HomeTravelGetting strangers to take good photos

Getting strangers to take good photos

There are many instances on your travels when you will find yourself at a picturesque spot that would make the perfect photo of you (and quite possibly your other half). The only slight problem is the proverbial spanner in the works that, unless you are travelling in a group, who will take the award-winning shot?

This is the part where you prevail on the kindness of a passing stranger. However, given that there’s no guarantee they will take a good shot, here are a few tips to ensure they don’t crop your head off… 

Pick the right person

While you can’t judge a book by its cover, or similarly a photographer by their attire, there are some candidates who will be more up to the task than others. Namely, anyone carrying an actual camera or other tourists who are having the same struggles. Avoid asking anyone who looks like they’re in a hurry, or is having a domestic with their other half, and beware that in some countries opportunistic locals may expect a tip in return. 

Be polite

Rather than just stuffing your camera in someone’s face it’s important to remember your manners. Greet them in the local language, if appropriate, and ask them for your photo using your please and thank yous. Another good way to get the best out of your impromptu photographer is to offer to take their photo as a starting point and then follow up with your request. Nine times out of 10 most travellers will ask you to take their photo in reciprocation anyway, so beat them to the punch. This has the added bonus of allowing you to set up the shot in the way you would like it taken. Also, by taking multiple shots for them as options, you will hopefully encourage them to follow suit.

Have your camera ready to go

Make it as easy as possible for your savior by having your camera on the right settings. Make sure the flash is on or off depending on what you want and that all they need to do is fire away. Another great option is to set your camera to rapid shoot so that you get as many images as possible from which to choose.

Ask for what you want

If you don’t ask you won’t get. Having said that refer to the first point and make sure you do so politely so as not to offend anyone. Don’t be patronising but it’s ok to say that you’d like a full length or vertical / horizontal shot and what you’re trying to fit in the frame. Listen to what your kind stranger says though as they are the one that can see what is or isn’t in the shot!

Say thank you

No one has to give up their time to help you create memories of your holiday so make sure you say a big, heartfelt, thank you after they’ve assisted you. 


Some considerate candidates may suggest that you should check the photos they’ve taken before they get on with their travels to ensure you are happy with them. I always find this is a tough one. On one hand if they offer and you’re not happy you can always ask them to take a few more but this can begin to become annoying. Also it can become awkward if you’re clearly not happy with the photos they’ve taken. I prefer to thank them regardless and wait a few minutes until they’ve moved on before asking someone else to step up to the task.

What do you think? Are you a second chance giver or team take two? 

Related articles:
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Beginners guide to Instagram
Taking travel photos – what to use

YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices Writershttp://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/
YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.
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