5 Tips to Take the Perfect Travel Selfie

Yes, I know. Selfies ARE annoying, specially when taken in a dirty bathroom’s mirror but hear me out: What happens when you’re traveling alone and you’re unable to access a site with your tripod (yes, I do carry a tripod with me sometimes)? Sure, you can still take photos of the place itself and ask a kind stranger to take a photo of you…but it’s not the same type of photographic connection, you know what I mean?

Selfie Tip #01: It’s all about your face, yo!

For the average type of selfie, focus on your face and put the camera above you and as far as you can. Failure to do so will result in distorted images that will make you look fat even if you’re a size 0!

Waterfall Selfie

A very unique waterfall selfie

Selfie Tip #02: Pay attention to the background!

When you want to take travel selfies, put yourself in one of the sides and let the landscape be the main character. You don’t want your whole face to cover the Eiffel Tower, right?

But first let me take a selfie!!!

But first let me take a selfie!!!

Selfie Tip #03: Play with the angles!

If you want a more dramatic angle, place the camera below you and try to shoot a photo of you looking at something. Warning: This might take a few tries but the result will be worth it.

Underwater selfie!

Underwater selfie!

Selfie Tip #04: Be coolio, player!

You need to keep your cool no matter what. Yes, I’ve taken selfies while snorkeling in the deep blue waters of Mexico and I know friends who have even taken them while parachuting. Have confidence in yourself and take that perfect travel selfie!

Sami Reindeer Selfie

Selfie Bucketlist #08: Selfie with a Reindeer while wearing an honorary Sami hat

Selfie Tip #05: Just have fun.

Come on, nobody has ever won a photography award by taking selfies, just be yourself and enjoy the moment. And yes, DO make a crazy face please.

Interesting selfie photography skills, uh? What is your favorite type of selfie? Have you taken one in the bathroom’s mirror? How good do I look in these selfies? Should we ban the word selfie? Selfie Share your thoughts and let me know what you think!

5 Travel Tips for Taking a Selfie

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60 Responses

  1. jessica729

    Sometimes when I’m alone I simply get tired of asking others to take photos of me and typically I’m too ashamed to take a selfie so I just end up with pictures of places without me in them. I will remember these tips for next time!

    Funny story… When I went to the Colisseum, I saw a girl struggling a little bit to take a selfie with the main arena in the background. As I was about to approach her and offer to take a picture, I realized that her friend was directing her in how to angle the camera to take the perfect selfie. I thought she was alone, but no she actually chose to take a selfie instea of being forced by circumstance. It was an interesting choice if you ask me haha

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren

      Hahaha I loved that! I wouldn’t be surprised if future photography courses included a lesson or two about selfies, duckfaces and photo bombing (just remember not to read the last section of the syllabus at an airport).

  2. Y. Prior

    your tips are actually what I needed!! especially tips #1 and #2! and last fall we took some and they were so horrible – but according to tip #1 I see it may be the angle – so I will try your tips and getabck with you. :)

    and the shot of you at Iguazu Falls was my fav –

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren

      It’s all about angles and lighting, indeed, some of my favorites photos are dramatic shots of extremely ordinary objects and animals and it’s the composition of light and the right angle the ones that makes them eye-catching! :)

      • Y. Prior

        also this really was funny – “Selfies ARE annoying, specially when taken in a dirty bathroom’s mirror” – bahaaa

  3. Stephanie

    You have a real skill for the selfie–I especially like the mutual appraisal with the statue. My own favorite kind of selfie is the one where only I can see me :)

  4. My Cup Of Travel

    I don´t really make many selfies and if I do I almost never use them :P But maybe it´s a fun change in my photography behaviour! Will definitely keep your tips in mind! Gracias =)

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren

      You’re welcome! I wasn’t really a fan of selfies until last year when a friend’s camera was stolen by a “kind stranger” and made me reconsider trusting other people to take photos of me! :o

  5. costaricacurious2013

    Great article – Selfie Tip one helps me hide my double chin…lol. Unfortunately I am a tall guy. Unfortunate because that means I also have long arms and that makes me the goto Selfie taker when there are multiple people in the group to be photoed. With the help of your tips, maybe I won’t have to take so many shots.

  6. surfingtheplanet

    Raphael, these are really great tips to avoid the necessity of taking dozens of pictures before having a not too distorted one, in which all the subjects are inside the frame:) You also explain it in a funny way, which makes your post a cool read!

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren

      Thanks for the kind words! Practice makes perfect, no doubt about it! I still look at my first selfies and laugh about how I made myself look extremely fat in them.

  7. frankaboutcroatia

    The selfie tip #5 is the best I think. Just have fun. Anyway, nobody can pretend not to look ridiculous when taking a selfie. We do. So better try to have some fun while doing it.

