Hipcamp Journal

3 Tips for the Solo Photographer

Shooting alone? No problem. Here's how to stage it like you're not.


Ah, to be a Hipcamp Field Scout. I'm so grateful for the opportunities this program has given me (learn about how to become a Field Scout here.) I get to spend time outdoors, explore new areas of the great state that I live in, practice my craft of photography, and, of course, give my rescue pup the greatest adventure of his life.

And sure, it's easy to get my dog to come along on Field Scout trips, but scheduling with other people (read: subjects) can be tricky. I thrive on self-sufficiency and don’t like my adventure plans hinging on others, so when my friends aren’t able to make a scouting trip with me, I'm more than happy to travel alone with my dog. But shooting solo means I've got to be both the photographer and the subject, which can be challenging. Here are a few photography tips that have helped me thus far when scouting locations solo.


1. Shoot smarter, not harder


You've probably heard that anxious voice in the back of your head saying, “I have to get this shot or my life is over,” and so you click, click, click. Why not try something different next time? Get to the location and refrain from pulling out your camera right away. Instead, get the lay of the land, relax, and really arrive so you can feel the space. Crack that beer open that you’ve been chilling on ice for hours. By leaving my camera in its bag for the first 30 minutes, I'm able to be more mindful and selective of the photos I want to spend my time on. Bonus? I'll have more time to hang out with hosts, play with my pup, or just sip on some whiskey by the fire.


3 Tips for the Solo Photographer

Photo by Maegen Leake at Glacier Mountain Camp


2. Perfect your solo settings


You don't need apps or remotes to take great staged shots (though they can be helpful.) Take awesome camp selfies by following these steps:

  1. Set your camera up (on a rock, stump or tripod)
  2. Position for composition, exposure, etc.
  3. Focus in on the area you’ll want to capture, then switch to manual focus to lock in
  4. Set a self-timer (I typically do a single shot at 10 seconds but continuous is also an option)
  5. Magic!


3 Tips for the Solo Photographer

Photo by Maegen Leake at Glacier Mountain Camp


3. Act Natural


Luckily, because you’re scouting alone, nobody is watching how ridiculous you look. Acting out scenes can actually be pretty fun though. To avoid looking too posed or awkward, I try to be physically doing something when the timer goes off: try putting logs on the fire, pouring a drink, or petting your dog. You'll also score hilarious blooper photos that you can laugh at for the rest of your days.


3 Tips for the Solo Photographer

Photo by Maegen Leake at Kenosha Pass Yurt

3 Tips for the Solo Photographer


Follow along with Maegen's adventures on Hipcamp and Instagram

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