How to Take Photos When Traveling Solo

In this social media controlled world we live in, everyone wants to take, post, share, and get love on what they feel is the most amazing photo they (or someone else) has ever took.  We even coined a term for it: do it for the 'gram!  But when you are traveling solo, you might be missing your ride-or-die photographer.  You know the one that captures your angles just right, and appreciates the way the light hits your cheekbones and snaps away.  The kind of photo that has the potential to go viral, or at the very least leave your followers commenting with the ego-boosting, "Yaaassss" and one of my favorites "Werk!".  I know we've all been there, done that.  You have booked an amazing solo trip to Bali, Tulum, or Jamaica, and you are left wondering how you are going to capture your essence in these stunning places, with you actually in the photos.  I have a lot of personal experience in this department and here are some ways that I capture said essence when traveling solo.


Yep, this is my secret weapon for taking photos I want to be in when traveling solo.  I feel like I don't hear many people talk about using tripods when traveling solo, but it is my go-to method for capturing fabulous photos with me in them. You have probably seen one of my travel photos my Instagram page and had no idea that no one actually took the picture. Tripods can be relatively inexpensive, however, don't go too cheap because you want one that will actually steadily hold your camera without the risk of it falling over and breaking. No one has time to replace lenses and such.  Head over to Amazon, and find one within your budget that can easily hold the weight of your camera and lenses.  

My absolute favorite tripod for travel is the Joby because it's compact, which is perfect for carrying in your luggage or carrying while you are out and about exploring, without weighing you down. The legs are bendable and flexible and the neck of the tripod allows it to swivel into your desired position, then lock the camera into place by turning the ballhead.   While it doesn't give you the length once placed on the ground that a normal sized tripod would give, the bendable legs make it easy to attach onto poles or rails, more suited for the height you desire.

Tip:  use the self-timer on your camera to allow you to get into place or, even better, use a wireless remote to shoot when you please.

Ask A Stranger

Do not be shy! I repeat do not be shy!

You have come this far and been this bold to travel all this way solo dolo, now is not the time to be shy.  Ask a stranger that crosses your path to take your photo!  I have never had someone tell me no.  If anything, they will ask me to do the same in return.  But don't worry if they say no, just move onto the next.  A place like the Eiffel Tower is going to have a million tourists trying to get the perfect photo themselves.  But just don't pick out any stranger.  Put that intuition to use.  Find a fellow tourist, someone with a camera around their neck, a family, or someone a little bit older.  Someone you can outrun - just in case.  

Tip: Show the stranger exactly how you want the photo to look.  Give them your vision.  Here's how you can do this. 1) Take a photo of them so they can see vision, and because you are an awesome photographer, now they have a dope pic for their collection. 2) Show them behind the camera, pointing out details of what you want in the shot, and where you will be standing.   Kindly remind them to take more than one measly shot and that you will be trying out different angles.  #petpeeve: asking someone to take your photo and they take one picture.  Who ever gets the perfect photo on one shot anyways? Besides, a girl needs options.  

Use A Selfie Stick

Ahhh, the infamous selfie stick.  I don't know why the selfie stick has such a bad reputation, but it is perfect for the solo traveler, and any other traveler for that matter. It simply allows you to capture more background footage that just stretching your arm when taking the photo won't capture.  It also expands your photo angle options, and helps keep a steady hand, which is also clutch when taking video.     

Tip:  get a bluetooth compatible selfie stick that will connect to your phone allowing you to press the capture button on the stick instead of setting the timer on your phone (it can even flip the screen by pressing a button on the stick).

Hire a professional

If any of the above doesn't sound like your cup of tea, then hire a photographer who can help bring your vision to life.  Use your resources like Instagram to search for and see the work of a potential photographer.

One notable company I have been following for a while (but I haven't signed up for their services yet) is Flytographer. They are a company that connects you with photographers in the city you are visiting and schedule a photoshoot. Their collection of photographers waiting to capture your travel is pretty extensive and covers countries all over the world.

If you know any black owned photography companies with this same premise, drop the name in the comments below. If not, maybe we should come together and start our own!

Have you perfected a method for taking photos on your solo travels?  Share below!