You’re at a beautiful location like the Grand Canyon or the Eiffel Tower and you’re dreaming of crafting the perfect Insta-worthy photograph. The problem is you’re alone, without a tripod, and your only option is to pleadingly ask a stranger nearby to take a quick snap. When you get your camera back, the horizon is wonky, you’re sporting a double chin, and not even a filter is going to save the exposure. Not great! So, how do you get a stranger to take a good photo of you? Here are some ways to kindly nudge your impromptu photographer in the right direction.

woman taking photo

1. Tell your stranger/photographer exactly where to stand

There’s nothing worse than wanting a nice picture of yourself, handing your camera over to a stranger and seeing them squat down or use a heavy hand on the zoom. Now you have a lovely photo that's 90% of your face and a sliver of the Grand Canyon in the background. There’s the issue of them just completely ignoring what you wanted in the background, placing you smack-bang in the middle of the shot (rule of thirds, please!) or including way too much sky or ground. When it comes to asking, there’s no harm in very politely suggesting your stranger/photographer stands in a particular place, or angle the camera towards the view you want.


2. Get them to take A LOT of photos

Gone are the old days of film photography when we had one shot to get it right. Get the person who has offered to take a picture of you to take a bunch of photos and then during editing, you can choose the best one. If you feel bad about making them stay and be your own personal Annie Leibovitz, pop your camera or phone on burst mode - just make sure you move around, or else you will have ten photos of you looking the same. Let the person wielding the camera know that you want a candid shot or else they might think you’re a bit crazy dancing around in front of them.

snow photos

3.  Choose someone who looks like they know what they are doing.

At most popular attractions there will be photographers milling around doing what they do best. If you want a killer shot, pick someone who looks like they might be a photographer or at least someone who knows how to wield a camera. Of course, it's not a good idea to interrupt someone who is composing the perfect shot, but you might just find they want a picture of themselves too. Look for people that might be toting around a couple of lenses or a sturdy camera bag. Score!

While getting a great photo might take a bit of juggling, and a little grovelling to poor strangers, you will always regret the photos you don’t take - not the ones you do. Next time you’re travelling alone, don’t be afraid to recruit a stranger to get the shot. Who knows, you might make a friend!