The number one question I get on Instagram is: How do you take your photos when travelling alone? Solo travel doesn’t mean you will go home with bad photos, in fact, it is fairly easy to take self portraits. All you need is A LOT of patience (A LOT) and some good equipment.
What do I use?
The first thing I suggest you invest in is a good camera. Although smartphones have progressed a lot in terms of camera quality, a DLSR camera will allow you to take photos in different weather conditions (especially at night!) If you are an amateur photographer, you can get a fairly good camera for around 400 euros and start practicing from there.
Now, the number one piece of equipment you need if you want to take photos by yourself is a TRIPOD! What is a tripod? it is a 3-legged stand used to prop your camera and take your photos using a remote timer. It is the Instagram-Boyfriend of the solo traveller. The advantage of a tripod is that unlike a human being, your camera will not move if it is placed on the tripod stably. If you decide to get a tripod, I recommend spending a bit more money and getting a high quality tripod that with make sure your camera does not fall off (you don’t want to buy a new camera!) and is still both small and light enough to fit in a carry on suitcase. There are several great tripod brands but I use a Manfrotto, which is fantastic!
Once you have your equipment ready all you need to do is choose the setting for your photos and start the remote timer on your camera. I usually choose a 10 second remote timer and a burst of 10 photos. The camera will count to 10 and start taking 10 different photos of you with a 1-2 second delay (so you can switch poses).
The photos may not look great on your first try, but it is all about practice. You will eventually discover your best angles/height and be able to adjust your tripod accordingly.
Some solo photography tips:
- Wake up very early to avoid crowded spots. It will be impossible for you to take photos with people constantly walking into your shot. If you’re in a big city it’s also safer to move away from your camera if fewer people are around.
- Try different tripod heights. Regulating your tripod to different heights is a great way to see how it affects your photos.
- Avoid windy days! Even the strongest tripod might have trouble in bad weather so avoid breaking your tripod and camera and check the weather conditions before you set up your equipment.