Anyone who travels alone, will be familiar with the problem: you take a lot of photos, but you’re never in them. Of course you can ask people for help, and let them take a photo of you. But you don’t want to do this every time (Plus: some people just don’t know how to handle a camera so you end up with a shitty photo). There’s a solution: the travel selfie. Although I am not a huge fan of selfies, I make an exception if it’s a travel selfie.
Because YES you want a pic of yourself on that volcano in Nicaragua, on the ferry to one of the Thai islands, or snowboarding off a snowy mountain top. And NO you don’t want to ask strangers for help all the time. So selfies are inevitable, and they can be truly awesome if you follow some ground rules.
So here are my top travel selfie tips
1) Choose the right perspective.
Of course there is the shameless travel selfie: a face taking up most of the photo.
Hi 🙂 Here’s my face (and a street in the background), Nepal
But sometimes it’s cooler to take a different perspective. For example from a higher perspective:
On the scooter, Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua
Or a lower perspective
Palma Cathedral, Mallorca
2) You don’t have to look in the camera all the time
One of the most common selfie mistakes people make? They look straight in the camera. Every. Single. Time. Please don’t do this. Try to play around a bit by looking away from the camera, or take a selfie from the back while you are looking at a spectacular view. These make an interesting travel selfie.
Telica Volcano at sunset, Nicaragua
This rule is even more important when you post your selfies on Instagram. An Instagram feed is way more interesting to look at when there are different kind of selfies in it.
3) Action travel selfie: do something cool and interesting
A travel selfie is 100x better when you are doing something awesome. Snowboarding off a mountain, snorkeling with lots of colorful fishies, hiking a beautiful trail, driving a scooter on a tropical island… Action selfies are the best travel selfies in my opinion.
Cycling along the shore of Crete, Greece
4) Use a GoPro (if you have one)
The ultimate travel selfie machine: the GoPro. I have a GoPro Hero 4 Silver and I absolutely love it. The fish eye lens makes sure you don’t only capture yourself, but also a lot of the surroundings. And with travelling, the surroundings are what it’s all about.
Snowboarding, Les Deux Alpes, France
No GoPro? See if you can get one of those fish eye lenses for your smartphone. They are fairly cheap, but I honestly have no idea if they work. If they do work, it’ll give you the same effect as the GoPro.
Tip: use burst mode. The camera keeps taking photos with an interval of for example 1 second, so you have a lot of photos to choose from. It also gives you the opportunity to move around your camera a bit, so you can try different angles. Chances are that your perfect travel selfie is in that burst collection somewhere.
5) Use a (makeshift) tripod
If you have a small tripod, take it with you. If you don’t have one, make your own DIY tripod. This can be a bench, fence, rock, table or anything you can find. Just make sure it’s stable, put your camera or phone on top, put it in timer mode and there you go. People’s opinions differ a bit if you can still call it a selfie, but I’d say: yes.
Early morning run, Mallorca (I put my phone against a rock and used the timer to take this photo)
6) A selfie stick is acceptable (but use it wisely)
Ah yes, the quite infamous selfie stick. There has been a lot of controversy around it, with some landmarks banning it completely, but I think sometimes a selfie stick can make a travel selfie better. The only thing is: you have to use it correctly.
On the back of a scooter Koh Phangan, Thailand & Snowboarding Mayrhofen, Austria. These kind of photos are impossible to do without a selfie stick.
Most selfie sticks can be adjusted in length, so don’t make it too long. Just make it as long as you need it to be.
GoPro has the 3-way selfie stick, which you can bend in such a way you don’t get the actual stick in the picture. Definitely a plus.
7) Sometimes, just ask for help
In this case it’s not a selfie anymore, but you can always ask someone to take a photo of you. Just pose and smile (or do something funny like jump), say ‘thanks!’, and check your photo.
Best case scenario: a friggin’ great photo of you in pretty place. Worst case scenario: total shit photo, but then you can always proceed with the above mentioned tips and take some travel selfies anyway.