Whoever said you need an Instagram boyfriend (or girlfriend) to achieve your #feedgoals was totally mistaken. Take solo travellers, for example. When checking out amazing pictures from their trips, one big question always comes to mind: Who’s taking their photos? On your next solo trip, make it your goal to do to the same and leave your followers wondering how you achieved the perfect travel grid. Keep scrolling for tips on how to take great travel photos without an Instagram boyfriend!
1. Keep an eye out for someone who could potentially take your photo
When travelling with my family, we’re always on the lookout for someone to take a photo of us all together. Our tip: Look for a person who’s just as determined to get a good travel shot! Keep your eyes peeled for that person who patiently takes his or her travel buddy’s photos, or makes the effort to contort his or her body to get the perfect angle (we love an extra Instagram boyfriend or girlfriend)! You can also look for a fellow traveller who’s clearly in the search for someone to take a good photo of him or her. Now that’s a win-win situation!
2. Your camera’s burst feature is your best friend
Don’t you hate it when someone takes just one photo of you? We want options! To avoid asking for more shots until you get the perfect one, ask your chosen photographer to keep taking photos in one go! Your camera’s burst function comes in handy during times like these, especially if you’re taking a fun action shot.
3. Familiarise yourself with your most flattering angles
Since you’re asking a stranger to take your photo, you might not feel comfortable enough to ask him or her to avoid capturing your double chin, flabby arms, or other insecurities. This being said, you are your own creative director. Familiarise yourself with your best and most flattering angles. This way, the next time you travel solo, you’ll be prepared with your picture-perfect poses!
4. When in doubt, turn around
If you’re not so confident that your chosen photographer has the skills to make you look as good as you do in real life, here’s a hack I turn to when I’ve run out ideas! After all, aren’t we all talikogenic?
5. Find the perfect lighting and avoid those dreaded against-the-light shots
One pet peeve when asking a stranger to take your photo: Most of the time, they don’t care if your chosen layout is against the light. They just want to do the bare minimum: press the button and get on with their day. Find out where your light source is coming from, and let it illuminate you! Then you can direct your photographer of the moment with regard to where he or she should be positioned.
6. Have a vision of what the outcome should look like
Always remember this: Your photographer isn’t a mind reader. Give him or her an idea of what you want your photo to look like. Search for inspiration and come prepared with a few pegs saved on your phone. You can also take a test shot of the backdrop and angle you want, so you can give them a general idea of your desired outcome. It will also help to demonstrate how exactly to position themselves and your camera!
7. You may want to get yourself a tripod
This one’s for my fellow introverts! Sometimes, all you have is yourself — and your camera’s self-timer. When you’re feeling too shy, or can’t find a friendly face to take your photo, a tripod can really come in handy. Fortunately, they’re pretty easy to find online, and you can find ones for both smartphones and digital cameras.
8. It might be time to whip out your selfie stick
If you’re not conscious about looking silly or seeming like a typical tourist, then you can opt to use your trusty selfie stick! While it can be a little cringe-worthy, you really can get great results. I’ve personally seen a lot of really good travel photos and later discovered that they were actually taken with a selfie stick. (Just remember to crop it out of your photos!)
9. If you think it’s worth it, invest in a drone
Drones do cost a lot, but they are a great investment, especially for avid travellers who are always hopping from one place to another. And if you can afford one, then why not? They’re especially handy for top-view shots and wide-angle photos. If you do decide to take a drone with you, just make sure it isn’t banned at your destination!
10. Hit the picture-perfect tourist spots as early as you can
When visiting a popular tourist spot, everyone pretty much wants to leave with the same photo. Because of this, you’re more than likely to run into one or all of these problems: 1) There are way too many people in the background of your photo; 2) You have to fall in line to get the shot you want; 3) You have lots of people watching (and pressuring) you while you’re getting your photo taken; 4) You end up hurrying and settling with poorly taken shots. To avoid all of this, arrive as early as you can! And maybe come prepared with your tripod or selfie stick in case you’re really early, and you’re the only person there.
11. When you have no other options, take a regular selfie
I’m sure that most of us try to avoid having to do this, but desperate times call for desperate measures! If you worry about people judging you or making fun of you for being a basic tourist, just keep a few things in mind. 1) They aren’t as brave as you are (and they probably wish they were). 2) If you’re visiting a popular spot, you are most likely surrounded by fellow tourists. 3) Chances are you’re never going to see them again — so what does it matter what they think? 4) You are a tourist. So embrace it.
12. When all else fails, you can always turn to your favourite filters!
We just have to accept that even with a talented photographer and a great camera, some things are really out of our control. But not when it comes to post-processing! Despite problems like dreary lighting on a rainy day, getting that perfect Instagram photo is still, and always, possible! For this, my top favourite apps are Snapseed and RNI Films. Other popular apps include Afterlight, VSCO, CameraBag, and FaceTune!
Also read: 7 Tips to Improve Your Instagram Travel Grid
Who needs an Instagram boyfriend, am I right? I can’t wait to see your photos!