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Globetrotting Glamour Shots: How to Take Epic Travel Selfies Without Looking Like a Tourist

Globetrotting Glamour Shots: How to Take Epic Travel Selfies Without Looking Like a Tourist - Pick Props Wisely

When trying to take an epic travel selfie, props can add visual interest and showcase local color. But choosing props poorly can make your selfies look cheesy or forced. The key is picking props and backgrounds that feel natural and enhance the vibe you want to capture.

If you're posing in front of the Eiffel Tower, a beret or baguette could be cute. But opting for props just because they scream "I'm in Paris!" usually backfires. You don't want your selfies to look like a souvenir t-shirt. The goal is looking authentically chic, not like a cardboard cutout.

Aim for props that add intrigue without screaming "tourist." In Paris, that might mean a pretty parasol or bouquet of flowers. In London, a brolly and raincoat can add weather-appropriate flair. When in doubt, fresh flowers are a safe bet for adding a pop of color and sense of place.

Another approach is incorporating natural props from your surroundings. Pose leaning on a distinctive railing, seated on a picturesque bench, or standing before an ornately tiled wall. Let the location itself shine through. Architectural and design elements native to a place often make the best backdrops.

Some travelers swear by shotlists outlining possible selfie spots and props around a destination. Scout out possibilities in advance to inspire creative shots on the go. Melbourne-based travel blogger Jessica Romero curates Pinterest boards for each destination. She pins example photos along with ideas for color palettes and props to recreate the vibe.

Others keep a running list on their phone of photogenic cafes, wall murals, statues and more to revisit later. By planning ahead, you'll never miss a great selfie op. But don't get so focused on your list that you miss unexpected gems.

Packing a few personalized props ensures you'll have go-to items no matter the locale. Travel and lifestyle blogger Madison Polinesia brings a portable ring light, small tripod, and clip-on wide angle lens. Having flattering lighting anytime helps her get share-worthy selfies minus tourist vibes.

Globetrotting Glamour Shots: How to Take Epic Travel Selfies Without Looking Like a Tourist - Master Natural Lighting

Flattering lighting can make or break any selfie. When shooting on the go, mastering natural light is key for looking your best. Unlike posing in a studio, you can't control studios and reflectors while traveling. Luckily, paying attention to the interplay of sunlight and shadows allows you to harness Mother Nature's finest.

Travel bloggers like Aileen Xu of I Am Aileen prioritize mapping out sunny spots for epic selfies. She suggests scouting locations for ideal natural light when you first arrive in a destination. Note areas with dreamy soft, diffused illumination from windows and open shade. Open shade found under awnings, trees or overhangs softens shadows so you don't appear harshly lit. Direct sunlight streaming through leaves also imparts a lens flare effect.

You can use the clarity of morning or late afternoon golden hour lighting to illuminate you perfectly. Sunrise and sunset create a warm glow ideal for flattering selfies. For night shots, streetlights and neon signs provide dramatic backlighting. Don't shy away from shadows. Photographers use chiaroscuro lighting with extreme contrasts between light and dark to create visual intrigue. Experiment with light and shadow playing across your face for moody, atmospheric selfies.

Pay attention to color spills from colored bulbs, paint on buildings or reflections which can cast an interesting hue. You don't need perfect lighting. Cloudy days create a giant softbox effect perfect for illuminating you evenly. And images shot in shade can evoke mystery.

The key is not fighting natural light but embraced how it interacts with and enhances the subject and location. Use the front facing camera on your phone before shooting to preview how light falls on your features. Adjust your angle and pose to find the most flattering effect. Notice if your camera struggles with high-contrast situations. Use fill flash or exposure compensation settings to fill overly dark shadows.

Globetrotting Glamour Shots: How to Take Epic Travel Selfies Without Looking Like a Tourist - Scout Out Photogenic Spots Beforehand

Scouting out photogenic spots before you travel is one of the best ways to set yourself up for selfie success without looking like an aimless tourist. Finding sweet selfie spots in advance lets you efficiently capture envy-inducing photos that reflect your personal vibe and the unique spirit of the destination.

Planning some selfie locations ahead takes the pressure off capturing as many iconic sites as possible. You can focus on quality over quantity and putting your own twist on famous settings. Know where you want to shoot at golden hour to capitalize on flawless flattering lighting.

