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How to Take Great Travel Selfies (Self-Portrait Tips)

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Selfies are a great way to capture memories of your travels. But if you want to take great travel selfies, you need to know how to pose and how to use your surroundings to your advantage. Check out these tips for taking amazing travel selfies!

Selfie Expertise
Next Stop: Travel Photography
Next Stop: Travel Photography
Ready to up your travel selfie game? Get inspired and take your photography to the next level with an eBook and Cheat Sheets that will teach you practical tips, camera settings, and post-processing techniques for breathtaking travel photos.

Travel Selfie Ideas

The first step to any successful photo shoot is planning. Taking photographs of yourself is no different. Approach it the same way as all the other shots on your list.
Start with putting together your shot list for a location. Think about the type of selfie photos that you can capture.
Is it a photograph of you relaxing in a park? Is it walking up a hill? Is it trying a glass of wine?
Whatever the scenario, this will help you execute it when there. You will also know how and when to take the photo and also the equipment that you may need.

jumpshot of a man in jeans and sunglasses, on a dust road overlooking rocky cliffs on a bright sunny afternoon
© Kav Dadfar

Get Someone Else to Do It

Even if you are traveling solo, this shouldn’t stop you from getting someone to take your photo.
The thing to be aware of is that the person photographing you might not be a photographer. So they may need directing in how or where to capture your photo.
This also usually means that they will try to take your standard holiday type picture. So if you want something different you’ll need to make sure you set it up and tell them what to do.
It goes without saying that you should be vigilant who you give your camera to. Look for other tourists or even other photographers.
Someone who has a similar DSLR camera to you is less likely to try and steal yours.

outdoors, in front of a patch of red flowers, a man sits next to a statue, imitating it's thinking posture
© Kav Dadfar

Be Natural

The key to a good travel selfie is to be natural. Whether you are getting someone else to photograph you, or you are going to take a picture of yourself.
Think of the type of travel photography you see in magazines and newspapers. It doesn’t look staged or posed. People look caught in the moment.
Even head and shoulder portraits look natural.
This is why photographers aim to make their models relaxed and not look like they are posing for the camera.

a traveling couple sitting on the decorated steps in the shade of a building, looking across the square at historic architecture
© Kav Dadfar

Why You Should Use a Tripod

It might be easy to get someone else to take a photo of you. But a stranger they will be trying to take that photo as quickly as possible and move on.
It’s worth taking a tripod with you to set up for selfies.
The great thing about a tripod is that it allows you to set up the shot and get into position in time for the photo.
Setting up is easy. Set your camera up on the tripod and look at framing your shot around where you will be standing. There are a few ways that you can set up the shot.
You can either set the timer on your camera to a few seconds (or more if your camera allows). Or if you need more time to get into position and have a remote shutter release you can set a longer time.
There are also plenty of apps and gadgets that can link your phone to your DSLR. They will usually allow you to control your camera from your phone to enable you to take a photo when in position.
Once you have taken the photo, check out the result on your camera. Make any adjustments necessary for composition or technical elements.
Keep repeating this until you get the desired result. But always be careful where you set your tripod so that you don’t cause an injury to others. Also be aware of who’s around you and your tripod.

DSLR set up on a tripod at the top of brown rocks overlooking a rocky shore to a deep blue sea
© Kav Dadfar

How to Take Spontaneous Photos

One of the best tips for great travel photography is to capture fleeting moments. These are the situations where something happens that can be missed if not captured as a photograph.
It’s more difficult or even impossible to do this when you are traveling by yourself. But if you have a travel companion, hand the camera over to them and get them to capture photos of you for the day.
They need to be like a paparazzi photographer hoping to catch you in the act. So rather than standing for cheesy holiday snap in front of a famous monument, go about exploring it and see what photos come about.
You never know, you might be surprised with the results.

man in a red shirt asleep in a hammock hanging outdoors, a rocky wall behind him
© Kav Dadfar

Compose With You as the Point of Interest

One of the best photography ideas for great selfies is to put yourself as the point of interest in a scene. Often this works best in a landscape photograph where you may have a vast vista before you.
Usually, a point of interest in these scenarios adds a sense of scale and also helps tell a story.
They are easy to set up and execute as often there won’t be as many people at these locations as in cities. Try to compose your shot around a natural action that you would do.
For example, if there is an amazing view of the coastline, you would naturally walk up to the edge and admire the view. Reenact that scenario once you have set up your camera.
You will need a tripod and to be able to set your camera on a timer. Be aware that you may need more time to get into position as you will be farther away from your camera.

