How to Self Shoot a Travel Film

As a filmmaker and travel blogger, I get excited when these two passions collide, as was the case in the #BarceloStories project with Barceló Hotels. My task was to self-shoot three separate short films about the experiences you can have at the hotel. Self shooting poses a unique set of challenges. Here are some tips on how to make your travel film look super professional, even when you don’t have a crew.

Create a shot list: Unlike a shoot where there is a DP who is helping define the story, in a self shot film you are acting as both the director and protagonist of the story which can be stressful in the field. I have found that it’s easiest to create a shot list and to plan your storyline ahead of time. Think about your opening shot, closing shot and transitions. Have a loose idea of the narrative so that you can stay organized.

Work with natural light: When you are self shooting you can’t rely on a lighting guy with reflectors to make your shots flawless. That’s why you should let the natural light make the magic for you. Check what time the sun rise set your alarm for about an hour before so you can be ready with your finger on the record button when dawn breaks. Also schedule your day so that you are in a prime location for sunset. The light usually gets even better right after the sun sets so stick around for that beautiful glowing sky. In this beach-themed film I used got really lucky with some gorgeous sunrise and sunset footage:

Go macro: Get super detailed shots of yourself and your surroundings by using the macro feature on your camera. Macro means shooting extremely zoomed-in footage or photography of small details. This is actually one of my favorite styles to shoot in. Here’s an example of how I used macro footage in this project.

Use reflections to your advantage: Mirrors, glass, water — all opportunities to get cool perspectives of yourself without a cameraman. These shots also add an artistic edge to your film!

Invest in the right tripods:  It goes without saying, but as a travel filmmaker, you should invest in durable tripods for your cameras. I currently have three: The Manfrotto MVT502AM tripod for my Canon 5D Mark III, the GoPro 3-Way Camera Mount for my GoPro, and the Joby GorillaPod for my Canon G7x Mark II. These three tripods have withstood windy beaches, bumpy car rides, and aerial adventures with no problem. The GoPro 3-Way is not only a tripod but a extender for your GoPro which I love to use underwater, like I did in this Tulum cenote:

Check all of the 26 filmmakers who were part of the #BarceloStories project at

I’d love to see your self-shot video!  Share your video links in the comments below.