Solo traveler? Here’s how to get strangers to take good pictures of you

One of the most frequent questions I get asked by people is “who takes your pictures when you travel alone?” And most of the time, it’s random people who I don’t know. If you give them a bit (a lot) of guidance, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to take a decent one.

Here’s how to get good quality photos from strangers :


(N.B. all of the included pictures have been edited by me; editing is a large part of obtaining a good picture which I will discuss in a separate article)

Choose a good frame

The most essential part of getting a good photograph is to envision your frame from beforehand. So if you see somewhere you’d like to take a picture, first take the picture yourself and see where you would position yourself there.

Here’s a picture that I made someone take of me in Kyoto. It was pretty simple because I wanted myself on the right of the temple. I saw exactly where I wanted the ground to start and the sky to end, which made it clear to them how to frame the image. I then cropped the final image to make the frame that I wanted.

<Instagram to be linked>

Check the settings

When I ask people to take my picture, I generally give them my phone because most likely they don’t know how to use a camera. It’s a lot easier, as they don’t have to focus and just have to press the button. But I’m starting to give my camera to people more, because I don’t want to compromise on picture quality.

Whichever you are using, be sure to adjust the settings before you start. For example, check the zoom amount you want, the focal area, and display brightness. If you are taking it on your camera you can set it to auto, or otherwise adjust your settings on manual before handing it to your temporary photographer.