how to take a good selfie

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I’ve gotten this question quite a lot on Facebook and on Instagram, how do you get such amazing photos of yourself when traveling?  

To be completely honest I rarely travel alone.  My husband usually takes all the pictures of me.  He will usually get some decent shots with LOTS of coaching.  Most of the time I have to take the photo first, then I hop in the shot and he takes it.  

Though I did not take all of my travel photos, I did take the majority of the pictures you see on Instagram!  And all the photos from my trips to Las Vegas, Valley of Fire, Red Rock Canyon, and New York City were also shot by me.  At Valley of Fire actually said to me, “you’ve taken the selfie to another level – the advanced selfie.” I was quite flattered!

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The lightweight tripod is the one I use the least.  It’s not very sturdy and really I only use it for my iPhone!  I’m not entirely sure I would trust my DSLR on it, especially with my Nikkor 2.8 17-55mm lens which is super heavy.  

But it is really good for getting selfies with my iPhone.  So if you are only using your phone this would be a great choice!

Tripod Selfie Stick

The tripod selfie stick is amazing for getting a selfie where normally a tripod is not allowed – CHECK PRICES.  I took some nice shots with it at a pool in Las Vegas! It’s super lightweight and easy to carry around.  Bonus points because it comes with a bluetooth remote for the camera shutter. I use the remote with my lightweight tripod as well.

Sturdy Travel Tripod

This is the tripod I use the most with my DSLR – CHECK PRICES.  It’s super compact and lightweight for a tripod that can support my Nikon 7200 with my Nikkor 2.8/f 17-55mm lens without falling over.  The legs are super adjustable and it’s easy to set up. Most of the selfies I’ve shot on Instagram were using this tripod!

The Best Camera For Your Advanced Selfie

I have an iPhone 7 Plus, a GoPro, and a Nikon D7200.  My iPhone is great for scenic shots, but for portraits I prefer my Nikon.  And if you follow me on Instagram, you know I have a hate hate relationship with my GoPro.  I’ve started calling it the action camera that never works when there’s any action. The GoPro has failed me AGAIN and AGAIN!!  I very very rarely use it!

Camera Equipment

Nikon D7200 – Check Prices

Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8- Check Prices or get it cheaper here.

Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 – Check Prices

Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 – Check Prices

Remote – Check Prices

Old iPhone

Backpack – Check Prices

My absolute favorite travel lens is the Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8.  This lens is an all-around great travel lens because of the zoom and the constant 2.8 aperture.  Many zoom lenses won’t allow a wide-open aperture when zoomed in. But the 17-55mm f/2.8 does! The 17mm is perfect for some wide-angle scenery shots and the 55mm is perfect for portraits.  When this lens is wide open at 2.8 you will get some lovely bokeh at the 55mm focal length.  

Also while traveling the majority of the time I want the entire scene to be in focus and not too much softness in the photo.  The 2.8 is tack sharp!  

This lens is super expensive when bought brand new.  I actually got it used for about $600 on ebay and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  The 17-55mm has been a workhorse of a lens and has never let me down.

The Nikkor 35mm and 50mm are what I use for portraits.  These lenses are great for photographing families and couples!  I do sometimes use the 35mm for travel though, it produced great results at the lavender fields!  But in general, the 35mm and 50mm are often a bit too close for what I’m looking for.

My Favorite Travel Photography Backpack

To carry around and travel with my camera gear, I love this backpack.  Unlike many photography backpacks that are kind of big with one large compartment, this one has two compartments.  One on top and one on the bottom separated by a removable pad which is held in place by velcro.  This keeps my camera equipment nicely organized.  I keep my extra lenses on the bottom and my camera and remote on top.  Plus there’s a pocket for my laptop!  After doing a ton of research on camera backpacks, this one is my favorite!

selfie tips

How to Take Good Selfies

Now that I’ve shared all the equipment here’s how I usually take selfies. First, I frame the shot.  I’ll take my Nikon D7200 and walk around until I find a good shot.  