View from behind of a man standing at the top of an outcropping of rock overlooking a rocky shore and bright blue sea and sky
© Kav Dadfar

How to Find the Best Lighting

Light is one of the most important elements in any photo. Even the most beautiful scene will look dull and uninteresting under a blanket of white cloud.
Knowing how and when to utilise the best light, will go a long way toward improving your selfies.
Are you after a great head and shoulder portrait of yourself? Wait for a cloudy day or do it in the shade.
Do you want to capture yourself in situ looking at an amazing view? Look to photograph yourself during the golden hour on a beautiful sunny day.
Want to avoid your background being too bright? Avoid the sun being behind you.
All these lighting conditions will produce different results. So if you want to take great travel photos of yourself you will need to learn to be aware of the light and use it to your advantage.

Man sitting at the top of an orange brown rocky mountain, looking at the bright blue sea and sky
© Kav Dadfar

Why You Shouldn’t Rush Your Travel Self-Portraits

Patience is a key skill that any travel photographer needs. It’s rare to turn up somewhere without a plan and have the perfect conditions for photography.
You will usually find that you have to wait until everything comes together from the composition, to the light and even the subject.
Taking photos of yourself will also need patience. Give yourself plenty of time so that you are not rushing things.
For example, if you are setting the photo up using a tripod, it might take you several attempts to get your positioning right when you walk into the frame. Or you might find that the place you are photographing is busy and so you need to wait until the crowds have moved on.
The only thing that will happen if you are rushing is that you will settle for a mediocre photo rather than wait for a great one.

Man looking into the trunk of his blue car, stopped at the side of a pale brown road leading to the mountains in the distance
© Kav Dadfar

Look Beyond the Obvious Poses

For most people, photographs of themselves are for personal use only. Even so, there is nothing wrong with looking beyond the obvious. Sometimes it means having fun with it and capturing something you wouldn’t do normally.
Most photographers get into this hobby or profession out of love. So never forget that even when taking selfies.
Or it could be that you focus on a small part of the experience. Showing your legs dangling off the side of a boat. Your backpack left by a tree. Or even what a local vendor is showing you in your hand.
All these small moments will add to your collection of images and help to break up the repetition of head and shoulder portraits.

A woman taking a selfie in front of a blue lake, sky and mountains, the wind blowing her short blonde hair in her face
© Kav Dadfar

Editing Travel Photos of Yourself

If you took a landscape photo, the chances are that you would spend some time in post-production improving any elements that need doing so.
A photograph of yourself should go through the same process as any other image. You should look to correct the white balance, tweak the contrast and even boost saturation and vibrancy. Then straighten the image and get rid of any dust particles.
Don’t make the mistake of taking photos of yourself and neglecting post-production. All you are doing is letting down your photo.
But remember that any post-production should be subtle. Too much, and it will look fake and the image will not work.

Man taking a photo of two actors is masks and costumes, performing in front of an old, historical structure
© Kav Dadfar


There’s nothing wrong with wanting to document your adventures or travels with you in the shots. But that also doesn’t mean that you should settle for cheesy holiday snaps.
Think about it. Would you prefer to see a photo of yourself enjoying and experiencing that destination or a posed tourist type photo?
Like any travel photography, you should aim to capture photos that tell a story. The only difference being that you are the story.

Selfie Expertise
Next Stop: Travel Photography
Next Stop: Travel Photography
Ready to up your travel selfie game? Get inspired and take your photography to the next level with an eBook and Cheat Sheets that will teach you practical tips, camera settings, and post-processing techniques for breathtaking travel photos.

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