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When it comes to solo travel, I think I’ve been asked every question over the years, and then some.
What are your travel photography tips for solo travelers? is one that pops up more frequently than you might expect. How am I in so many of my travel photos? How do I deal with travel photography on the road?
I don’t market myself as a professional travel photographer by any means, Instagrammer maybe, but that being said, I do try and improve my photos where I can and I like to try new things.
And I like putting myself in my shots occasionally: selfie, portrait, or just point of reference, it varies. So without a partner to help me, how do I manage to take travel photos as a solo traveler?
I thought I’d go ahead and share some of my travel photography tips and secrets over the years about getting shots on the road. Enjoy!
1. Be friendly and don’t be afraid to talk to strangers
Personally, I’ve found that as a solo female traveler, people find me non-threatening and approachable, which is so awesome and works both ways.
If there are people around, usually I just go up to someone and ask if they wouldn’t mind taking my picture.
I do it in the friendliest, nicest way possible, and sometimes if they are a couple or with someone else, or solo too, I first offer to take their photo for them before asking for reciprocation. And, obviously, I give them the sneaky once-over and mentally weigh out the chances that they will run away with my camera and/or if I can outrun them to get it back.
Also, the majority of people might not know how to operate your camera, so I carefully explain to them how to use it and personally fling the strap over their neck so they won’t drop it.
I use a big SLR camera which can be intimidating, so I make sure I have the settings right and the zoom in the right place before handing it over.
Depending on how friendly and open they are, I might tell them how I would like the shot composed, but I don’t like to push my luck.
2. Use a Tripod for epic travel photos
Because I live in New Zealand and do quite a lot of hiking and trekking out in the mountains alone, now I mostly rely on my travel tripod.
I also like to compose some artful, complicated shots, imagine me staring off in the distance standing on a rock or something, which is just easier to do with a tripod and maybe even a remote timer.
For point and shoots or smaller cameras, you definitely don’t need to invest in a big fancy tripod for these, you can use a small, tough Gorilla Pod that you can set anywhere or hang on anything. Super handy to have.
3. Use a Selfie stick for your solo travel photos
I feel like I risk internet banishment by publicly admitting to owning a selfie stick, but I live by a 100% honesty policy and I would hate to let you down.
Selfie sticks are an excellent investment for solo travelers if you want easy travel pictures of yourself. You can get one that has an attachment for your iphone, which full disclosure, you risk looking ridiculous if you use in front of other people, but are great for when no one else is around.
I use my selfie stick mostly with my GoPro, which is great for any sort of adventure activity, underwater selfies, animal photobombs and cool fisheye selfies while traveling.
4. Group activities
Even though I mostly travel by myself, it doesn’t mean I am usually alone. I tend to sign up for group day trips and tours, pub crawls, cooking classes and activities as a way to meet people on the road.
Solo travelers tend to congregate on these kinds of trips and it becomes super easy to ask people to take travel photos for you, or even with you.
In fact, many adventure activities usually have a guide taking travel photos for you as well, which is another great way to get shots you might want.
5. Be careful with your travel camera gear
And finally, I thought I would go ahead and give a little mention of how I manage to travel around the world with all my camera gear without having problems.
Many people will have more valuable camera equipment than me while many don’t. It varies.
For me, the most important factor is not flaunting the fact that I carry expensive travel gear.
This means I use camera bags that don’t look like camera bags, and I don’t generally walk around with my camera slung around my neck unless I am actually shooting at that moment. And just in case I have really good property insurance.
Read more: 5o fo the best travel gifts for travelers
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