Using Photography for Your Outdoor Adventures

If you are planning an outdoor adventure whether with family, friends or on your own, and you want to make sure you’ve leave with beautiful shots you can proudly show off on your social media accounts, we have some tips no matter your level of photography. And regardless of what you encounter, mother nature offers countless opportunities to capture spectacular photos.

Learn Your Environment

Before you leave on your trip, learn as much as you can about your destination and what type of shots you want to capture,” says Michael Will. Photos that look spontaneous are often planned out in advance. Learn when the sun sets and at what direction, know what days you may get rain, think about specific locations you’re interested in. Lighting is your biggest guide in any shot. Get comfortable with, and adapt to your surroundings.


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As mentioned, lighting will help guide your photography. There are many ways to dramatize shots using light to get what you are looking for.  If you’re shooting at nighttime, learn how to use your camera's flash by practicing at a nearby park before your trip. As a  general rule, you want contrast. For example, if your subject is a big beautiful dark tree, it’s a good idea to contrast it with a light background and vice versa. If your subject is the night sky, find the moon and use a flash to give it that contrast.

Know Your Equipment

What type of camera are you working with? Whether you have a DSLR camera, a point and shoot, or a smartphone camera, learn all you can about it before your trip. So many great photo opportunities can be a missed by skipping this step.  Here is a quick checklist from veteran photojournalist Brian Henry:

  • What are all the features on your DSLR, or other type of camera? Learn your camera's settings and features before your trip.

  • Did you pack a wide angle lens? (A must for the outdoors).

  • Will you need a tripod?

  • Do you have a backup SD card or do you have enough space on your smartphone?

  • Did you bring a laptop, and charger?

  • Are photos properly syncing on your cloud?

If you’re working with your smartphone's camera, you can wow your Instagram followers by using third party apps that you can download. These can help improve your shots. You may have to spend a few dollars but it is worth the investment. Here’s a list some apps.

Look for Rare Features

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Make your photos are eye-catching by looking out for rare and unique features to incorporate into your shot. Sure, views are wonderful to capture, but do you notice anything different that you can include in the shot? Can you wait for the flock of birds to pass and try to capture them? What about using a tree to give your shot some composition? Can the tree be your subject? Sometimes, it is these tiny details that will give your shot that breathtaking effect.

Aim For Unique Angle

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Ryan Zarichnak advises, “Don’t just take a shot as things appear to you. You need be willing to change your sight level.” Photographers do crazy things to get that perfect angle because they know how important the angle is in the overall shot. Be aware of how your subject is lined up with the background and foreground. Move around to get a feel for the possibilities. Aim for balance in your shot and if you are taking a photo of a person, aim to get at their height. Also, don’t be afraid to get close.  If you’re scratching your head at this point, check out some YouTube videos about angles and composition. Always experiment and look for a unique and interesting angle for all your shots.

Use Lightroom

If you’ve been photographing for a while, you probably know what Lightroom is. Lightroom is an Adobe editing tool that allows you to organize, edit, and share your photography.  Lightroom also has a mobile app that you can download to edit your smartphone pictures. It is very easy to use and many photographers, especially those just starting out, prefer it over Photoshop because as it allows them to easily control the color and other details of their photos as well as store all their pictures them in one place.

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Are you Ready?

Before your trip, make sure to plan ahead and have an idea of what types of shots you want to achieve. Know your equipment as this will avoid any missed opportunities and save you time. Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment. No matter what type of camera you have, you can take amazing pictures of your outdoor adventures if you follow these tips.


Brendan Hufford

Slow LivingContributor