Whenever I travel by myself, I’m faced with an annoyingly shallow quandary: as much as I enjoy the freedom and exhilaration that travelling solo provides, I really really dislike taking selfies.
And fellow solo travellers will know all too well that even if one has mastered the knack of pestering a bystander to take your photos, there still lies the likelihood of having to contend with the photographic skills (or lack thereof) of the said bystander.
I met the answer to this dilemma on a recent trip to Japan.
I was in Tokyo with my sister and her family and I booked us a photo session with Localgrapher, a company that provides a local and personal travel photographer on your travels.
Localgrapher has over 1,000 photographers and videographers in 800+ destinations worldwide. Just as its name suggests, a local photographer will provide a photo shoot service in your chosen city.
You know how
some most ideas sound better than they actually are? Localgrapher is actually the opposite. A seemingly simple concept is drastically changing how people take (or pose) for their travel photos.
Without further fanfare, I will let my photos by Localgrapher (shot in location at the world’s busiest intersection, Tokyo’s Shibuya crossing) do the talking so you can see why hiring a local photographer to document travel memories may be your best decision yet.
1.) NOT EVERYONE HAS AN INSTA-COMPANION
More and more people are discovering the joys of solo travel (I’m late in the game but hey, better late!), but one of the very few pitfalls of travelling by yourself is having to contend with selfies, or leaving the fate of your photographs in the hands of strangers. There’s also only so much that a tripod and a self-timer can do.
With Localgrapher, I’m leaving my best travel photographs in the hands of a professional, so that’s one less big thing to worry about. And without sounding too self-admiring, the biggest win here is that the photos that Localgrapher took of us actually look amazing!
Localgrapher is also popular with travel groups celebrating milestones like a family reunion, anniversaries, secret proposals, weddings, etc.
Or you could simply celebrate and commemorate travelling by yourself or with a group.
American photographer Aaron Siskind said it best: “Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever. It remembers little things long after you have forgotten everything.”
2.) EVERYONE DESERVES A GREAT HOLIDAY
Now I don’t know about you, but my idea of a good, relaxing holiday is spending almost ZERO time on mobile phones and cameras.
And my idea of quality time and conversation while travelling does not involve dialogues along the lines of, “Can you please take another one of me? I look fat in that angle.”
In this age of everyone trying to capture the perfect ‘insta-moment’, I’m not kidding when I say that I’ve seen many friendships and relationships reach boiling point and travel moments turn sour due to photograph taking.
After our 30-minute photoshoot with Localgrapher, the thought that we now have fantastic travel photos allowed us to be more carefree, just have a great time and really focus on spending time with each other, and also taking in more of the destination (Tokyo).
3.) LOCALGRAPHER IS A GREAT WAY TO MEET LOCALS
All of Localgrapher’s photographers and videographers (there are over 1,000 of them worldwide) are locals of the city you will be travelling to.
After we decided on a photoshoot date, Localgrapher gave me a list of local photographers available in the area to choose from. Each available photographer has their portfolio on the Localgrapher website so you can see if any of the photographers’ style match with yours.
We chose Kan, who has been living in Tokyo for over 10 years, because of his journalistic documentary street style.
On the day of our shoot, we met up with Kan and his wife at a designated spot just outside Shibuya station. Apart from the photoshoot, we enjoyed our time with the couple, who also gave us a few insider tips on how to go about Tokyo.
Our time and interaction with them, albeit short, was also one of the highlights of our Localgrapher experience.
4.) LET’S FACE IT: A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER WILL TAKE MUCH BETTER PHOTOS THAN YOUR SMARTPHONE.
In this age of smartphones and photography apps and filters, its very tempting to think that hiring a photographer for a travel photoshoot is an unnecessary luxury. After all, everyone is a photographer these days right?
Well, anyone can take photographs, but not everyone can take photographs like a professional.
No matter how eager of an Insta-bestie / boyfie / husband / companion you have and no matter how many presets and filter layers you apply to your shots, they really could never replace the skill of a professional photographer.
Prior to our photoshoot, Localgrapher connected Kan and I so we can discuss what we wanted for our shoot.
After finding out the ‘look’ I wanted, Kan then suggested that we hold our photoshoot at Shibuya Crossing, and also suggested the best time to have our shoot to best capture the city lights.
What also impressed me was that our entire photoshoot only took about 30 minutes. It really didn’t eat up much of our time. And in this short time, Kan was able to effectively instruct us how to pose for photographs in the middle of the world’s busiest intersection crossing. Let me tell you now that it’s no joke but Kan’s direction and skills made it so easy and fun.
5.) BECAUSE PHOTOGRAPHS STILL MAKE THE BEST TRAVEL SOUVENIRS
Author and cartoonist Ashleigh Brilliant said it best:
“Keep some souvenirs of your past, or how will you ever prove that it wasn’t all a dream?”
We all have our preference of souvenirs. Some collect fridge magnets, keychains and all other sorts of memorabilia.
I prefer to keep photographs of my travels. I take photographs as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.
And a Localgrapher photoshoot will not only capture these special moments , they also make perfect presents for your loved ones.
Localgrapher has different photo gift cards available (the Best Friend Photoshoot Gift Card is my pick!), and I personally think this is an ideal one of a kind present that will be remembered for a long, long time.
Discovering Localgrapher is a game-changer for me. Having a local photographer is one less worry to deal with as a solo traveller, and an added thing to look forward to! Selfies can sometimes be inevitable, but surely I will now be taking much, much less of them.
Have you ever booked a travel photoshoot? Where in the world would you like to have a photoshoot?
Our photoshoot was provided by Localgrapher, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.