else fails, sometimes my “awkward” pictures end up becoming some of my favorites. They show the real me, and they typically make me/others laugh at my ridiculous faces. Sometimes my best pictures come from the frames of me laughing at my awkwardness with the strangers taking my picture. I get to look back and remember all the fun I had at each place.
Take a Selfie
Never miss out on capturing your memories! There is nothing wrong with stopping to take a selfie! If you have short arms like me, then invest in a selfie stick! Just be aware of your surroundings (in some of the bigger cities, people are known to grab phones right off the selfie stick).
In the end, just remember that, no matter what, you are going to feel silly. People are going to look at you. They may even laugh at you. This happens even when you are traveling with other people. But guess what? You will likely never see these people again. So if they are going to stare, make it worth their while – get over feeling stupid and get your awesome pic!
Here are some of my favorite shots: