FAQ Packing Photography Travel Tips

10 Tips For Taking Stunning Travel Photos of Yourself

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes


Sydney, Australia | TheBlogAbroad.com
Can anyone spot my phone (remote control) for how I took this photo? // Sydney, Australia

While I’d love to say there’s a hot European or a private photographer on the other side of my photos, the truth is, a majority of my pictures are taken on a self-timer or with specific instructions given to a nearby stranger (bless their hearts).

So I’m going to break down how to take those stunning, Instagram-worthy photos if you travel by yourself, as well as ways to go about asking a stranger, who to look for, and what you can do to ensure someone you just met can take a quality photo for you.

10 Tips For Taking Stunning Travel Photos of Yourself | TheBlogAbroad.com
Bali, Indonesia

Pictures tell a thousand words of stories that we hardly do justice for without graphic evidence.

In a perfect world, I’d be married to Channing Tatum we’d all be able to hire private photographers to follow us everywhere on trips, snapping every staged candid moment, and making us look like the supermodels we all could be if fast food chains and Nutella didn’t exist.

Alas, ’tis not the case, so listen up my unphotogenic lovely lilies, a mind-blown you awaits on the other side of this post 😉

1. IN ANGLES WE TRUST

Paris, France
Just me and invisible bae // Paris, France

When near a popular monument, make sure you tell the person to place the camera just a few feet above the ground and angle it upwards.

If by yourself, place your camera on the ground against a rock, or anything that can prop it.

By angling it upwards, you can cut the heads off of all the people around you, making it seem like it’s just you and the Eiffel Tower chillin’ in Paris 😉

When you think of a scenery, think of the thousands, maybe millions who’ve been on those exact grounds you’re standing on, taking the exact same photo, with the exact same, standard angle.

It’s amazing what perspective does to enhancing a photo. Using an angle apart from the “holding my camera directly in front of my face while standing straight” does wonders to the eye.

2. SELF-TIMERS ARE YOUR FRIENDS

Wolwedans, Namibia | TheBlogAbroad.com
Count to 10, suck in that gut, hide your phone remote, aaaaand #NAILEDIT // Wolwedans, Namibia

Self-timers work great when you’ve got a place to yourself, or you’ve got a lot of time to kill. This usually involves placing your camera a few feet in front of you, allowing you 10 seconds to get in position, and if your camera is in burst mode, I recommend dancing or doing a few fluid movements to add some variety to your shot selection.

Ideally, there is a rock or nearby ledge you can prop your camera against. If not, I recommend this handy tripod for phones!

When bae does this really cute thing where he doesn’t exist, but you pretend to run towards him in glee anyway #mylife #selftimer

A photo posted by Glo | TheBlogAbroad.com (@glographics) on

3. CHOOSE BACKGROUNDS THAT COMPLEMENT YOUR OUTFIT

Melbourne, Australia | TheBlogAbroad.com
Just flexing out — I mean, CHECKING out the local architecture // Melbourne, Australia

Maybe this is just for my ladies, but when your outfit coordinates with a monument, lake, or wall, the photo will pop even more.

Tie dye with mesmerizing blue water really brings out my eyes and credit score dontcha think? 😂

4. ASK STRANGERS TO TAKE AT LEAST 3 POSES OF YOU

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam | TheBlogAbroad.com
Maybe they’ll catch you mid-strut and you can act like you just naturally pose this flawlessly on cue // Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

First off, no one is immune to theft while traveling, and if you travel solo, you run the risk of placing your camera into the hands of a thief (I’ve seen it happen, ugh).

But there’s a foolproof way to make sure the person you’re about to approach isn’t going to run off with your hundred to thousand-dollar DSLR.

If a person has kids with them, specifically a toddler in a stroller, you know for sure they aren’t running off with anything.

You take my camera sir, and I’ll take your baby and put a ransom on that @$#. But don’t worry, I don’t discriminate. This applies to kids, spouses, and pets as well.

So now that you’ve found your photographer and you’ve made eye contact with his toddler in case they want to crawl off as an accomplice to this potential thievery when you’re ready to strike a pose, now what?

Kindly ask them to take 3 separately timed photos. WHY?

The first picture will be blurry, the second you won’t be ready, and the third will be just perfect. You’re welcome 😉

5. LOOK FOR PEOPLE WITH DSLRs ON THEIR NECK

Budapest, Hungary
Thought they were taking pictures of the hilltop view like I was. Turns out, they were taking pictures of me. #StrugglesOfBeingBlackAbroad // Budapest, Hungary

In most cases, if a person has a DSLR around their neck, chances are they will respect a fellow expensive-camera-buyer photographer and treat it with the same care as they would their own.

Not only that, but there’s a good chance they already know how to work your camera and you don’t have to spend 10 minutes explaining how to push a button (it’s okay grandpas of the world, we still love you).

6. LAUGH AT THE CAMERA, INSTEAD OF SMILING

Paros, Greece | TheBlogAbroad.com
Paros, Greece

LAUGH instead of smile. Smiling is weird. And awkward. And weird.

Save the smiles for things that matter in life (looking at you, Nutella). Laugh out loud towards the camera to produce the most genuine smile your face is capable of.

Your face muscles will look relaxed and the “smile” in the end that’s generated from the laugh will end up looking more natural.

7. LOOK FOR A COUPLE TAKING AN AWKWARD SELFIE

Use this method when you know exactly what kind of picture you want. Because when you offer to take their picture, you’re going to frame it and arch your back in a manner that shows you know what you’re doing.

When they see their photo and are amazed by the vision you had for it, kindly ask if they can mimic your movements and take that exact same shot.

With them having an example to look at, and remembering how you positioned your body to get that perfect angle, you’ll have a better chance of getting exactly what you want!

And they’ll definitely take the time to produce a photo you’re happy with, since you went out of your way to do that for them.

People are usually so cute about imitating my squats and angles when I ask, and the results are always great!

8. NOT EVERY PHOTO NEEDS TO BE A CHEESY ONE

Salzburg, Austria
Facing away from the camera, just like the model I never became. // Salzburg, Austria

Am I deep in thought?

Am I lost in the moment?

Am I holding in a fart?

All very accurate assumptions and the beauty of the photo is that the interpretation of it is left to the eye of the beholder.

Switch up your style from the normal hand on the hip and angled shoulders, and show people what an enigma you truly are.

Patterned backgrounds, bodies of water, and large monuments all make great backdrops and are iconic for “look at me, I traveled”!

It also helps to use accessories to keep your hands occupied. The reason I love fedoras is because it hides a percentage of my alien-shaped head and gives me something to place my hands on because I suffer from Awkward As Hell Syndrome.

9. TAKE A SHORT VIDEO

Island of Burano, Venice, Italy | TheBlogAbroad.com
Want to catch your skirt or hair blowing in the wind? Take a video of it! // Island of Burano, Venice, Italy

While this might be a longer and more complicated method to capturing a quick photo, it’s a great way to get a variety to choose from.

Much like the burst method where your phone can take up to 10 shots in one second, this is also a great alternative, because when you upload the video to your computer, pause the frame you like, then take a screenshot of the screen, crop and edit accordingly, and upload it as a photo! BOOM!

10. DON’T BE AFRAID TO SHOW SOME PERSONALITY!

10 Tips For Taking Stunning Travel Photos of Yourself | TheBlogAbroad.com
#AlwaysOnVacay #IWish #ButSinceYouThinkSo #MightAsWellFlauntIt

It baffles me that there are some people who go on these amazing trips and don’t have ONE single picture of themselves from the trip! Okay, taking pictures of yourself is awkward, I get it.

But anybody can grab a picture from Google and say they went somewhere. Being in the picture is not only undeniable proof that you were there, but it conveys so much more.

Your mood, your expression, and your body all change daily, and you get a chance to see how all of that looked while on a trip, to laugh or gawk at later.

So embrace the moment! Be silly! Have fun!

You’re in gorgeous, foreign territory, even if it was the crappiest time of your life (which, uhhm… impossible), so make that picture hold thousands of memories you won’t be able to adequately retell with words.

CAMERA EQUIPMENT:

Travel Blogger Camera
My Canon 60D is the powerhouse of my photography. It goes with me on all major trips!

For taking sharper images with a nice Bokeh effect, I shoot with a Canon 60D and a 50mm f1/8 lens.

If you’ve held or used this lens before, you can vouch for how easy and lightweight it is. It’s the only lens I’ve shot with in my last two years of travel, and it has an amazingly sharp focus on its subjects.

Note: It’s not a zoom lens, so if you’re used to stock lenses, this will be a bit of an adjustment, and sometimes a challenge to explain to strangers.

Below, I’ve posted the Amazon [clickable] photos of all the top camera and equipment I travel with! Each camera serves a different purpose or captures a different perspective, so feel free to ask questions about any of them in the comments!

SONY A7RII

The camera I currently use and spent my life savings on is the Sony A7RII. It is a full frame, mirrorless, and top-of-the-line kind of camera for those of you who are looking to turn your hobby of photography into a commercial business. This single-handedly transformed my photos, and if you look at my Instagram gallery and look at any picture from Egypt onward, as opposed to before, you will see a massive difference. I can’t say enough amazing things about this camera and I’m loving the Sony brand right now!

SONY A6000 MIRRORLESS

The Sony A6000 is compact, lightweight, has amazing quality, and is suitable for beginner to advanced photographers. There’s a ton of reviews I watched on YouTube featuring this camera, and after 20 or so, it was enough to sell me. Almost every photo from 2017 that you’ve seen on my Instagram, was taken on this camera and I couldn’t recommend it enough!

TRAVEL TRIPOD

If you’re someone who’s an aspiring blogger or influencer and really looking to take your photos and Instagram gallery to the next level, then you really oughta consider the [small] $30 investment to get a tripod to better stabilize and compose your photos. This has lasted me well over a year and fits in a backpack and small bag. It is hands down the single-best accessory for anybody looking to improve their photography!

GOPRO HERO 6

Full disclosure, I’m a GoPro ambassador, so I not only get to try out some of their amazing products before they hit the market, but I get to be featured in their global marketing ads too! This camera I got to beta test all around Bali in 2017 and if you haven’t seen the full ad yet, check out this post! I’m obsessed with the quality, and the 4K 60FPS is just beastly. The stabilization combined with the quality makes this camera the most versatile on the market. Can’t go wrong!

GOPRO 6 COMBO BUNDLE

This is the ultimate bundle if you’re looking to get a GoPro for all your adventurous activities. These mounds, grips, rigs, and add-ons complete the package for everything you’ll be able to use your GoPro for. 

CANON POWERSHOT G7X MARK II

If you’re like me and you’re brand loyal, I understand if you want a Canon option. I was a loyal Canon shooter for 7+ years, but when I made the switch to Sony in 2017, it was more for my own personal preferences, and what I needed in a camera. Sony has incredible mirrorless options, which is the direction of photography in my opinion, but this G7X Mark II by Canon is about as good as it gets when it comes to something compact, lightweight, and with incredible quality.

And if you loved this post and want more fun, detailed, and relevant tips about how I turned my passion for travel into a lifestyle, check out my e-book for only $10 here!

10 Tips For Taking Stunning Travel Photos of Yourself | TheBlogAbroad.com
PIN me baby one more time!

Disclaimer: All Amazon product links are affiliated, meaning if you purchase directly through my blog, this comes at no extra price to you, but a small commission comes to me. I like to think of it as a finder’s fee, hoping this post saves you time from having to do your own research. Thank you guys for supporting me and I’ll continue recommending products I not only personally use, but love!

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