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Last Updated on July 24, 2023 by Madison Krigbaum
As an avid solo female traveler and content creator, solo travel photography is skill I was forced to master. I learned very quickly that my Instagram and travel blog couldn’t rely on the 3-5 rushed shots taken by strangers eager to get back to their spouse. Instead of giving up solo travel, I bought the gear and learned the skills I needed to adapt!
Keep reading to learn how to take pictures while traveling alone. For my full downloadable guide with solo travel photography tips, click here!
Why I Love Solo Travel
Since as long as I can remember, I had dreams of seeing the world. Although we traveled a bit when I was a kid, it was mostly domestic destinations and usually involved 10+ hours of road trip traveling. At the age of 18, I had only been out of the country twice (Mexico and the Dominican Republic). I got my first real taste of travel when I packed up and boarded a plane to Rome for my semester abroad.
Since that fateful spring back in 2017, travel has been the single most important thing in my life. I learned pretty quickly that if I was going to make all the trips I dreamed of a reality, I would need to stop relying on friends and family to travel with me. It was this realization that led me to embrace solo travel.
Although traveling with friends and family can be a wonderful experience, there’s a level of freedom you get through solo travel that you won’t get anywhere else. When you travel alone, you’re free to stay anywhere you want to stay, see anything you want to see and eat anything you want to see.
In recent years, I’ve done solo trips to…
- Budapest, Hungary
- Krakow, Poland
- Utila, Honduras
- Munich, Germany
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
- Lake Como, Italy
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
- Hoi An, Vietnam
Before each trip, I make a trip bucket list and note all the viewpoints, restaurants, activities and attractions I want to see in each city. When I travel with friends, I might get to see half those places if I’m lucky. When I travel alone, I see all of them. Although it’s true that you need to be hyper-vigilant when traveling solo, the freedom and independence is unparalleled by any other form of travel.
Solo Travel Photography Tips
The question I get most often about solo traveling (other than safety concerns), is how I capture amazing travel content with no one behind the lens. With the right gear and a little bit of practice, anyone can learn the nuances of solo travel photography.
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If you’re learning solo travel photography in order to collaborate with brands over social media or monetize your travel blog, you’re going to need a media kit! For helpful courses and programs related to content creation, editing, blogging, social media growth and more, click here.
The Best Camera Gear for Solo Travel Photography
Many creators wrongfully assume that you need tens of thousands of dollars worth of photography gear to be a successful content creator or photographer. Thankfully, this is far from the truth. Nowadays, you can create quality content with only your phone camera and a $20 Amazon tripod! Below is my favorite equipment for solo travel photography beginners that won’t break the bank but definitely beats a selfie stick.
FujiFilm X-T30: This is the perfect camera for beginners to solo photography! It’s very affordable and, with the Fujifilm App remote shutter, you’ll have a live-view of what your camera sees on your iPhone screen.
Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod: This is the best tripod to take pictures of yourself on a budget. It’s extremely lightweight, affordable and versatile. Simply put your camera on burst mode, set the timer and watch the beautiful travel photos emerge!
GoPro HERO9 Black: GoPros are perfect for taking awesome action shots while traveling and are widely regarded as the best camera for adventure photography. Paired with the right grip, a GoPro is a must-have for solo travelers.
GoPro 3-Way Grip: This grip can be used as an extension arm, tripod or camera grip for getting those perfect action shots of yourself doing cool shit in beautiful destinations!
iPhone Tripod: If you’re not ready to splurge on a professional camera, consider purchasing an iPhone tripod. For only $20, this option from Amazon comes with a bluetooth remote perfect for solo photographers. For iPhone content creators, it’s the best tripod for solo travel.
Planning Content & Gathering Inspiration
Planning out your content and gathering inspiration before a shoot makes a huge difference in the quality of your content and saves you time and energy in the long run. I love searching for solo photography ideas on Instagram and then saving them to folders by destination.
Pinterest is another great place to gather inspiration for solo travel photos! You can organize your pins by board as well as search for photo guides to specific destinations.
When it comes to planning out your content, I prefer to plan out my solo pictures in a Google Sheet. This sheet is especially helpful if you plan to collaborate with brands and need to keep track of specific products/outfits you’ll be incorporating in your photoshoots. Click here to gain exclusive access to my travel photo content planner!
When it comes to travel photography, outfit planning can make all the difference! Have you ever seen influencers booking “flying dress” photo shoots in Santorini? Now imagine the exact same photo shoot in jeans and a black T-shirt. Not exactly the same effect, is it?
When planning out your outfit, keep in mind the lighting and colors in your backdrop. For example: if you’re preparing for a desert photoshoot, a rusty orange dress would not be ideal. Instead, choose something blue or white that would pop against the background.
These are some examples of good outfit planning. Do you notice how, in both of these shots, the subject (me) pops out of the frame? My outfit choice in both shots is bright, colorful and drastically different from the background.
These are some examples of bad outfit planning. Notice how, in both shots, my outfit blends into the background. They are still beautiful travel images (I’m biased obviously), but a yellow swimsuit or a bright red maxi dress would have drastically improved these shots. You can plan your photoshoot outfits in my easy content planner!
Removing Random People from Shots
When taking photos solo, some randos in the background of your shots is inevitable. Thankfully, there are very easy ways to remove these distracting aspects from the frame.
I prefer to use Adobe Photoshop to remove unwanted people and objects from my photos (somehow, this always ends up being a hair tie around my wrist). If you’re looking for something a little more user friendly, try the TouchRetouch app for smart phones. Although it’s much easier to use, you won’t get receive as many useful features as you will with Photoshop.
Download the full guide to solo travel photography for a quick video tutorial on removing people using Photoshop!
I hope you enjoyed my easy guide to solo travel photography! If you’re hungry for more, make sure to download the full guide by entering your email address below. In the full version, you’ll receive access to my easy content planner, a video tutorial to removing people and objects with Photoshop, solo photography poses, drone tips, advice on working with the light and more!
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