How To Take Instagrammable Photos Of Yourself While Traveling Alone

Even though I’ve already finished 3 articles about our latest trip to Bali, the first post in this blog is gonna be a little recap.

The recap focused on a theme that you, guys, gave me - taking instagrammable photos while traveling alone.

“You never travel alone, what are you even talking about!” - you say, and technically you’re right. Thought, despite the fact that Andrey and I always travel together, a lot of locations I explore by myself just because those trips are Andrey’s business trips. So while I’m enjoying myself in an instagrammable matcha cafe, he’s enjoying himself in the conference halls and meeting rooms.

 

A little (a lot!) anxiously at first, but then I figured it out. Because there were only two doors - I could swallow my shyness and do something, or I could be sitting duck with no photos to share. And this second door is totally not for me.

 

Now, after a dozen of those solo-ish trips, I can say (and this is for damn certain) - you will never be out of the beautiful images during your trip if you go with one (or more!) of the ways that I used.

Tripod

A third of my photos is taken with a tripod. It’s not pretty easy, I must say. Yet with practice and patience, the results will totally worth your effort and your time.

Also, I’m not really comfortable asking strangers to take a photo of myself, so the tripod is always an integral part of my luggage.

I’m currently using Sony a7ii camera with Smart Remote Control, a camera application that allows you to control the camera remotely in conjunction with a remote control application on a smartphone. It has a two-to-ten seconds delay which allows me to hide my iPhone when the shutter releases.

 

A couple of important things I learned while practicing this skill:

 

  • It’s better to use a wide-angle lens, such as 35mm or 24-70mm, so you can stand a lot closer to your camera, though due to a wide angle of these lenses an entire landscape on your background is gonna be in the frame. If you shoot a portrait you better use 50mm.

The photos below were taken with 35mm lens so I stood really close to my camera, though the bridge is in frame

  • Once the camera is focused on you and the remote is pressed, stay in a similar spot to keep being in focus. If you shoot a portrait with a large aperture you better don’t even move.

You can see here that I'm not in focus on the images where I moved after the remote was pressed

  • Always take a test shot of your location to check the settings of the camera. It’s even better to focus on an object located at where you want to stand (or you can locate your own stuff there, such as a bag or a tripod case).

To take the first photo I focused on the rock I was going to sit on. To take the second and the third ones I had to locate my backpack where I was gonna stand to focus on it.

At least four of my favorite top-bloggers shoot themselves with a remote control.

 

I highly recommend you to check out these two articles:

HOW BLOGGERS BOYFRIENDS TAKE THEIR OWN PHOTOS by @bloggers_boyfriend

and

GIVE YOUR INSTAGRAM HUSBAND A BREAK by @stylestructure

 

Also, @doyoutravel in his Q&A and @kimijuan in her Instagram post admitted that they shoot with the tripods and a remote control as well.

Before choosing a tripod for my travels I watched dozens of vlogs and reviews, and now I can confirm that this guy is a must have for every traveler out here. A lightweight one, could be set in 30 seconds, goes with a case with a comfortable shoulder strap. Definitely one of the best investments I made!

Find a mate

Networking! Not only a way to make new friends and have a good time but the way to get the beautiful pictures as well. I met so many amazing, talented people through Instagram, but if it’s not your way, you should check out the “Experiences” section on airbnb.com. You can find there a travel mate with a camera (and the skills!) for the activities like this one or this one.

 

Photos were taken a couple of years ago by two girls I got to know through Instagram and finally met in London

Westminster Bridge by @alleksana

Big Ben by @kseniaskos

St Dunstan-in-the-East by @kseniaskos

Ask a stranger

Duh! Every tourist did that at least once, my favorite Aimee Song even has a manual for working with a stranger. That's pretty easy, yet not for me! I have only TWO photos taken by total strangers. So hard to be an introvert sometimes.

Click an image to view at full size

Hire a professional

In addition to the extremely talented professionals whose profiles you can easily find on Instagram, there’s a photography service I discovered lately that will set you up with a photographer in a foreign city - Sweet Escape. This sounds incredible and I definitely gonna collaborate with them during one of my next trips! I heard nothing but the best feedbacks about it, and if you already tried this service - please, share your experience in comments!

Click an image to view at full size

Photos by @usernamecatherine

Since I mentioned the photographers you can meet through Instagram, I want to share with you a list of my very favorite artists from all over the world. If you're interested, please, leave a comment down below or DM me on Instagram and I'll make a blog post about it!