How to take photos of yourself when travelling alone

How to take photos of yourself when travelling alone

And… it’s not about selfies! It is possible to take photos of yourself when travelling alone, the whole yourself with the whole view. I’m sorry to break the mystery for some, but behind my amazing photos of solo travelling it’s either a complete stranger or very accessible technology.

  1. Ask someone to take a photo of you

This is the easiest way but depends pretty much on your luck. It’s difficult to tell if the random person you ask on the street will take a nice shot. Maybe you have more chances if you target someone with a camera or someone who takes lots of photos from different angles (in a touristy spot). And don’t be shy, the worst it can happen is to get a “no”, but you can always ask someone else.

Also, stereotype or not, if you travel around East Asia, guaranteed you won’t have trouble finding people to take photos of you. I travelled by myself in China, and one day I took a tour from Fenghuang to visit around. We were 8 people I believe and me and another lady travelling alone. At every stop, the people in the group made sure that the two of us got photos. They were even giving me instructions on where to sit and how to pose. Even though I didn’t speak the language, I felt very integrated. And there was a general consensus that photos must be taken.

The Heaven-asking rooftop
Photo was taken by a lady from the tour group in China

One downside for me it’s that I usually don’t like to pose if I don’t feel comfortable with the person who’s taking the photos. Or I don’t want to take too much of someone’s time. Because when you stop someone on the street, you don’t know why they are there, and where they are heading. They are nice enough to take a photo of you but don’t want to overstep that.

  1. Use timer mode of your phone/camera

I’ve used this one many times. It’s very common for the phone to have a timer mode and to take 3 shots. You can find a good angle and somewhere to place your phone and then go quickly and do your pose.

I placed my phone on the table near my hammock, leaned it on my glass and used the timer mode

The limitation with this one is that sometimes you don’t have where to place your phone and it has to be a place relatively empty. Because if it’s a busy area, people will be moving around and get into your photo without realising. Not to mention that your phone might disappear in the process. Never happened to me, but it’s a risk.

My best tip here is the window. They are a good, common spot, but it can be anything really. You can find a less busy, pretty street. Then place your phone on the window ledge, it’s usually high enough to get the whole you and the street view. And it has enough space for the phone to stand and lean on.

Once I was in a medieval castle in Luxembourg, it was late afternoon on a Sunday, very empty. The walls were made of big stones, eroded by the time, so I had plenty of spaces to place my phone. I was having fun posing thinking I was alone. At some point, I realised I was not really alone…

How to take photos of yourself when travelling alone luxembourg castle
I saw the man only after I took the photo. My phone was on a “window” ledge, leaning on my purse. Timer mode.
  1. Use a tripod with remote control

Now I present you my best travel friend, my octopus tripod with remote control. It’s small, it fits in my backpack or purse. Its arms are flexible, it can grab anything, so it’s way easier to place the phone at a good high and get the view you want. £10, on Amazon.

Octopus tripod with remote control
Octopus tripod with remote control

I usually find a view I like, fix the phone with the tripod and then keep taking shots with the remote control while moving around and posing at leisure. It’s one of the activities I like during a solo travel. I take plenty of time in an empty location to takes lots of photos.

My first trip using the tripod was in the south of France, in the beautiful village Eze. Would you have guessed that the photo below was taken by myself?

How to take photos of yourself when travelling alone Eze France
I’ve set the tripod on a stairway handrail, placed the phone and had the remote control in my hand

Taking photos by yourself can be as fun as taking photos with others. But don’t get me wrong, as much as I love my tripod, photo sessions with dear ones are lots of fun too. Every year I go on a beach holiday with my parents, and me and mom take lots of beach photos until we run out of ideas. And that’s not the only “photo tradition” I keep.

Happy travels!

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