Next, set up my tripod.  Once I’ve famed the shot how I want it, I’ll set up my tripod and mount my camera as well as configure all the settings.  The next part is easy, hop into the scene!

I used to use the Nikon wireless remote to trigger the shutter, but this has never worked well for me.  My Nikon never wants to focus! Plus I could never see how I looked in the shot so it took so many shots to get even a slightly good one.

After discovering Nikon has a wifi app to use with my phone, this was when I really started getting some great shots!  Unfortunately Nikon never updates it’s app so it stopped working with the latest iOS. This is where that old iPhone comes in.  I stole my brother’s old iPhone 4s which has an old iOS on it and downloaded the Nikon app. It works perfectly!  

Using the Nikon app I can connect to my camera wirelessly and see the live view on my phone. To focus the camera I just have to tap on my phone screen.  The focusing is still a bit tricky and it doesn’t always focus correctly. This is why I like to shoot at 3.5/f or above so even if the focus it a bit off, I will still be in focus.  The plus side is that Nikon has face detection, so if I’m close enough to the camera, it will detect my face and auto focus.  

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Capturing Movement Using My Tripod Method –  Advanced Selfie Skills

You will notice in many of my photos there’s a bit of movement such as a skirt flip.  So how do you get that movement using a remote? I’m not going to say it’s easy, it will take quite a few shots to get it!

  1.  Set the focus in the wireless app
  2. Put it on a timer (mine has a 3 second timer)
  3. Either hide the phone or just drop it 
  4. Start moving!

Using this method the camera should have already focused.  You should be able to move around minimally, such as a skirt flip and the camera will take a shot of you in motion.  

My iPhone 4s has a pretty sturdy case on it and I’ve definitely tossed it on grassy surfaces before and I’ve dropped it into a purse I was carrying to hide it as well.

The shots of myself with a tripod have not always come out well, it has taken a while to perfect my method, but I think now I’ve got it down.  Below are some of the shots I’ve taken with this method! Let me know if you have any questions!

how to take a good selfie

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How to Pose for Selfies

Posing has always been one of my weak points.  Being a photographer I’ve been great at posing other people, but posing myself has been a struggle.  I’ve however, found 3 poses that work for travel photos really well.

Facing Away from the Camera Selfie Pose

This has to be the most popular travel selfie pose.  If you’re not wearing any make up or if you’re a hot mess from hiking, turning your back to the camera automatically solves both problems and gives you an air of mystery.  That traveler looking far off into the distance has become a classic selfie pose.

how to take travel photos solo

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how to take good photos while solo traveling

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Classic Selfie Posing Idea, Hand Touching Hat

This pose is also another classic.  In general, people need something to do with their hands not to look awkward.  Simply holding onto the rim of your hat not only creates some angles but also keeps your hand busy.  

how to take good selfies traveling alone

Create Movement in Your Selfie Pose with a Skirt Twirl

There’s nothing that adds more dimension to a photo than a bit of movement.  Wearing a flowy skirt or dress definitely helps.  So ladies twirl away in that dress or skirt – my favorite twirly yellow skirt HERE.

traveling solo selfies
how to pose in selfies

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cherry blossoms not in dc selfie

Using Props in Your Selfie Posing

Again, keeping those hands busy is a great way to not look awkward.  So using props like a cute umbrella, some flowers, a basket, etc is a great way to spice up your pictures.  I’m not saying you should be carrying around a ton of props when you travel.  But a cute purse or a pair of sunglasses can make great props!

advanced selfie tutorial

The Sitting Selfie Pose

You don’t always need to stand when you are posing for our selfie.  Sitting gives you a ton more posing variety and also a different vantage point!

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how to take a selfie poses
posing for selfies

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Book a Photo Session

Interested in capturing stunning photos at the sunflower fields?  Book a session with me today!  I specialize in family, newborn, maternity, and portrait photography.  Capture real smiles at picture-perfect locations!  Space is limited.

how to take a good selfie

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