The Art of Asking Someone to Take a Picture of You While Traveling Solo

You may laugh now but this is a serious question I’ve gotten several times in my DMs: “Zahra, how do you travel alone and still have full-body pictures of yourself?” My selfies are super awkward so I have no option but to ask people to take pictures for me. Here’s how:

Who to ask?

An Insta girl

You’ll know when you see her. She’ll be in her summer dress taking pictures of her other friends in summer dresses while asking them to adjust their poses. Just remember to not interrupt her photo session or you’ll get the side eyes and she’ll take your photo like a math exam (not well).

An older gentleman

istanbul

This one is for you young mamis out there. We all know older people are generally not good with technology but this demographic is just happy a pretty girl is talking to them. They might not take the best pictures but they’ll sure as heck take a lot of them and you can feel comfortable asking them to redo it without feeling like you’re taking too much of their time.

Give your phone away to a friend

Often times I make a friend or two when I’m on the bus or a cafe who’s got a similar itinerary to mine. If they look trustworthy, I give them my phone for a couple of minutes and tell them to take whatever pictures they like. This is a great trick if you want very spontaneous/natural looking clicks. A friend of mine took a bunch of these and I absolutely love them.

NOTE: DO NOT ASK AN ATTRACTIVE PERSON

You will look into their eyes and get distracted or get too self-conscious about what you look like. Your pictures will have drool in them. Do you want drooly photos? Huh? Huh?

When to ask?

As I said, don’t ask someone who is in the middle of taking a picture of someone else because this way it will all be rushed and most often blurry. Before you ask, make sure you know how you want the picture taken. Find the location where you’d like to stand, know the angle of the camera, and have a pose in mind. This way, you’ll be giving someone clear instructions so all they have to do is get in place and click.  

What to ask?

If you can, try to ask in the local language, most people think it’s super cute when tourists try to learn their language. “Excuse me, can you please take a picture of me?” accompanied by pointing at yourself and your phone usually does the trick, too.

How to ask?

Throw your shame away

Just remember that you’re probably never going to see this person again so drop your shame. Taking a picture of someone is not a big deal, they’re not climbing Mount Everest for you so it’s okay to not feel guilty for asking a favor.

Give clear instructions

Tell them you want a picture at a certain angle or direction. You can even tell them to keep clicking the button as many times they like for the next 20 seconds.

Be polite

A “please” here and a “thank you” there go a long way, so use them.

Return the favor

It’s always nice when you see someone struggling to take a photo to ask if they need a little help. I remember when I was by the Cristo in Rio, two sweet German girls felt so bad for me for only taking scenery shots that they asked up front to take my photo. I was so happy they did. So I’m sure others will appreciate it too.

If the photo is not good

Don’t be rude and ask someone else to take the same photo in front of the prior “photographer”. Wait for the person to leave and then approach someone else. No one wants to feel like they’re not good enough.

Extra tip: Don’t ask another girl’s Insta boyfriend for a picture. He’ll do it to be nice, all the while knowing he’s not going to get laid at night.

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