How to Get a Stranger to Take Great Photos (of you!)
blogging,  Fashion,  Travel Tips

How to Get a Stranger to Take Great Photos (of you!)

My late husband was my personal photographer. So after he passed away, I had to find whoever that is available to take my photos. I usually plan ahead of time to ask my step-daughter, or a few friends to help me with during the weekends. Then I started my solo travel journey and I realized that my selfie skills are so limited. In order to get some great photos, I have to learn to ask strangers to take photos of me. As you can imagine, it was not easy at the beginning. What if they say no? What if they are bad people? What if they drop my camera and damage it? Lol, the struggles are real. But after nearly two years of practice, I think I found some tricks to find the right person and train them quickly for my photos. All the photos you see in this post were taken by strangers, so the photo credit goes to those unsung heroes! Lol!

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How to Get a Stranger to Take Great Photos (of you!)

1. Look For the Right Person

I usually look for a couple or a group of people with relaxing body laungage. If they are in a hurry, or in a bad mood, the chance of helping me with photos defiantly will be small. I have found that the best people to ask are usually younger generation from 20+ to 30+, as they have a sound understanding of how technology works, how to hold a camera steady for a good shot, and what photo layout that is good for Instagram. Better yet look for someone holding a DSLR camera that means they’ll know what they are doing.

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How to Get a Stranger to Take Great Photos (of you!)

2. Safety

I have not personally encounter any bad person yet. But I know in a lot of touristy places there’s always thieves on the lookout for an easy target. So I have to be careful with who I trust my camera with. As I mentioned above, I usually do a quick evaluation about the people I think may help me. I often look at their facial expression to see if it is relaxed or kind, their body language if confident or depressed. Their style is another way for me to tell if I can trust them as well. For example, backpacks, sporty shoes, camera, that means they are tourist as well so probably harmless. If I travel in big cities, I usually pick well dressed people since they can afford what they are wearing, there is no need to worry they will take my camera, right? Lol! Of course another thing as a single woman, I have to make sure the person I ask will not want to harm me in other ways. That is way I pick couples or a group people mixed with both genders.

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3. Introduce Yourself

Now that you have your target, the next step is to introduce yourself. My typical line will be “Excuse me! I am a blogger and need some photos for my blog, could you please take a few photos of me?” There was only one time I got rejected. They were two Chinese girls and their facial expression was like “What do you want?” Lol. I am a happy person in general, so I think my big smile, talkative personality helped with making it easy for others too! 😉

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4. Give as much direction as possible

I am not so camera savvy and the one I use just points and shoot type. So it is pretty easy for others to use. I give them less than one-minute training about how to use my camera and what exactly I want from that shot. After the first photo, I do ask to take a look first and then see if I need more shots.;) So it is very important that at the begining you ask them that you will need 5 minutes of their time to get a few more different angles.

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5. Exchange the favor

In an upside note, approaching people that are alone as well can sometimes be easier than people who are in a group because they are hoping to find someone to take their photos as well. Even if the people with someone else, I still ask if they need me to take photos of them.

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6. Say Thank you!

Well, this last point is really just good manners. Big smile and a sense of humor, makes everyone’s day better, right?

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Do you ever ask strangers to take a photo for you? What are your best tips? Have you had some funny encounters with strangers taking photos with your head cut off? lol!

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How to Get a Stranger to Take Great Photos (of you!)

Photo credit: Grace Liang

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Christ follower, wife, mom, and two time best selling author. Don't preach the message, become the message!


  • Julie Caron

    Wow, you’ve gotten some great photos from strangers. I take most of mine myself. If my daughter will help, it’s great, but that’s rare and my husband is the world’s worst photographer. Even if I set everything up for him and tell him exactly what to do, he keeps cutting off the feet or my head.

  • Lisa Richardson

    Mine problem is less about getting someone and more about being brave enough to be photographed in public areas. I can’t even bring myself to ask my husband to take a photo in an airport or shopping area for fear of being gawked at. You have some great pics.

  • Amy

    My husband and I are in our 50’s and we always have strangers ask us to take their picture. Maybe it’s because we are always carrying a DSLR like you said. I’ve never asked anyone to take my picture because I never want to be a bother, but I also never really needed too because if someone sees my husband taking my picture, they usually offer to take a picture of the two of us.

  • Angela

    I agree Grace, it can be hard to find someone to take a good photo as a solo traveler I have this problem all the time. Before my last trip, I purchased a GorillaPod tripod that’s small and lightweight and has let me take some of my own photos! I do the same thing as you – look for someone well dressed, haha!

    Angela |

  • Maricela

    What a great post, I truly enjoyed it and found it incredibly inpiring and informative. As someone who is always taking pictures of others, I don’t always get a picture of me in it, thank you for helping get the courage to walk up to a stranger and ask for their help.

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