Did you really go on vacation with your significant other if you didn’t get a photo together?
I remember the very first trip James and I took together as a couple – it wasn’t until four years after we started dating! (We were poor college kids and this was a big deal!). We went to Chicago in the throes of winter (now I understand why tickets were so cheap) and I remember wanting to get a photo together outside of the Field Museum. There was no one around since it was FREEZING, but I saw two park benches across from each other and had an idea.
I set our little point-and-shoot camera down on one bench, put on a 10-second timer and ran to the other bench with James. What resulted was a ridiculously out-of-focus photo of us, but hey – at least it’s a memory I’ll have … forever?
I’m pleased to report that our self-photography skills have since then improved. For starters, our camera equipment and skills have come a long way since our first trip together. But the key secret to our photos has been bringing a small tripod along with us on our adventures.
Sure, we ask our fair share of fellow tourists to take snap a photo for us. You know the dance – you ask a seemingly nice couple if they want their photo taken and then they ask them to hit you back. But I tend to be really picky with my photos and
sometimes most of the time, I like to be in the driver’s seat.
On our honeymoon to Italy in 2015, we brought along our Canon 60D DSLR and a travel tripod. Obviously, it’s a little difficult to set up a tripod in crowded, touristy areas, so we’d take photos on our hotel balcony or whenever we spotted a lull in foot traffic, like along the Arno River in Florence. It’s one of my favorite photos from our trip and one of our friends even asked if we had a professional photographer following us around!
These days, I like to travel a little lighter. The Sony A6000 is a great travel-friendly camera – otherwise, we just shoot with my iPhone XS Max!
What You’ll Need
- Cell phone with a decent camera
- Lightweight, travel-friendly tripod – I use this one for DSLRs, but have mainly relied on this lighter, more compact one to hold my iPhone
- Phone mount to attach to tripod
- Bluetooth remote (or an Apple Watch)
- A no-shame, nothing-to-see-here mindset when people are staring at your for taking self-portraits with a tripod!
How to Set Up the Shot
- Find a relatively low traffic area to set up your tripod. We’ve done it in more crowded areas, but are super alert of our surroundings and our stuff. James has almost been pickpocketed twice while traveling abroad and I’m not about to leave my phone out for the picking in the wide open!
- Have your partner stand as you set up your shot. Don’t forget to leave space for yourself! I like to have James hold up his hand around where my face would be so that the camera focuses in the area.
- Use a timer, your remote control or an Apple Watch. I think think the 10 second timer gives you enough time to run back to your spot. If you’re using an Apple Watch or remote control, three seconds should be enough to hide the remote and smile!
This process may require a lit bit of running back and forth and adjusting as needed. I promise the patience is worth it when you get that money shot!