10 Tips on how to take great outdoor photos

By Paul Pinkerton
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10 Tips on how to take great outdoor photos

Paul Pinkerton
 
 
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When we go on an adventure, we always want to capture and keep those beautiful memories forever. Going on a camping or hiking trip is nothing if you don’t have the evidence for bragging to your friends. And these days it’s so easy to take a photo when there is a camera on almost every electronic device we have.

But owning a camera doesn’t necessary mean that you’re a good photographer and you can take good photos. Buying a fancy DSLR camera doesn’t automatically make you a great outdoor photographer. You have to earn the title, by practicing and mastering the craft of capturing beautiful moments.

 

When I first got my Nikon D3100, I thought I would take beautiful photos of landscapes straight out of the box. But, I was wrong. It took me few months to learn how to capture good outdoor pictures. Even today, I still learn new tricks when I spend some time with my camera in the outdoors.

 

If you’re a beginner in outdoor photography, here are some tips on how to take your photos to the next level.

 

1. Light

 

The basic way photography works is by using light. The light source reflects and illuminates colors back to the lens, and that’s how you capture a picture. So, always have in mind that you can get a great shot by playing around with the light.

For example, use the sun beams that fall through the trees and create perfect soft shadows. Make that your background to the focus element standing in front of it.

 

2. Horizon

 

A photo of a horizon is composed of three elements: sky, the horizon, and ground, or sea. If you’re capturing a landscape, don’t put the horizon in the center of the shot. Since it is dividing the sky from the sea or the ground, only one of them needs to be the focus of the photo. Make sure that you either emphasize the sky or the ground/sea.

 

3. Low light

 

When you’re taking shots with little natural light, make sure that you use a tripod, or place the camera on a flat surface. When the light is low, the shutter stays open longer to let in the light and expose the shot. So if the camera is not stable, you will have blurry and bad photos.

 

4. Size matters

 

When capturing a photo of a big or small structure, it is crucial to have another element in the same shot. With the help of that element, you will be able to compare the two elements and get a feel for the actual size of each.

For example, if you take a photo of just a mountain, the viewer will not be able to see how big the mountain is. But, if there is a person in the same shot, the comparison of the mountain and the human will emphasize the big stone structure.

It is very important how you arrange the elements in each shot. Every time you capture a moment, there has to be one thing that’s in the focus of the shot. There has to be a foreground, middle-ground, and background.

5. Composition

 

It is very important how you arrange the elements in each shot. Every time you capture a moment, there has to be one thing that’s in the focus of the shot. There has to be a foreground, middle-ground, and background.

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For example, if you take a photo from the beach, there are three elements: the beach, the sea, and the sky. To give some depth to the picture, you need to know how they relate to each other.

 

6. Filter

 

By using some filters, you could get richer shots, with more colors and deeper tones. Also, you could emphasize and add some crispness to a particular element or color.

If you use a polarizing filter, you will get shots with fewer reflections, and deeper blue colors. And if you want more contrast to your photos, make sure you use the haze filter.

 

7. Wide angle

 

If you have the space in your backpack, make sure you pack an extra wide angle lens. By using it, you could get some dope shots, and you won’t have to cut out from the vast landscapes. With the wide-angle lens, you’ll be able to broaden your frame and capture the entire view.

 

8. Natural elements

 

When taking a photo in nature, the challenge is bigger than taking one indoors. The weather conditions, hence the lightning, is constantly changing, and you cannot do anything about it. So, you have to adapt to the environment and learn how to use it to your advantage. Add some mystery to your photos by using the natural light, sunbeams, fogs, clouds, etc.

 

9. Soul of the place

 

When you are in a location, you have to make sure that you take a photo that represents its spirit. If you travel around, taking a picture of the local citizens, it’s a good way of capturing the soul of the destination. The locals will give you a real sense of what the atmosphere and life in the place are like. Just be unnoticed, and be careful not to invade their privacy.

10. Timing

 

Maybe one of the most important elements when taking a good outdoors photograph is the timing. It’s crucial to be in the right place at the right time. So make sure that you plan ahead before going somewhere to take that shot. For example, plan for when and where the sun will go down. In that way, you will capture the best sunset horizon photo..

 

 

So don’t worry if your photos aren’t so good at the beginning. All you need to do is practice and follow these few tips. Eventually, you’ll get to the point where you take great pictures of our beautiful world.

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