Photo: Nicola Easterby
Photo: Nicola Easterby

Twenty-one year old blogger behind Polkadot Passport and Topdeck ambassador Nicola Easterby, travels the globe with a camera in hand. Her talent for travel photography landed her a gig with Topdeck two years ago, and since then she has been sent all across the world to do what she does best - take amazing photos whilst making desk dwellers green with envy.

While the life of a travel blogger might sound glamorous, Nicola says it is not without its challenges. More often than not, Nicola travels solo and has to get quite crafty to capture her treasured travel memories.

“There are many ways to describe the experience of travelling solo - exciting, scary, adventurous and at times inconvenient. Especially when all you want is a nice photo of you posing in front of the Eiffel Tower and all you can manage is a selfie. My advice? Put those selfie sticks away! The good news is it's easy to do if you have a few travel blogger tricks up your sleeve,” says Nicola.

1. Meet up with like-minded people
“One of the easiest ways to take better solo travel photos is to meet up with like-minded photographers. If you do a bit of research, you’ll find there are lots of amazing groups across the world who get together for photography meet-ups - a great way to connect with locals, who are often eager to show you their hometown and help you capture unique photos."

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“If you are interested in catching up with fellow shutterbugs while travelling, I also recommend jumping on a guided trip. They are a great way to meet new people and uncover off-the-beaten-track destinations which make for more interesting and unique travel photos.”

2. Use self-timers
“If you’re not quite brave enough to put your camera in the hands of a stranger, you can use the built- in self-timer – almost all cameras have them. All you need is a bench, a tree branch or somewhere sturdy to place your camera (even on top of your bag) while you run off to be in the picture.”

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3. Video screenshots
“Getting video footage is a bit more inconspicuous than a selfie stick. All you have to do is put your phone or camera on its video setting so you capture the action from an arm’s length away. This technique is just like taking a selfie, however it is less restrictive as it allows you to move around naturally and get a better range of shots. To get that picture perfect travel snap, sift through the footage and grab a screenshot - you’ll be surprised by the hidden gems you uncover!” says Nicola.

4. Work on your poses
“If you’re going to be posing alone, you need to have a few good stances ready to go. The key to a great solo travel shot is not taking yourself too seriously, so why not get a shot of yourself staring into the distance, jumping as high as you can or dancing around."

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“Another blogger trick is to get a picture of you holding food or drink in the air or a photo of your feet with a scenic location in the background. Both are nice ways to capture a shot that says ‘I was here’, plus you’ll be able to get more of your surroundings in the shot than if you took a traditional selfie, where your head takes up a third of the photo” says Nicola.

5. Team up with tour guides
“One of the big perks of travelling solo on a Topdeck trip is I have access to great hosts and trip leaders who know the best places to take photos in their city. If you’re on a day trip or a guided tour, don’t be afraid to ask your host about unique vantage points or the city’s hidden gems which you can visit in your free time. Engaging with your host is a great way to learn more about what you are photographing, which means every photo you take will have a rich story behind it.”

Photo: Nicola Easterby

6. Get your hands on the ultimate selfie camera
“There is no denying that a DLSR camera with four different lenses will produce an amazing shot, but it is expensive and can literally be a pain in the neck to carry around. If you want something which takes higher quality snaps than a smartphone but don’t want to spend mega bucks, check out the Sony NEX and Olympus PEN E-PL7. The Olympus is the ultimate selfie camera, it has a viewing screen which can be pulled down so you can see the photo you’re taking while the camera lens is facing you.”

7. Remote control your digital camera
“Remotely controlling your digital camera is a great way to get the perfect travel self-portrait or a different perspective on your images. The easiest way to remotely control your camera is with – you guessed it - a remote, which you can buy very cheaply. Your smartphone is also a fantastic controller which can be used to control different types of cameras. All you need to do is set up your camera on a tripod or flat surface in your favourite travel spots, get into position and start shooting."

"At first it can feel a little awkward, you might have to take a few test shots to make sure you’re in the frame, but I promise practice makes perfect and with the help of some handy tech you will be on your way to capturing amazing solo travel snaps.”

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