Ah, the dilemma of a solo traveler. I call it the shutterbug blues.
Have you ever stopped in front of an offbeat tourist attraction or a gorgeous mountain lake landscape that would make a great photo and pulled out your camera to capture this moment forever? The only thing that would make this photo better is if you were in the picture too.
If you’re traveling with someone, you can pass the camera over and ask the companion to take a photo.
When you’re traveling solo, you have to think out of the box.
(Disclosure: there are affiliate links in this article. If you click, you’ll be taken to Amazon, and if you make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission for the referral.)
Check out these 7 clicks to put yourself in the picture:
Ask a Stranger
Look around to see if someone else is hanging onto a camera. The bigger and badder the better. This person is probably a serious photographer who can take a decent picture of you. In a pinch anyone might work, but I’ve gotten pictures back with my head chopped off.
Be cautious who you choose to hand your camera off to. Who remembers this scene from National Lampoon’s European Vacation?
Ask a stranger who’s older and doesn’t like they can beat you in a foot race! It helps if you’re in a place where there’s nowhere to run with your camera. The photo below was taken at the lookout at the Trees of Mystery in Klamath, California. The only way to get to this mountaintop lookout is to buy a ticket on the gondola. There’s only one way up. And down!
Get friendly with the timer feature on your camera. This option gives anywhere from 2 to 10 seconds before the shutter clicks, so you might have to hustle.
I bought a tripod for my Fujifilm point and shoot camera with the octopus adjustable legs. It’s great because it stabilizes on just about any surface. It caught my attention because it can be wrapped around a branch or railing. Nice feature, but I haven’t put those tricks into action! This type of tripod only takes a lightweight camera.
If you have a larger digital camera, the octopus legs won’t work. The legs are about 12 inches high and aren’t sturdy enough for heavier cameras.
This Amazon Basics tripod is a great price and has a lot of very good reviews. It claims to hold up to a 6 pound camera, but it’s always best to do your research and avoid disaster. Practice on a carpeted area where the camera will have a softer landing if disaster strikes.
If you don’t have a tripod, look for a bench, a table, a rock, anywhere that a camera can be set down. Use the viewfinder to make sure you have the picture you want. Once you’re happy, hit the timer and move!
If you’re using a phone, you might have to prop it up against something. You can also use a cell phone tripod.
Learn from Clark Griswold when setting up your camera or Smartphone’s timer feature before running to get in the picture. Check the area for fast moving thieves before you leave your expensive electronic item unattended a few feet away.
We all have them and they can come along on our journey: stuffed animal/pet photo/family photo. Set them up in front of a tourist attraction or scenic shot and take a picture.
My props have a head, a tail, four legs, and they bark!
They also love a day at the beach.
We’ve all seen them posted all over the Internet, usually courtesy of the mirror in a bathroom. However you won’t find these handy mirrors set up at tourist sites.
You don’t want to limit yourself and take all your vacation photos using the mirror in the hotel’s bathroom. Oh yeah. Nice toilet, hate the shower! Come on no one wants to see a bathroom selfie after you just got done doing your business! Car mirrors can be helpful here using either the exterior’s side view mirror or the driver’s rear view mirror.
Reflection shots work well with mirrored windows that show the scenery in the background. Look around for anything that might offer a reflection: hubcaps, the car’s rear view or side view mirrors, or a window.
This might take some practice. The Lifestyle Digs isn’t all about being perfect. I’m all about showing how it happens in real life! In the above photos I was standing on the balcony of Holland America’s Zuiderdam cruising in Glacier Bay. I was using the sliding glass door to catch my reflection with a glacier in the background.
Yeah, the camera’s pretty much always going to be in the picture with you in these type of shots!
Put part of your body into the picture. Fingers and feet work well here.
I usually find when a body part gets into the picture, it wasn’t because I necessarily wanted it there!
Holding the camera as far away as possible and snapping a photo. Usually known as the selfie. Some people use selfie sticks to help them get that perfect shot.
I found a selfie stick on Amazon that comes with a tripod.
My camera equipment?
Many times the fastest option for me to take a photo is with my iPhone. I don’t have a newer model. It’s an iPhone 5s that I got three and a half years ago at no charge from my carrier, Fido. I just had to stay with them for two years and didn’t need to change my plan. It really sucks that Fido doesn’t have a similar program going on for a free upgrade. Every few months I call in to ask, but these days I can only get a free phone if I upgrade my monthly plan. No thanks. My phone works just fine and so does its camera. It takes some really good photos, and often I can get a better angle than with my Canon camera.
The digital camera I was using in the cruise photos is a Fuji point and shoot. It has a lot of features on it. LIke holy moly menu I’ll never figure out. It’s a nice lightweight camera, easy to shove in a pocket if going for a walk.
My go to camera is a Canon Rebel t6s. I don’t see my exact model on Amazon (I bought mine at a camera shop), but here’s a Canon Rebel t6 package that is an excellent deal, it comes with 3 lenses, two tripods, memory cards, camera bag, Check out this deal if you’re in the market for a new camera. Where was this package when I was ready to buy?
Before buying any camera, go to Youtube and watch reviews and instructions to make sure this is the right choice for you.
I’ve had a Canon camera since the eighties. When I bought my Canon digital camera, it just felt so right in my hands. Also the lenses from the old camera work on the digital camera. Nice of Canon to make sure the old fits the new!
Do you have any camera tips for solo travelers? Please leave a comment!