[UPDATED 11 Sep 2019]
Most will agree that one can get more things done when travelling alone. In fact, some travellers love travelling alone - especially because they can travel at their own pace. However, going solo also means there are many restrictions when it comes to capturing great photos!
But fret not, we're here to help you with that ? Here are 9 useful photography tips for all solo travellers!
1. Travel Light
Nobody likes carrying bulky, heavy camera bags especially on trips and it can be a hassle when you are trying to capture a moment. So it's best to bring only the lenses you need for that day. Leave the unused lenses (if any) at your hostel or hotel.
The main thing is to keep your hands free so you would not miss any opportunities for great photos!
Credit: @salmazarook on Instagram
2. Plan Ahead
As a solo traveller, it's good to know your itinerary inside-out. Just like the saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. If you're a serious photographer, we recommend preparing a “photography plan” before you leave for the trip. Plan out what you want to bring for the trip and what shots you'd like to take ☺️
To save on luggage space and all the hassle, try not to bring along equipment you know you are not going to use for the trip! For example, leave your non-waterproof camera behind if you are heading out to sea for a water activity. The last thing you want is for your $1000+ camera taking a dip into the open sea ?
3. Invest in Equipment
If you're an avid traveller (and a solo one, at that!) - it'll be really useful to invest in some equipment. The most basic is a tripod as you can take photos of yourself using the timer setting on your camera. I'd personally recommend the GorillaPod. It's a flexible tripod, which allows you to place your camera on any surface.
Credit: @aliahnazamusa on Instagram
This flexibility also allows you to place the GorillaPod on unconventional or uneven surfaces including rocky terrains!
Credit: @esejapan on Instagram
For those who love water activities, it'll be almost a need to invest in a waterproof camera casing. The casing itself may be a little costly but it is crucial for diving, snorkelling or surfing trips. This way, you can capture stunning, beautiful photos of underwater corals and aquatic wildlife with your DSLR ?
4. Bring along a selfie stick
A selfie stick is the greatest invention every solo traveller should have, especially in this day and age where phone cameras have the ability to capture excellent photos. If you are travelling around (to nature sites especially), a selfie stick would prove useful as you can capture a photo of yourself with beautiful scenery. Of course, do remember to watch your surroundings when using a selfie stick ?
5. Bring Extras
The last thing you want after all that planning and travelling is to run out of memory space or battery life! With no one else around to help you, you may be forced to deleting your beautiful photos or go around looking for a place to charge your batteries.
Save yourself all that trouble and invest in memory cards with a large memory storage or, bring along multiple memory cards. This is especially useful if you are going on a long trip. Plus, if you are into professional photo editing, you require lots of storage for RAW photographs ?
Although you might be able to charge the batteries in your accommodation, it won't be that convenient as sometimes you'll be provided with just one or two power supply points (especially if you're staying in hostels!). You might also need to use an adapter, and charge other gadgets such as your phone. So extra batteries would really save the day!
6. Invest in a GoPro
It may be a little pricey but a GoPro camera is probably the most useful camera for solo travellers! The camera is mainly to shoot videos, but it does have image capturing capabilities to take decent pictures ?
The best part about GoPro is its variations of attachments which you can get along with the camera. The head and wrist strap are some of the more popular choices because of their ease of usage! If you are an adrenaline junkie, shoot a photo (or video) of yourself performing extreme activities such as bungee jumping or skydiving.
7. Use a Lighter Camera
The lighter the load you carry around, the better. So we recommend investing in lighter cameras.
A mirrorless camera is one example. It is slightly smaller and technically lighter in weight as compared to a Digital SLR. There are various models of mirrorless cameras in the market, which are relatively cheaper than high-end Digital SLRs and can produce equally detailed, stunning photographs!
If you are into old-school film cameras and tight on budget, you can get a disposable film camera. It can produce great vintage-like photos and is extremely light. The size is perfect too! It can easily fit in your pocket?
8. Take Care of Your Equipment
Always, always keep your equipment with you. This is especially important for solo travellers as you have no one to look out for you! Be careful not to make yourself an easy prey to robbers, or even dropping and damaging your precious equipment.
How, you might ask? Invest in good quality camera bags! They can protect your cameras (and lenses) from scratches and falls ?
Another investment for camera protection is safety straps for your cameras. The straps (and hooks) by Peakdesign for example, secure and protect your cameras from dropping. The Peakdesign hooks are built to allow interchangeability of the straps - perfect for travelling!
9. Trust your Phone
With today’s advancement in technology, smartphones now have the capability of producing stunning images. Some can nearly match the quality produced by a DSLR. Not only is it lightweight, you can also capture great images with the phone’s main camera and a selfie of yourself using the phone’s front camera!
The camera settings available on phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S Series and Apple iPhone are similar to that of a digital camera or a digital SLR. Oh, and the best part is that you can immediately edit and upload your pictures on Instagram ☺️
Now do you feel more prepared for your solo trip? Make sure you try these tips and let us know if they helped you! But at the same time, don't be afraid to ask for help from other tourists or passers-by to take a picture of you. In fact, you can return the favour if they request. I mean, who knows? You can even make new friends on your travels ?