Yeah, Ok, we get it, the classic “Follow Me To” photos captured and created by Russian professional photographer Murad Osmann and his stunning wife Natalia Zakharova are drool worthy enough to make anyone re-think their travel, relationship, and wardrobe goals. Couples (and even “fake” couples) around the world have tried to copy what is probably the most perfect duo-pose ever created, some with great success, and some with utter (yet hilarious) failure.
But what if you don’t have a professional photographer boyfriend? Or for that matter, what if you don’t have someone’s hand to hold in a photo because you choose to travel solo? Hi, I’m Alyssa, I travel solo full-time and I take all of my own photos (of the back of my head) with a GoPro and a “selfie stick”.
I never meant to attempt copying the infamous couple pose, but I do always joke that for halloween I’m going to put a fake hand on my “selfie stick” and claim to be Murad and Natalia (I’m going to call them “Muratalia” for short). In fact, it actually didn’t occur to me that I had created the solo-travel-follow-me-to style until I happened to see an article in the Indian Express that basically explained my novice-photography skills for me...I swear that’s a #humblebrag.
Granted, as a budget solo traveler, my camera gear and wardrobe aren’t nearly as incredible as Muratalia’s, but I do have some mad skills with a GoPro, and tend to pick up local traditional clothing wherever I am to add to my photos. As long as they can fit in the one carry-on that I travel the world with.
Anyway, the goal of the back-of-head angle, which I’m sure might be somewhat relative to Muratalia’s, is to personalize travel photos, and add an interesting subject, without overpowering the photo with your face. I personally aim to capture the beauty of the place I’m traveling in, and divert the focus to the landscape, rather than make the picture mostly about me.
I also like this angle, because I personally hate taking photos of my face. It’s not that I don’t like my face...it’s that not only is it awkward to pose for your own camera, but also awkward when people catch you doing it. Do you have any idea how long it took me to get people to shut up about the fact that I use a selfie stick to get all of my photos?
That’s right. All of these photos were taken with a selfie stick that I strategically whipped out when no one was looking, angled, got the shot, then shoved everything back in my purse or backpack. My selfie stick makes incredible angles, and allows me to be in the shot without having to ask someone to take my photo. It also doubles as a tripod when I prop it up inside my purse, which I love to show on Snapchat for those, “Who’s taking the picture if you travel solo?” people.
Then, once my selfie stick is in place, I use my iPhone and the GoPro app to preview the shot and take my own photo, making me the Murad and the Natalia, but maybe mixed with a little Lara Croft, all at the same time. It’s a little harder when you’re holding a metal pole instead of someone’s hand when you’re hanging over a cliff or out of a helicopter to take a photo, amIright? But PS: Don’t try that at home.
For a full tutorial on how I take my own photos click here.
Wondering how I’m typically the only person in my travel photos? Along with the back-of-head selfie, I’ve also mastered techniques for getting photos with no people in them, which usually involves getting up at 5am. I don’t use Photoshop, nor do I even know how to, but I do like to add a little bit of pizazz (AKA HDR) to my photos using the Snapseed app on my phone.
So yeah! Who says you need a man (or woman...or professional photographer...) to lead around the world and get token follow-me-to photos with? You can travel solo and still get just as stunning as a shot, and with more street cred because you took ‘em yourself!