Tips For Taking Incredible Travel Selfies: How To Look Less Awkward

Tips For Taking Incredible Travel Selfies How To Look Less Awkward ReneeRoaming WhereTFisLena Bali

I think we can all agree that taking travel selfies can feel pretty awkward, especially in the middle of a crowded tourist attraction with strangers watching you.

What is it that worries you most when having your picture taken for the gram or otherwise? Are you not feeling confident in the way you look that day? You’re not sure what pose best suits you? Or maybe you’re not in that #travelcouplegoals relationship where your professional photographer partner takes amazing photos of you everywhere you go?

The list can go on and on. Trust me, these are questions I and plenty others have asked. So keep reading to find out how to finally muster the confidence to look and feel less awkward in your travel selfies.

Tips For Taking Incredible Travel Selfies

Guest post by Lena Nikolaj from @WhereTFisLena

How To Look Less Awkward in photos
Model: @WhereTFisLena, Photographer: @LouisHouiller

My Travel Selfie Journey

Hey, I’m Lena, a 27 year old free spirit raised in a traditional Albanian household with a strong appetite for adventure. I initially thought I would find that adventure through modeling, but a much louder voice kept calling my name. Travel.

Six years ago, against the cultural mold, I moved out of my house before marriage and moved to NYC (in my culture, this was a big no-no!) Born a Michigan girl, I always knew NYC had bigger plans for me. In May 2018, I attended a Social Media Marketing course at The Institute of Code where I met the wonderful Renee, from Renee Roaming (thank you for taking my goals to the next level!)

Thus, the travel blogger in me was born. With this newfound passion, I took everything I learned from my modeling experiences (awkward and all) and coupled them with the one thing I love to do most – travel. This is exactly what brought me the confidence I have now and the drive to help you see that your dreams aren’t as unrealistic as you think.

Solo travel photography
Model: @WhereTFisLena, Photographer: @LouisHouiller

Build Your Confidence

First and foremost, understand that you are the only you we’ve got. DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT compare yourself to others. If Gaga listened to all the jerks who criticized her nose she wouldn’t be the Grammy Award winning goddess she is today. (Anybody else still crying over A Star is Born?) So stop complaining about your flaws and learn to love them.

You have to be unique, and different, and shine in your own way.”  – Lady Gaga

It wasn’t until this year that I gained more confidence than ever.  I started to realize that wishing I looked a certain way was suuuch a waste of my damn time! What’s the point in putting yourself down when you can bring yourself up, gain more confidence, and create more happiness in your life.

Thanks to my sister, I started reading a ton of self-help books like: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Big Magic, You Are a Badass, The Power of Now, and so much more. On top of that, I was listening to podcasts from Gary Vee to Impact Theory to Super Soul Conversations with Oprah, and more (if you want my long list of these top-rated self-development books and podcasts feel free to message me on Instagram!)

Point is, it is ABSOLUTELY possible to become more confident.

Especially nowadays, with where the digital world has come, there is so much material out there and so many people that can relate to you in some way. Everything is literally at your fingertips. Research, research, research.

Now, my last piece of advice on becoming more confident. And read this with an open mind because it may sound a little strange… Look in the mirror every. single. day. and tell yourself at least 10 affirmations or words of self lovekinda like this (that clap at 0:32 though – hysterical!) But seriously, give yourself some compliments.

True story, I’ve actually cried tears of gratitude after just doing this a couple times. You’ll be shocked at how effective this is if you just stay consistent with it.  I can finally say, ‘I love my damn self.”

Having confidence is your first step towards taking better travel selfies, feeling good about yourself, and overall being more happy!

Solo travel photography tips
Model: @WhereTFisLena, Photographer: @Satanssj

Relax and Be Yourself

When it comes to taking incredible travel selfies, don’t stress it and have some fun! Find your authentic self and show it to the world (unapologetically). Do something silly, dance around and laugh about it. Who cares if it seems awkward. It’s only awkward if you make it awkward. Try to forget the people around you… because you’re probably never going to see them again anyway.

Candid pictures are becoming much more appreciated as they show a little part of your personality. These kinds of pictures are more intimate and relatable. So look around you, take in the scene, and remember that your future you will be thankful to have captured this beautiful experience.

I’m kind of obsessed with waterfalls and always try to truly feel the moment when I am around them. It’s important to take a step back and realize just how lucky you are to be traveling and experiencing the incredible scenery around you – gratitude always!

The things this world has to offer is completely astounding. So think and appreciate that instead of worrying about looking awkward or how many likes you’re going to get.

Tips For Taking Incredible Travel Selfies How To Look Less Awkward ReneeRoaming WhereTFisLena
Model: @WhereTFisLena, Photographer: @Satanssj

Get to Know Your Angles

Another mirror assignment: pose your little heart out in front of it! Work those angles child. Get comfortable in your own skin, in private and away from the crowds. Relax your body, especially your shoulders and face. Find your look. Take 100 selfies until you do, study what you like and imprint it in your brain.

