How to Take Great Travel Photos as a Solo Traveler
Traveling solo has become a global trend, especially among women. Between 2015 and 2017, solo travel bookings increased by 42%, and female bookings increased by 45%. More people are seeking out adventures that aren't available in the routines of day-to-day life.
If you're one of many destined to hit the road alone, follow the seven tips below for taking great photos.
1. Set a Timer
Try using the timer setting on your camera if you want to take studio-worthy photos when alone on the road. With enough time — whether five, fifteen or thirty seconds — you can capture breathtaking landscapes and pose perfectly within the frame. Plan where you want to stand beforehand and give yourself enough time to get in place. For a flawless shot, turn on the continuous shooting option to snap several photos simultaneously.
2. Pack a Tripod
A tripod is the best way to capture studio-quality photos while traveling. It's designed to hold your camera steady so that you can carefully aim your shot. Even if you don't plan to be in the photo, a tripod offers better results than trying to stabilize a camera by hand. Look for a tripod with a sturdy head rated for your camera's weight. Most equipment under $50 won't offer the stability needed for taking high-quality photos when traveling alone.
3. Play with Reflections
Give your solo travel photos an artsy feel by playing with reflective surfaces. Don't head to the nearest bathroom and snap a cliché selfie. Instead, use reflections from objects like a fountain, car, statue, or sunglasses to take a unique shot. Play with angles and think outside the box to capture photos you want to share. If you're using water, why not drop in a pebble to create a ripple effect? Or use a mirror to capture a smartly angled photo of you and your surroundings.
4. Strap on a GoPro
A GoPro is an extremely versatile camera used by travelers. In 2018, the company shipped out 4.34 million new cameras to customers around the globe. You can strap it to your head, wear it around your body, attach it to a tripod or hold it in your hand. Its small size makes it ideal for taking photos and videos on-the-go. You can take it on an underwater adventure, like snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef or scuba diving in the Great Blue Hole. Plenty of accessories, like a stabilizing gimbal, are also available to enhance shots.
5. Get a Remote Shutter
Your options are restricted when you're traveling solo and want to take photos of yourself. If your camera lacks a timer function — or you don't want to use it —another option is a remote shutter. This tiny device, featuring a small button, is wirelessly connected to your camera. Once clicked, your camera gets the signal to snap the shot. Compared to a timer, a remote shutter offers more flexibility with taking photos.
6. Grab a Selfie Stick
Selfie sticks look silly, right? But they also make it easy to take photos of both you and your destination when traveling alone. And if you're a pro with angles — or a whiz at Photoshop — you can keep the selfie stick out of the frame. One trick is to keep the photo zoomed in close enough to hide your hands. Look for a selfie stick with Bluetooth capability, so you don't have to deal with using a wire to plug your phone or camera in.
7. Master the Basics
Even the best equipment is useless without a little prior knowledge of how to use it. You don't need to become a professional photographer or head to night school. Instead, crack open the manual to learn about the different buttons and functions on your camera. Take practice shots at home to learn about lighting and angles. And read up on tips posted by fellow photographers online.
It's easy to take share-worthy photos when traveling solo. Plan to bring along the right equipment, like a tripod, selfie stick and remote shutter. If you want to take stunning action shots with zero effort, you should also consider adding a GoPro to your packing list. And before you leave, don't forget to brush up on Photography 101 to ensure you're taking the best photos possible.