  8. mytanfeet

    haha I’m not a huge selfie photo taker but they are fun at times when you don’t have anyone to take your picture. I always have to remember keep your chin up (no double chins) and don’t look down, always look up to get that best angle. It really is an artform that came out of Myspace that can be fun sometimes!

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren

      Hahaha yes, I’m old enough to remember all those Myspace girls trying to show up the other ones with their bathroom’s mirror selfies. Peace-signs and duckfaces soon became a popular icon of pop culture. Oh, the olden days :o

  9. Angela Anderson (AngelaTravels)

    It is important that even though selfies have been popular that you keep track of your travel memories. I do find it hard to get pictures that I like from complete strangers. They definitely cut my feet off or the part of the background I was hoping they would capture me visiting. Oh well, no one is perfect and that is why selfies are so much fun!

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren

      Exactly haha, some people are just not good taking photos of others, that’s why I always try to carry a tripod with me when traveling solo, however it is quite inconvenient when trekking and forbidden at museums, palaces and other historical sites. That’s why the mastery of the ancient art of the selfie is a must :)

  10. ahubbard10

    I usually hate taking selfies, but always do when traveling because you better believe I’m going to have a photo of me in front of wherever I am. Great tips! :)

  11. Chasing the Donkey

    Good tips, I always end up half out of the photo or with that fat face you mentioned. Never thought to do one like your Jesus one though.. must try that next time.

  12. globalmouse

    This is great. They definitely take practice – I love the third one down, an interesting take on the regular selfie!

  13. Kristin Francis

    Thanks for these great tips! I love the one about shooting from below! I also had no idea you are supposed to shoot a little higher then your face– maybe that’s why I hate my selfies! It doesn’t help that the iphone is a wide angle lens that is prone to distortion anyway! I agree it’s not worth it to have strangers take your photos. Even those who assure me they take great photos somehow still end up taking horrible shots!

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren

      Bwahaha, it is extremely baffling when people with DSLR cameras take very bad photos of me with my poor humble digital camera. I wonder what kind of photos they’re showcasing in their portfolio! The camera does not make the master ;)

  14. Jess

    I think ‘selfies’ get a bad rap. Sure, no one really wants to see teenagers pouting into mirrors, but if someone is going interesting places and doing interesting things, it’s a pity if they don’t have any pictures that include themselves. As a solo traveler, sometimes you’ve just got to do it yourself.

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren

      Exactly! The only instance where I’m against travel selfies is when the background in question is something very private and/or sad. I mean, nobody in their right minds would think about taking a selfie at Poland’s concentration camps, right?

      UPDATE: a quick search on Google proves that sometimes I place too much faith in humanity :(

  15. foreignsanctuary

    I love taking selfies!! Sometimes my husband and I take selfies just because we are too lazy to take out the tripod. These are great tips and I will definitely try taking the one looking up some day soon!! Thanks for sharing!!

  16. Syd

    Hahaha this is awesome. I will keep these in mind. I think I usually end up distorted in mine… The christ the redeemer one is quite artsy!

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren

      How long are you stretching your arms? Sometimes the distortion is because the lens is way too close to yourself, I have seen some people creatively using a stick with a self-timer in order to take a selfie of their whole bodies :o

  17. suej

    Raphael, some of us travel to see the places, enjoy the food, culture etc…. and don’t need images of ourselves in the places! But for those who want to take photos of themselves, I think you’ve covered it well here ;-)

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren

      Thank you! Actually, one of the selfies I have grown to dislike is the one with the food, sure, photos of exotic food are amazing but photos of people eating said food? That’s a big turn-off, extra points if a duckface is somehow involved hahaha

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren

      I remember a trip I did with a friend once where at the end, we only had one photo of the two of us together and tons of individual photos (mostly in the same pose) haha

  18. Chris Boothman

    Really great tips here Raphael! I know that the idea of ‘selfies’ is a relatively new concept but Heather and I are frequently always taking selfies as a couple. We are really happy with the quality and generally are able to get the attraction/landmark featured in the image.

    The benefit of this is that you don’t need to ask a stranger for their assistance. Of course sometimes people will offer whenever they see you taking a ‘selfie’ which is fine, but for the most part just taking your own shots adds to the experience I think!

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren

      There’s nothing like that photogenic connection, I agree! Plus, sometimes trusting your camera to your stranger is a very bad idea, I still remember the time I had to chase an Egyptian on a camel in order to get my iphone back! :o

  19. Mitzie Mee

    love your selfies! With great backgrounds like that, you are more than excused:) I’m horrible at taking selfies and end up with only-eye/nose or ear selfies:)

  20. Angeline M

    Great tips! I must practice. If I could I would ban the word Selfie….don’t know why it bothers me. Oh well. Holding the camera far away is the best tip for me. Far, far away :)

  21. Camilla

    Fascinating! Entertaining and very informative…you are an inspiration. Keep it up.