Photography figures high on our list, when we are travelling. While what we photograph comes up trumps in the photogenic department, the same cannot be applied to ourselves. After all, most photos are either taken by an uncomprehending amateur, who is either a stranger or a companion to you, or worse, you have taken your pictures at arm’s length. Not to fret anymore. With these tips, your self-travel photos will be much better than what you have right now in your travel albums.

1. Let’s begin with a few long rods that also hold your point and shoot cameras towards the end. This way, you can take a picture of yourself but this time, with a lot more of the backdrop showing in your picture on your travels. You can buy some of these like Xshot and Quickpod on Amazon.

2. We forget it most times, but using a self timer helps. What makes it even better, is if you can lay your camera down on a smooth surface like a pillow or mattress, so you can re-position it for maximum effect and some spectacular composition. And if you have a DSLR, you can also use your remote control to take pictures of you.

3. Travelling is also about having fun. So taking pictures of you in action, rather than posing with family and friends creates better travel photos. What’s more, you can even pose with complete strangers in a country you’ve never been to before, to add authenticity and drama to your pictures.

4. Props work beautifully. Instead of just posing with familiar people, how about making the most of a prop. It could be a park bench, a dog, a passerby, a tree, a cap, a mask, or just your two hands pointing towards the camera.

5. Shoot with your smartphone, too. The cool apps available for the iPhone and iPod Touch will only highlight your travel photos. The BlendCam app takes two pictures and fuses them into one. For example, the London Bridge showing up on your t-shirt as you pose in front of it, as if you were transparent. Similarly, the OldPhotoPro app gives your travel photo an old world feel with sepia tint and jagged edges. With the Color Splash app, you can selectively turn parts of your photo into black and white, to give your self-travel photo, a surreal look. With the Crazy Booth app, you can add many more effects to your picture, like turning your photo into a sketch or give it a mirror effect.

6. If you are worried about your expensive DSLR, I suggest you take two cameras along. A DSLR for shooting people, places and things and a point to shoot for yourself.

7. And if you would like to take your pictures in style, invest in a tripod. Not only will it allow you to get in your pictures, it will also improve your camera work, especially in landscapes, macro, low light, nature, portrait photography and more. Tripods are such a hassle but you can always buy those handy monopods or gorillapods. Cost effective tips would be bringing a jacket, which can be bundled up whenever, or a Ziploc bag filled with rice or beans so you can prop your lens on it.

8. Acting goofy for your own pictures works beautifully. It conveys how much fun you had, during your travels, like nothing else will. So do more of those, and see how your self-travel pictures come alive. Some people act as if they are dead in front of a landmark being photographed. Irregular poses in front of different places, such as in front of a monument, or a building, or any other well known or interesting place brings out the ‘goofy’ factor as well.

Zahid H Javali