Tips + Trends

I Selfie, Therefore I am. 7 Insta Tips from Travel Pros

It’s been said that there’s a time and a place for everything. But apparently it’s always selfie time!

Millions of selfies are shot every day in fascinating places, yet in the vast majority of cases the essence of the place is never caught.

For many travel bloggers, snapping an original selfie is just part of another day at the office. Here are some tips from the pros that could offer valuable inspiration the next time you too feel the urge to flick that front-facing-camera icon.

Take a Risk

Sarah Richard, who blogs at Girls That Scuba, shows total dedication to the business of selfie-shooting with sharks. Based in Hong Kong, Richard has dived all over the world and shoots dramatic selfies to promote her blog.

selfie tips
(Photo: Getty Images)

“When it comes to trying to get an epic shark selfie you’ve got to have eyes in the back of your head, which of course is impossible,” she says.

“So make sure you put your GoPro on burst mode to capture a few dozen shots at different angles. A red filter is also a must when it comes to underwater photography and a steady hand really helps, even if you have sharks coming at you from behind.

“Scuba diving is all about discovering a world unknown to many. Enjoy every bubble!”

Put Your Heads Together

Evi Arbay, author and founder of Indonesia Trip Advisors, is an avid “wefie” shooter as this original group photo from Papua New Guinea shows.

“I’m not a big fan of selfies with myself alone,” Arbay admits. “But I often take wefie pictures with the indigenous peoples I visit.

“Sometimes it’s an effective way to build better communication and relationships with the locals, which is crucial since I often guide photographers and tourists to remote communities.

“Often I lend my phone and let local people do the shooting themselves—as long as my equipment is safe I feel that it builds trust and leaves them more agreeable to posing for actual portraits.

“For me selfies are not just about having fun; they’re a vital work tool.”

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Jessica Peterson is filmmaker, journalist and photographer who blogs at Global Girl Travels. She concentrates on making the surroundings the primary subject in her selfies.

“Rather than just shoot a straightforward selfie, I make use of interesting lighting and shadows to make shots more original,” says Peterson, who spent seven years living on Guam, where she produced her first documentary.

selfie tips
(Photo: Getty Images)

“I started shooting selfies of my feet when I got a fisheye lens for my Sony a7S. It works well when I need a very wide angle to show my location if I’m in an incredible landscape like Horseshoe Bend, Arizona, or Avatar Mountain in China. The wide angle transports the viewer into the location.

“I don’t own a selfie stick on principle! It feels vain to step up to a national monument, turn my back to it and snap a million selfies.

“I prefer to frame my shots and use a self-timer on my DSLR so I have more options with editing.”

Make a Splash

“Selfies are an important tool for bloggers as they have become a fantastic way to connect with readers and to share fun moments or experiences with them,” says Vaughan McShane who blogs at The Travel Manuel.

“One of the many ways that blogs are different to traditional publications is that most of the content is about the bloggers and their experience. Their audience generally read and follow them to find out their opinions on certain subjects—be it travel, fashion or food.

“So the ability to share an image of yourself doing a fun activity can be really handy. Also, moms love selfies!”

Be Happy

Michael Holzrichter, Yani Darrell (soon to be Mrs Holzrichter) and little Darrell turn a typical family selfie into something more original in Bandung, Indonesia.

selfie tips
(Photo: Getty Images)

Holzrichter, owner of Medewi Surf Homestay in West Bali, explains: “We enjoy shooting selfies because it’s our way to show Yani’s family and friends in Jakarta and my family and friends in Austria how happy we are.

“My top tip for shooting the ideal selfie would be not to think too much. Just try to catch the moment!”

Be Ridiculous

London-based luxury travel blogger Barbara Wagner left home at 17 to work as a model and has since lived in seven countries and visited 68. While her blog concentrates on the glamorous side of travel, Wagner sees selfies primarily as fun and enjoys playing with apps and stickers to add a touch of zaniness.

selfie tips
(Photo: Getty Images)

“I like to take selfies with Snapchat and then use funny filters before uploading on other apps like Instagram or Facebook.

“Marilyn Monroe once said that ‘imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.’ Always push the limits!”

Make History

“It’s my hobby, shooting selfies!” says self-confessed selfie addict Nann Thandar Thein, tour guide and operations supervisor at Khiri Travel in Yangon.

Capture the right moment, though, and even the humble selfie can be a poignant record of a historical event. Here Thein proudly displayed the inked finger that is her badge of honor from the first democratic elections in her country in more than 40 years.

“I felt really pleased after my vote and proud to choose the party that will bring us democracy,” she recalls.

“I love to take selfies at every kind of moment so that I can have memories without anyone’s help. I love the things I have done, and know I will never get to do it all again in the same way but least I have the memories through my selfies!”


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