20 December 2015

Bringing yourself into your holiday photos

I’ve been on quite a few holidays on my own, and one of the problems is that you can return with very few photos of yourself in the places you’ve been. Here are some of the ways you can get around this problem.

Using a tripod, or setting your camera down somewhere, and using a self-timer, is generally only useful in quiet places. It’s great for taking photos in your hotel room, for example, but not so good in the middle of a crowded square! I took a small tripod, similar to a gorillapod, on my last trip, and I made it even smaller and lighter by removing some of the segments from the legs. But I only made use of it in and around the hotel.

Arm’s length selfies or selfie sticks
Depending on what lens you have, it may sometimes be possible to do arm’s length self-portraits with a camera, but generally it’s easiest to use a phone. I must admit I was amused at how many street sellers tried to push selfie sticks on me when I was walking around with a big SLR camera!

Use windows, mirrors or other reflective surfaces to capture your own image.

Capturing your shadow is a great way to take self-portraits on a sunny day!

Non-face self-portraits
Remember that not every self-portrait needs to include your whole body or even your face. Take photos of your feet on interesting pavements, or in the hotel slippers, and of your hands holding a wine glass or some gelato! These all help to place you within the scene.

Fellow travellers
If you’re travelling as part of a tour group, ask one of them to take the photo. Try to choose someone who you see using a camera often, as they will have some idea how to use one! In the past I’ve made a point of asking someone in the tour group to take my photo each day, but it’s easy to forget to do this when you are concentrating on absorbing all the sights. Try if you can, also, to get everyone involved in a group photo.

Sometimes, if you are travelling completely on your own, you just have to be brave and ask a local person or another tourist to take your picture. Choose someone who looks trustworthy, like an old couple (who you could outrun if they did make off with your camera!) or a family with young children. And be prepared to return the favour by taking other people’s photos!

Other people’s photos
Get the email addresses of other people in your tour group so you can keep in touch and exchange photos. Try searching Flickr by the specific date you were in a particular place or at a certain event – I have found a couple of photos of myself that way, including one by someone I know, who I didn’t even realise was at the same event! Try wearing a brightly coloured coat on holiday, so you will easily be able to spot yourself in other people’s photos!

Get into the spirit of it
Wear local clothing if the local people invite you to, or get involved with a dance.

The main thing is, don’t forget to get some photos of yourself on holiday (or at any other time!), you’ll be glad you did! Even if the photos of you are not the best you’ve ever had taken, they will bring back wonderful memories.

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