If you are a solo traveler then you have probably found yourself taking self portraits. We see it a lot in places around the globe of travelers taking reverse photos. The kind where you hold your arm out as far as you can with the camera pointing back, just hoping to get a snap that proves you were somewhere and saw something... cool.
Here are some tips to keep in mind for the next time you go about taking self portraits.
One thing you can do is set up the camera and hit the timer. Try to find a ledge nearby to set your camera on. This will give you 10 or 12 seconds to get into position. Hint: find the ledge before pushing the shutter button just in case the ledge is more than 12 seconds away. Make sure you line it up correctly otherwise your head may be cut off.
If you have a few bucks to spare, consider getting a flexible tripod for digital cameras. This is a compact tool that will allow you to adjust your camera from most any surface. It is pretty cheap, light, and very useful for solo travelers who want self portraits.
If you are a professional self portrait maker or a narcissist, you can bulk up your gear bag with an extender That might work for some, but it will add yet another tool to your bag and it may not hold value in the “usefulness vs size" comparison ratio. So, if you do buy it, try to find it a double use to replace another item you would have packed anyway. Like a back scratcher.
Consider it done.
If you don't want to look silly with a camera on a back scratcher, there are a few tips we recommend for you to get a decent looking self portrait with only your arms and your camera.
Make sure you are zoomed out all the way. You want to have the widest angle of view possible so you have a lot of background in the image. You do want to see that background. That is why your taking the photo, right?
To maximize your arms reach, hold your camera with the same arm that the shutter button is on. Typically the left arm, as most cameras have the shutter button on the left side(when looking at it from the front). Extend your arm out to the max, then bend it slightly at the elbow.
If you are worried that the camera is too close to your face, don't. Remember, you are zoomed out all they way. Bending your elbow slightly will keep your arm out of the shot. That arm on the side of the frame on other travelers' photos is a dead ringer for a self portrait.
Hold the lens even with your eyes and tilt it down slightly allowing for the proper amount of headroom. Ideally you want the top of your head to be almost at the top of the frame. As well, don't tilt your head down because that will give you double chins. To the contrary, if you want to have double chins, then do tilt your head down.
So your lens is zoomed out wide, your left arm is mostly extended and now it's time to smile. This is where you could hold the camera slightly left of center as to avoid an unflattering straight on shot of your face.
Keep your body straight, move your arm to the left and turn your head slightly to look at the lens. Or, in a more thought provoking way, look straight ahead as if to masterfully say, "Yes, I am taking a picture of myself, but I want it to be candid so I am going to pretend like I don't know it's there."
Try to give yourself some “nose room” in front of your face. This serves two purposes. One, it allows you a better angle of where you are. Next, it will help crop out your arm from the frame.
Taking all of this advice and putting it to use is your best bet to getting decent self portraits. Now you are ready to snap away. Take a few photos like this and you will soon get the hang of it. Enjoy!
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