If you’re not a millennial, the art of the selfie might seem a little intimidating. This goes double for travel selfies, when you want to look great and show off all the cool things you’re doing. The younger generation makes it look easy, but as anyone who’s spent hours struggling to find the perfect angle knows: selfies are a lot harder than they look.
That being said, anyone can learn to take masterful vacation photos with the right tricks — millennial status not required. So ask yourself this: do you know what it takes to create the perfect travel selfie? This guide will set you on the right path for perfect travel selfies
Find the Right Angle
If you’re tilting the phone at a weird angle to put your best face forward, here’s the straight scoop: a really high angle doesn’t improve your photos. In fact, angling the phone too much can leave you looking strange and awkward — not exactly the look you’re going for in a travel selfie. Instead of twisting the camera, try facing it head-on. Not only will you look proportionate, viewers will be able to appreciate the scenery in the background.
Consider Your Lighting
This should go without saying, but lighting can make or break your travel selfie. Nobody is going to be able to appreciate that gorgeous view (or how awesome you look in front of it) if the lighting is bad. Natural lighting is absolutely the best, so use it as often as you are able. Be careful about shadows, which can leave you looking worn out and haggard. And don’t forget, when it gets dark the flash can be your absolute best friend.
Seek Out Unusual Locations
If you really want your travel selfies to spark some interest and keep your audience intrigued, skip the usual tourist spots. Sure, the Eiffel Tower is impressive, but there are so many other stunning options to explore. Look for surprising locales to improve your photos and keep them from the usual boring looks. Not only will viewers be intrigued, your photos will end up looking unique and exciting, instead of like a stock photo.
To Wear Sunglasses or Not to Wear Sunglasses
Unless you have legitimately cool-looking sunglasses, skip them for your selfie. They distract from the surroundings (and you, of course) and make you look more like a tourist than you’d ever want to admit. Sunglasses can also reflect oddly, ruining the careful composition of your beautiful photo. All that aside, there are times when sunglasses are acceptable: when you’re at the beach, in a ridiculously sunny spot, or when you’re really hungover. Hey, you’re on vacation after all!
Mind the Sun
If you’re taking an outdoor selfie, the sun can simultaneously be your greatest friend and worst enemy. The trick to taming the sun and making sure it helps instead of hinders your photographic dreams is to keep it behind you. Try to frame the photo so your head is blocking the sun. This way you get all the light with none of the harshness. You and your surroundings will look radiant.
Figure Out Your Selfie Smile
Some of us feel awkward cracking a grin on camera. It’s time to nip that fear in the bud and beam in your next photo. Remember, you’re on vacation: you should look like you’re having fun, not as if you’re late for a meeting. If a natural smile just isn’t in the cards, don’t fret. You can go for a milder look with the closed-mouth smile, being sure to smile with your eyes. And if you really want to nail that on-camera grin, practice in front of a mirror. Then the next time the selfie mood strikes you, you’ll be all set to nail that perfect smile.
The Danger of Taking a Selfie Solo
While traditionally the self is taken by, well, yourself, travel selfies are a bit different. If you’re surfing for the first time, or perched on the edge of a high cliff, you don’t want to be battling with a camera. Instead, ask someone to snap the selfie for you. You want to get the shot, but your safety is far more important. Don’t do something risky in the hopes of achieving that perfect selfie. It’s not worth it; and odds are the selfie your helper takes will capture the fun and excitement of your trip.
You’re on vacation, visiting incredible locations, eating sensational food, and exploring the world. Nobody wants a picture of your hotel room (unless it’s really amazing). Instead of the standard selfies, try to get creative on your vacation. Take pictures where you try new activities, eat strange new things, or meet cool new people. Your vacation selfies are a chance to show a whole new world — and a completely different side of yourself. Have fun with them, and see where your imagination takes you.