Are you an entrepreneur? Do you like to travel? Do you run a business online? Let’s be honest: Do you love your Instagram feed? The 5 tips below will teach you how to take photos of yourself without a photographer — whether you’re getting photos of yourself at home for your online presence/Instagram or for traveling the world solo like the independent powerhouse you are!
Let me start off by saying “pics or it didn’t happen” is not a thing. You can have social-clout-raising moments or beautiful, personal memories even if you don’t take a photo of it. Remember the end of Walter Mitty when the wildlife photographer doesn’t take the photo of the mountain lion after camping in the snow because it was just so beautiful?! I cry.
However, what is just as true: we still want those photos most of the time. I definitely do! I can be very nostalgic and want to document every lovely, fleeting experience. Out of necessity, I’ve learned a lot on countless international trips about how to get photos with me in them even when I’m traveling solo!
Think it’s Narcissistic to Want Photos of Yourself? Think Again.
For the entrepreneur: You literally need photos of yourself for your business. Personal brands are proven to be far more effective than brands solely featuring a product or service.
For the traveler: Traveling the world is such a fulfilling experience. Whether it’s a stunning view or a moment that grew me on my journey, there is so much I want to capture. And those journeys? They’re so personal; and as a photographer, I want to actually be in some of the documented photos to tell the stories honestly! (And let’s just keep it real, who doesn’t want cool travel photos!)
I’m sharing all my tips with you on how to get photos without a photographer to help — photos with you in them!
Tip No. 01 | Use an app for your camera or get a cheap wireless remote from Amazon
The Canon App is a game changer for me. I can see what I look like on camera and trigger the camera’s shutter — all on my phone’s screen. I can also adjust settings and timer features. You do need a Canon camera that has WifFi capabilities though. (That’s how the two devices connect.)
If that’s not an option for you, I recommend an inexpensive remote to trigger your camera. (There are plenty for $7 on Amazon.)
Lastly, while it’s the most time consuming because you have to walk back and forth to your camera between shots, you can just set a timer in your camera’s settings. The hard part will be ensuring that you’re in focus when you run back into frame. However, it’s still definitely an option. I’ve done it!
Tip No. 02 | Don’t have a tripod? Get creative and prop your camera up on something!
This may require some finessing and trial and error, but to quote Micheal Scott quoting that other guy: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
I’m not liable for whatever happens to your camera. All I can do is keep it real and tell you what I do! I’ve put my camera in some messed up places. (Watch the vlog above to see it fall out of a tree!) Other photographers would take my camera away for the risks I take. But I got the shots and my camera still works, and I will keep living this way until that’s no longer true. Side note: I rent lenses a lot, and I would NOT put my camera in a tree with a lens, or anything else, I don’t own!
Buuut… You can use a tripod if trees scare you.
This is the one I travel with. It fits in my carry-on without taking up too much room at all!
Tip No. 03 | Give yourself some time.
It will take some trial and error to get your shot. Be willing to move on to another spot if where you’re at isn’t working. I had the option to stay at the White Cliffs of Dover for 30 minutes (to then leave for a castle tour) or to stay there for 2 hours. I stayed for 2 hours to enjoy the brilliant view, but also because I knew there would be no way I could get multiple, really good captures in 30 minutes. Shooting yourself is a lot more time consuming than if someone looks and you and snaps. This it totally fine if you account for it.
Tip No. 04 | Make sure you have extra batteries!
Using the app will drain your battery on your camera and on your phone. If I’m going out for the day in town or while traveling, I bring multiple camera batteries and an external charging pack for my phone. I’d say you’re good for like 1-2 hours without extra battery life, but don’t risk it! (Save the risking for putting your camera in trees!)
Tip No. 05 | If there are strangers around you, ask them to take your photo!
This is totally a feasible option if you’re at your favorite coffee shop, getting content around town, or at beautiful travel sites! This should not be harder than all the other steps! No one will ever say “no” to your request. The worst possible thing that could happen is the photos are unusable.
To make it as easy as possible, I’ll share the exact kind of person — people, rather — I look for when I require a stranger to take my photo: A pack of cute, early 20’s girls who are snapping photos of each other. I start by kind of hovering around. Then when they all got their photos, I walk up like I’m their 5th long lost best friend. In Dover yesterday, this cute girl who barely spoke English did a whole mini-shoot of me. Now, she didn’t actually press the shutter down all the way. So, I have nothing to show for it. However, it was so thoughtful and a great reminder to just ask. Doing this is also a great way to meet new people while abroad! P.S. — Keep in mind tip no. 03. Give yourself time. You may need to wait around your photo spot for others to approach. (Or the first person might have messed up your photos and you can wait to ask a new set of unsuspecting, kind strangers!)