The Tricks of a Solo Photographer: taking a great selfie.
Editor’s note: Since first publishing this post in 2011, a lot has changed in our cameras, our phones and our language. The term selfie was not heard of then. Now, in 2013, it has been declared the “word of the year” by the Oxford Dictionaries. While technology may have made taking a selfie easier the 8 steps listed below are still relevant.
Capturing the moment in photographs is as important to solo travelers as it is to anyone.
And while it’s fine that we’re not in most of the shots, it would be nice to have the occasional photo as evidence that we were actually there.
Everyone likes photos of themselves – including solo travelers.
The Hazards of Self-portrait Photography
But there are hazards to taking your own photo. With most cameras, you won’t be able to look through the viewfinder and take your photo at the same time. There’s a lot of guess-work involved – and a lot of room for errors such as:
- A chopped off head.
- The “Kilroy Was Here” effect (peaking up at the bottom).
- The horrors of a double chin you didn’t know you have (and needn’t show).
- Massive dark circles under your eyes caused by light from above.
- Disappearing altogether because of a back light (a particular problem of mine with white hair).
The list goes on.
How to take your own photo OR How to take a selfie.
Fortunately, with a bit of practice, you can avoid these problems and take great self-portraits. To master the one handed, no viewfinder shot:
- Shoot yourself using the widest angle your camera offers. Zooming in leaves too little room for error.
- Extend your arm fully. Again, this gives you more room to get it right plus it will show where you are – the background will show.
- Hold your extended arm at the same angle whenever possible. Through hit and miss, you can discover the best angle to show your best side.
- Be aware of how you hold your head and be consistent with it as well (to avoid the double chin challenge.)
- Make sure that there are no smoke stacks or flower pots positioned behind your head (so that they don’t appear to be springing out of your head in the photo).
- Be aware of the location of the sun to avoid ghastly shadows under the eyes or the silhouette effect.
- Don’t be shy to send a big smile into the camera. So what if people around are looking at you oddly. You’re happy and your photos should reflect that.
- Delete all horrible pictures of you. I have no really bad ones to show because I’ve already deleted them.
Another option for the solo photographer
Only recently did I buy an iPhone and one of the big surprises was the ability to see myself as I take my own photograph. However, I think I will stick with my method with my camera for a number of reasons. It offers a wider angle making it easier to get more in the picture, the photo is larger and the quality is better and there’s no temptation to look at the screen rather than the lens. However, in a pinch the phone is a great solution.
There are tons more suggestions in the comments below. Check them out and leave your own.
Best Camera Bag I’ve Seen
I saw this camera bag on another travel blogger and love it!!! Check out the Lowepro Passport Sling Camera Bag. Fabulous for men and women – it looks just like an ordinary city purse but functions like a day pack and travel bag. Yes. Love it