Emily Wood, a travel photographer and blogger at explains: "œI always do recon for great selfie spots before I arrive in a new place. I make a customized Google Map with pins for great views, street art murals, historic sites, and more photogenic gems I find through geotagged photos. This lets me plan a couple of "˜mini selfie shoots"™ during my trip to get really creative content."

Fashion and lifestyle influencer Jen Alo hones in on cafes with beautiful tiles or murals she can snap for her signature "œcoffee shop glam" pics in each destination. Checking reviews helps her narrow down which spots have service and treats worth capturing too.

Meanwhile, travel blogger Jacqueline Nwobu uses Pinterest to curate a moodboard for each destination. She explained: "œI pin example photos of poses or angles I want to recreate in a location. And I look for wallpapers, color schemes, and decor inspiration to inform styling. This helps me visualize and plan an aesthetic."

Doing recon also allows you to note locations where tripods or other equipment aren"™t allowed. And you can pinpoint any potential photography permits required at settings like public murals or historical landmarks. Knowing the lay of the land helps streamline getting Instagram-worthy shots.

While having go-to spots identified takes the guesswork out of selfie-taking, don't become so wedded to your shot list that you miss unexpected gems. Part of the joy of travel is stumbling upon charming cafes, eye-catching ally murals, and other photogenic discoveries. Maintain the flexibility to seize spur-of-the-moment selfie ops.

Globetrotting Glamour Shots: How to Take Epic Travel Selfies Without Looking Like a Tourist - Get Creative With Angles and Poses

Getting creative with angles and poses elevates travel selfies from forgettable to frame-worthy. While a standard head-on shot documents you were there, it likely won"™t wow your followers or capture the true spirit of place. Branching out beyond the expected angles and stances adds visual interest to selfies. And it conveys your playful perspective as an intrepid traveler.

"As a solo traveler, I get tired of endless selfies that look identical in front of landmarks," says adventure blogger Simone Sanders. She recommends researching unique compositions and poses for each destination in advance. "I look for shots that make the place itself the star while featuring me doing something active or perfectly framed against the scenery."

Rather than a static straight-on selfie, Sanders suggests shots of yourself popping out from behind a statue or peeking playfully around a corner of a historic building. "Or capture your legs dangling off a picturesque cliffside ledge as you take in the epic vista," she adds.

For urban locations, influencers play with reflections of landmarks in glass buildings to capture a selfie from a flipped perspective. Street art and public sculptures also provide colorful backdrops for striking solo or group shots.

"I gravitate towards interactive public art installations that make for fun selfies minus the tourist cliches," says travel blogger Damon Cameron. Freeform sculptures that the viewer moves within and colorful murals designed for playful poses invite you to become part of the art itself.

Don't just smile at the camera; actually engage with your environment. Candid shots of yourself smelling fresh flowers at a market, touching a strikingly textured wall, or laughing with new friends over drinks tell a richer visual story.

Lifestyle influencer Elaine Lee also suggests capturing your shadow for an artistic abstract twist on traditional selfies. "Morning or afternoon sun creates a striking interplay of light and shadows. Shoot your own silhouette against a patterned building or projected across sand dunes for artsy shots."

Experiment with unexpected angles like from above, below, or turned away from the camera. Aerial-style shots peered down at you lounging by a pool or ocean-side convey chilled out bliss, while playful under-chin selfies show your silly side. And capturing side profile portraits framed against a pretty cityscape or night skyline exudes elegance.

Globetrotting Glamour Shots: How to Take Epic Travel Selfies Without Looking Like a Tourist - Edit and Enhance with Apps

Today"™s travel influencers and Instagrammers have an arsenal of editing apps to take their on-the-go selfies to the next level. But a heavy filter or sloppy editing job can make pics seem artificial. The key is subtle enhancing that plays up your best features and adds polish while retaining a natural, authentic vibe.

Lifestyle blogger Simran Sethi explains: "œI use Facetune for minor fixes like whitening teeth, smoothing skin, removing flyaways, and making eyes brighter. I"™m careful not to go overboard to the point I"™m unrecognizable. The effects should be so subtle people think it"™s great lighting." For scenery, she opts for deepening blue skies or making foliage more vibrant.

Fashion influencer Ella Zhou relies on Snapseed for bumping structure and drama. "I use the Tonal Contrast filter to accentuate shadows and add depth. And Structure adds clarity to details like jewelry and architectural elements." For portraits, the Grainy Film filter lends an editorial edge. She warns not to overfilter nightlife selfies, which risks muddying up shots.