You can even watch YouTube videos on how to pose. You. Can. Learn. Anything. On. YouTube! Sorelle Amore, Jenn Im, and Fashion By Ally have created videos that really teach you some tricks on how to look less awkward in travel selfies.

Tips For Taking Incredible Travel Selfies How To Look Less Awkward ReneeRoaming WhereTFisLena NYC
Model: @WhereTFisLena, Photographer: @RandyGoPhoto

Plan Your Outfit

Believe me, I am no fashionista. I’d rather spend my time and money on adventure. I still get stressed out trying to plan an outfit for a certain backdrop. But when I finally do, it always ends up being worth it. You feel incredible, you become more confident and your travel selfies nearly always come out better.

A pretty flowy dress makes for fun poses and a beautiful wanderlust shot, or throwing on a hat can cover second day hair and bring your outfit to life. Color coordination is important – pick a bright color that pops, or maybe go for something neutral that nicely compliments the setting.

I used to tell myself that I wasn’t into fashion so I could convince myself that I didn’t have to spend money on clothes. Quit lyin’ to yoself! Treat yourself, have fun, and get creative!

Tips For Taking Incredible Travel Selfies How To Look Less Awkward ReneeRoaming WhereTFisLena
Model: @WhereTFisLena, Photographer: @EyesOfaNomad

Use a Prop

Using a prop gives you something to do with your hands and can distract you from being so worried about looking awkward. It can also help travel selfies look more interesting.

Props can be as simple as a hat, bag, or jacket (putting one hand in your pocket can help tremendously!) or they can be more elaborate like a bicycle, flowers, blanket, glass, camera etc.

Create a Folder of Poses

Whenever you come across a pose or composition you like SAVE it! This is not about copying other peoples work, it’s about trying on new things and seeing if you can adapt it to suit your style.

Consider creating a collection of inspiring photos/poses on Instagram or a board on Pinterest (like my examples above). This way you can always have something handy to refer to when planning your shots or when you’re feeling uninspired.

Tips For Taking Incredible Travel Selfies How To Look Less Awkward ReneeRoaming WhereTFisLena NYC
Model: @WhereTFisLena, Photographer: @Xenarawr

Avoid The Crowds

Avoiding the crowds is another secret to feeling less awkward and getting some practice poses in before the masses arrive. Wake up early. I’m talking butt-crack-of-dawn early.

I know it sounds tough but the end result is so worth it. That ‘golden hour’ light makes everyone and everything look 100% better! A 5 AM sunrise equals less people, amazing light for your travel selfies, and freedom to be yourself.

Tips For Taking Incredible Travel Selfies How To Look Less Awkward ReneeRoaming WhereTFisLena Bali
Model: @WhereTFisLena, Photographer: @LouisHouiller

Tips For Traveling Solo

For those traveling solo, avoiding crowds is the best way to take pictures on your tripodcheck out the camera gear Renee uses. No one will see how funny you look running back and forth to fix the functions, angles, etc.

If you don’t have a tripod or are unable to bring it to a certain area just ask someone for help. Some things to be aware of when doing this is to make sure they seem trustworthy, most of the time the vibes don’t lie. Also, seek someone who has a camera around their neck, this way you know they have an idea of how to take a decent picture.

If you want to go into further detail on taking beautiful solo travel selfies check out Christina Galbato, Sorelle Amore, and Renee also goes into detail in this blog post about taking stunning couples travel photos (can be applied to solo travelers!)

Tips For Taking Incredible Travel Selfies How To Look Less Awkward ReneeRoaming WhereTFisLena NYC
Model: @WhereTFisLena, Photographer: @Xenarawr

Have Fun!

Again, most importantly, just have fun. My biggest motivator is to never look back and regret not capturing the beauty this world has to offer in the best way that reveals it through my own eyes.

I hope this blog post helps you in some way to become more confident and feel less awkward in your travel selfies!

Share your own tips for everyone in the comments section below!

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Tips For Taking Incredible Travel Selfies How To Look Less Awkward ReneeRoaming WhereTFisLena Bali


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  1. Incredible advices! It also serves as motivational read for the morning. Such a great job, Lena!
    I was laughing reading about clothes part. I used to make same kind of excuses. But the truth is, planning outfit (at least a little bit) really improves the travel pictures.

  2. Such good advice! I’ve recently had a look at the photos I’ve posted… I’ve chosen the back of my head pose because I haven’t been comfortable enough to show much of my face and I don’t want to be a model… the problem is, you can’t really see the silly, cheesy, laughing side of me which happens to be the real me. So my new plan is to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and let me shine 🙂 😛

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