Take Nothing But Pictures: Outdoor Photography Tips

Now that Dickies has inspired you to go on all sorts of outdoor adventures, it’s time to capture those great memories so that you have a permanent reminder – whether it’s of a beautiful sunset, the view from the top of a mountain or a rare bird species that you spotted along the way.

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Outdoor photography can be tricky, however – you have to deal with ever-changing lighting, all kinds of weather conditions, and movement from the animals or people you’re trying to capture. We’ve rounded up some useful outdoor photography tips to help beginners point, click and shoot their way to glorious outdoor images.

Helpful Hints

  • Take advantage of what is known as the “magic hour”. This is the time of day that occurs when the sun is about to rise, or has just set, and provides you with soft warm lighting and interesting shadows.
  • If you have the space in your bag, bring along your tripod. This will help avoid camera shake and blurred images – particularly in low light conditions, when the camera shutter needs to be kept open longer to expose the image.

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  • Take the time to compose your shot and choose what you want to focus on. You don’t have to capture everything in one image! Make it interesting. Be aware of the different elements you see through your lens, and how they relate to one another. If you are to be waiting for the perfect shot and the heavens open to reveal a sudden down pour, be sure to be wearing waterproofs to keep yourself dry.
  • Good advice from Discovery: “Don’t put the horizon in the centre of your shot; it’s merely a dividing line between the sky or the Earth. Emphasize either the sky or the ground.”
  • Don’t be afraid to zoom in on your subject – this can make for a very interesting shot, such as a close-up of a bee on a flower, for example. Obviously, this does depend on the zoom capacity of your camera. Be aware that the more you zoom in on a subject, the more the camera shake, which is particularly important in poor light situations.

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  • Avoid shooting in direct sunlight. If your subject is human, they will probably be squinting into the lens, which does make a good portrait. The direct sunlight also creates harsh directional shadows.
  • Experiment with different angles. According to Outdoor Photographer, “When you get a camera down low and point it up at a close-up subject, you often get dramatic views of the world and your subject in it. You can use the sky not just as sky, but as background. You can include clouds, trees and even the sun in the composition.”
  • Compare and contrast sizes. For example, it’s hard to get a sense of how big a mountain or a field is if there is nothing else in the shot – Discovery’s handy guide suggests that you “Show the size of an object by including a subject of contrasting size to show a sense of scale.”

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These are very much basic tips – if you have a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera, as opposed to your standard point and click, you can do so much more – experiment with different lenses, filters, and exposure settings, among other elements. Indeed, the possibilities are endless.

We hope these tips have come in handy – and we’d love it if you’d share your outdoor snaps with us! Do you have any advice for aspiring outdoor photographers? Share your insights in the comments section below.

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