Meanwhile, travel photographer Liam Cole honors the realism of a place. He explains: "œI shoot RAW so I have more data to work with for technical fixes. But for tone and color I just use the native iPhone editing tools like brilliance, highlights, and saturation for minor tweaks. I might warm a sunset with yellow hues but avoid anything that compromises integity."

Some influencers design presets before a trip to achieve cohesive filters across photos. Fashion blogger Chloe Hall uses apps like Lightroom to make custom presets that give images from a destination a signature look. "I base presets off what fashion brands with a similar vibe are doing. A Morocco preset might feature warm, earthy tones while Scandinavia is cooler with muted blush tones."

Miami influencer Sofia Diaz relies on lenses to set the mood. "œI created presets for every lens on the Retouch app matched to vibes I want to convey. Like the Valencia lens always gives me a warm golden look perfect for beachy lifestyle shots and sunsets. While Tokyo lens adds a retro film effect well-suited to street style photos." This saves editing time while ensuring consistent style.

Many travelers opt to do only minimal edits on the go to enjoy being present. Lifestyle blogger Miya Drew said: "œI might use the Polish feature on VSCO to remove blemishes and boost contrast for a quick fix before posting a selfie. But I try to avoid spending too much time editing instead of soaking in my trip." Travel is an adventure, not a photoshoot, so don"™t let apps distract from living in the moment.

Globetrotting Glamour Shots: How to Take Epic Travel Selfies Without Looking Like a Tourist - Don't Be Afraid to Ask Locals

Getting insider tips from locals is one of the best ways to discover under-the-radar selfie spots that tell a more authentic story. Many novice travelers shy away from approaching residents for recommendations. But overcoming any shyness to ask questions opens up hidden gems only known by those in-the-know.

Lifestyle influencer Aisha Taylor explains, "œI used to be nervous striking up conversations with locals when traveling solo. But now I actively seek out their advice to find cool selfie backdrops off the tourist track." She says shopkeepers and cafe owners often have the best insights about nearby murals,lookout points, and other photogenic but lesser-known places.

Adventure travel blogger Lucas Chen will chat with hotel staff, waiters, and taxi drivers about their personal favorite landmarks and hangouts. He snaps pics acting as their guide. "œIt adds a personal touch when I can say, the taxi driver José suggested I visit this hidden bookshop cafe," Chen says. Locals also give ideas for poses and props that add authentic local flare.

Street style blogger Eva Cheng relies on students for on-trend ideas. She said, "œI"™ll complement someone"™s style and ask if they have recommendations for fun neighborhoods, markets, and cafes to shoot in." They know where it's happening for fashion-forward selfies. She's gotten great tips about flea markets with vintage props and indie boutiques ripe for modeling pics.

Many travelers also turn to social media and hashtags for sourcing local inspo. Fashionista Jenn Lim asks followers of her blog"™s account about their favorite streets and neighborhoods before arrival. "œPeople are quick to share their off-beat ideas when asked. And I offer to credit anyone who helps with a selfie spot in my stories." This crowdsourcing surfaces hidden spots locals love.

Don"™t just ask for locations; also request ideas for experience-based shots. Travel blogger Brad Mitchell explained: "œI ask hotel staff to point me toward outdoor markets, parades,or other happenings where I can capture authentic cultural moments." This yields selfies that tell a story and provide a sense of place.

Travel and culinary influencer Naomi Yamaguchi said chatting up food tour guides helps her discover under-the-radar restaurants primed for mouth-watering foodie selfies. "œI ask if they know any decorative spots for taking artistic plate pics and recipes where I can get hands-on for fun cooking selfies." This insider intel elevates her content.

Globetrotting Glamour Shots: How to Take Epic Travel Selfies Without Looking Like a Tourist - Stay in the Moment

While apps and shot lists can help lead to selfie success, don"™t let preparation distract from being present. Staying fully engaged in the travel moments as they unfold allows you to organically capture experiences, not just places.

Lifestyle travel blogger Anne Yang explained, "œEarly on I was so focused on getting the perfect shot that I'd miss out on the actual vibe of a place. Now I make sure to actually be in a moment before I photograph it." She shared a tip: "I'll sit and have a coffee and soak up the sounds of a cafe before grabbing selfies. This helps capture the true feeling."

