Your flawless Instagram post awaits
People are always asking (or teasing…) me how I get my photos when travelling. Although I am a self-proclaimed expert on iPhone self timer, I often have to resort to other methods for the shot I want. So, I’m going to give you the low down on how I get the perfect travel photos.
Pictures are the best mementos
I personally love looking back at photos, and I think they are the best memory. Obviously I love postcards (hence my website name…), but I am not a fan of touristy objects and knick-knacks that clutter up the house, or just break/get lost on the way home. I’ll admit, I have fallen victim to keeping a memento or two. I have a few key chains, and almost never throw away tickets and maps…
But a picture truly is worth a thousand words. It’s a cliché for a reason. The perfect travel photos are something you look back on for your whole life. So, here are a few suggestions and tips I’ve figured out along the way for getting that perfect memory and Instagram post (we all want one, don’t lie).
Let’s get into it.
Train your friends and family
Example 1: During my parents visit to see me in the UK and Europe, I taught my mom to be the best InstaMom out there – I might be slightly biased… ANYWAY travelling with my parents was amazing, and I loved every minute of it, but there is no denying the eye rolls you get from Dad when you ask for some photos haha (Don’t even get me started on asking the boyfriend to take one, and god forbid, BE IN IT….) So thank you Mom for the great pictures!
Example 2: My other best photographer is actually the eye rolling boyfriend himself. He takes the greatest pictures, and even offers to snap them for me now before I ask! (this way he doesn’t have to be in them…convenient right?). He’s now at the point of giving out direction to get the best shot #InstaHubby
Whether you are travelling alone, with someone, or in a group you usually want some photos all together – Or of yourself (obviously) if you’re solo. I know how awkward it can be to ask someone to take a photo for you, but let’s be honest you will probably never see this person again, you might as well!
So, my advice is…..
Stop caring so much!
Don’t overthink it. Like I just said, you truly will never see this person again, and if you do, maybe you’ve just made yourself a new friend! There’s nothing to be embarrassed about, it’s just a photo.
Choosing your Photographer
Make sure you pick the right person for the job. They’re usually someone around the same age as you, who would seemingly have the same taste and vision you have in mind. Also, someone who can easily understand the basics of technology ie: how to frame, hold, and focus the shot. Sometimes you can even get lucky and spot an actual photographer or blogger. Jackpot!
Take a photo for them first
Nine times out of ten the person you ask wants one too. If you offer to take one for them first it makes the whole situation more comfortable. If you take a good photo for them, they will be more likely to get a good one for you too. Visual learning!
Show them what you want
This is a bit repetitive, but it’s too crucial not to emphasize. Visuals make all the difference! Give them a brief run down of what you want in the frame (Use the photos you just took of them), and your overall vision in a few words ie. the focus, landscape or portrait style, etc.
I always make a point to ask that they don’t center me in the picture because I want the main focus to be on the location and view. I also like a variety of landscape and portrait. They won’t know unless you tell them.
I know you’ve seen this photo of mine before, but it’s the prime example of the last two points. It’s how I got this iconic shot (in my humble opinion) in Santorini. I asked a couple who were taking a selfie if they wanted one together and then they naturally asked if we wanted some too. It’s my all time favourite picture from my travels.
Preset the settings you want
If you’re using your iPhone maybe you want live photos or Portrait mode – be sure to set all that up before you hand over your device. Personally, I LOVE Portrait mode, it’s so good! If you’re using a camera set it to automatic or set the lighting and other components before you give it to them.
Ask them to take multiple
This is the ultimate key to getting the photo you want. They of course can’t know exactly what you like, so make sure they give you options to choose from. Honestly, the more the better. Tell them to go paparazzi crazy!
Your camera roll should look like this….
Use Self Timer
If you truly feel too uncomfortable to ask anyone, or there is no one around, use your self timer. It does wonders. I have become a little bit of a pro at this, if I do say so myself…
Use anything you have to prop up your phone or camera. An article of clothing, a coffee cup, rocks, a wall, your purse/bag (this has always been my go to). I once purchased a cheap little tripod for my phone, but I found it wasn’t that useful and I took better pictures without it. It was often too weak to hold up my phone, or I had to remove my case – Seriously too much hassle. Just use what you have around you! Or invest in a really good one.
Here I used a towel, my beachbag, a book, and strategically piled sand...
I also really love my Apple watch for this. You can take the picture from where you are and not have to run back a forth to your phone. In love. Obsessed. Pure genius.
Disclaimer: You will have to take a few test shots to get the framing right, and avoid other people getting in them.
Okay, you are now fully equipped to get the Instagram worthy photo to commemorate that moment on your travels. Remember, don’t be shy! Just go for it! You won’t regret it when you’re looking back at those memories once you’re back in the reality of everyday life. As Wayne Gretzky said: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”! Hah.. bad pun… I should go….