Similarly, fashion influencer Priya Aggarwal will take time to wander a market and engage her senses before photographing. "œOnly after exploring the smells of spices and feeling the textures of woven blankets do I feel I can authentically convey the experience in a selfie." She strives to immerse first and shoot later.

"œWhen I"™m traveling for work and need to deliver certain selfies, it"™s tempting to go straight into photography mode," says influencer Luis Zhou. But he sets mini-deadlines to ensure he experiences locales as a curious traveler first. "œI"™ll give myself off-duty time purely to soak in sites before work mode, so I don"™t miss out on the moment."

Part of being present is knowing when not to take selfies out of consideration for others. Nature travel blogger Cindy Chen explained she refrains from excessively posing for the 'gram at sacred sites: "œIt just doesn"™t feel right to be snapping tons of selfies in places of worship where people are grieving or praying."

Relatedly, some attractions like moving memorials, sites of tragedy, and even museums prohibit photos. Model Katie Lin always checks rules in advance and complies with signage banning selfies. "œBeing respectful should be top priority. I can honor experiences without a selfie by writing in my journal or just reflecting," she notes.

Beyond etiquette, there are safety considerations. Solo traveler Amara Reynolds avoids pulling out expensive camera gear in less touristed neighborhoods. "œI want to be able to engage without making myself a target," she explained. "œSo I stay in the moment, chatting with new friends." She steps aside later if a fun spontaneous selfie moment arises to discreetly capture.

Travel blogger Dalia Aziz recounted a time she got so caught up in angling her selfie stick that she tripped down some submerged temple steps. "Now I always make sure to pay attention to my real surroundings, not just my phone screen." Prioritizing immersive experience over perfect shots often yields better memories anyway.

While selfies can document amazing adventures, recollecting moments through your own senses creates the most vivid memories. "œLooking at old photos, the pics themselves kind of blur together," muses traveler Chris Jett. "œWhat sticks with me most are how experiences engaged all my senses." Staying present allows you to vividly recreate memories long after a trip.

Globetrotting Glamour Shots: How to Take Epic Travel Selfies Without Looking Like a Tourist - Share Your Best Shots

The thrill of capturing an epic travel selfie is only fully realized when you share the fruits of your photographic labors. Posting your most stunning, wanderlust-inducing pics allows you to come full circle, taking followers along on your adventures. Strategic sharing also provides an opportunity to build your personal brand and connect authentically with your audience.

Lifestyle travel influencer Reese Wright explained, "œPart of the motivation for getting that perfect shot is having an end goal of sharing it with my community." She says preparing graphics or teasers gets followers hyped for the full reveal. "œI"™ll drop hints about my amazing upcoming trip in Portugal stories. The sneak peeks ramp up anticipation for the big selfie drops."

Wright emphasizes not blindly blasting every photo, but thoughtfully curating her best images to share. "œI build toward the most jaw-dropping money shots that really tell a story and pull you into the place." She leans into the narrative, captioning selfies with tales of the curious characters met or local treasures discovered.

Meanwhile, fashion blogger Keya Patel uses exclusivity to make followers feel special, revealing some selfies on close friends"™ stories only. She says, "œI let my besties get a 24 hour sneak preview of my selfies wearing new designer looks while on vacay. This VIP access makes them feel valued." She"™ll tease these exclusive shots on her main page prompting fans to request access.

Part of strategic sharing is having a content mix that uniquely expresses your personal brand. For travel photographer Vinh Tran, solo wandering adventures define his aesthetic. He spotlights gritty black and white urban selfies alongside artsy architectural images. The cohesion strengthens his identity.

"œDon"™t just regurgitate your entire camera roll," warns travel influencer Yvonne Kung, who follows the "œless is more" mantra. She culls similar shots to share only the single best image conveying each key moment. "œI notice many people post vacation overload, sharing like 300 selfies in 2 days. Stick to your signature style."

Food blogger Marcus Chen takes a journalistic approach to captions, penning detailed stories about hidden trattorias discovered or quirky cultural encounters that give experiences authentic context. For him, sharing select photos as springboards for rich stories helps followers truly grasp a destination.

While long captions fully transport fans, some influencers let visuals speak for themselves. For city guide account Urban Explorer, minimal text is key to universal appeal. "œWe let our selfie slideshows of a destination"™s hidden hangouts tell the story. Too much text boxes us into one language." They use catchy music and geo-stickers within images to enhance the vibe.

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