Outdoor photography involves taking pictures outside. It is a wide field of photography and involves wildlife photography, landscape photography, travel photography as well as all other forms of photography that are done outside of a building. Keeping tested and found to be true outdoor photography tips in mind will help you capture breathtaking images. It will also make outdoor photography an enjoyable and rewarding experience for you.
Related: Landscape Photography Tips
So, let’s look at a few things that you will want to keep in mind when outside, to get the most out of your camera, and capture images that you will be proud to call your own.
When going for an outdoor photo shoot, make sure you pack smart. You will want to ensure that you take along enough supplies to keep you going and the right gear for the images that you are after. If you are planning to hike to distant locations, however, you will want to keep things light.
Take along adequate food and water and also sun protection or a light jacket in case of rain. For gear, if you are hiking, take along only the lenses that you might need, as well as a few key accessories. Key accessories to take along include; a lens hood to reduce glare, a polarizer, and ND filter if you have them.
For capturing images of landscapes and dramatic skies, a wide-angle lens is ideal while a telephoto lens is best for photographing wildlife. A tripod or a monopod is really important for low-light photography or long exposures.
Time your outing to coincide with the best time of the day for an outdoor photo shoot. Shooting at midday is notoriously difficult so it is not an ideal time to shoot landscape photography due to the harsh shadows and blown out highlights.
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It is also difficult to shoot outdoor portraits at midday since the harsh sun will cause your subjects to squint. For most outdoor photography, the best times of the day to shoot are early mornings and late afternoons. During these hours, you get beautiful, diffused lighting with fewer harsh shadows. These periods also present the best times of the day to capture wildlife. If you, however, find yourself shooting in bright sun, consider moving into the shade.
Work With The Light
It is usually a bad idea to shoot towards the sun. You will end up with washed out images or dark shadows. You should try to pay attention to the direction of light and work with it in order to enhance your images if you can. It is usually best to shoot with the sun behind you since this will result in a well-illuminated landscape.
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Shoot In Raw
Shooting in RAW gives you the most flexibility in post-processing and allows you to get the result you desire. Although you may not be too concerned with post-processing when you are first starting out at some point you may want to experiment with editing your images, so shoot RAW when you want to do this.
For capturing landscape images, wide-angle lenses are a popular choice. They tend to emphasize the sense of distance and space into the scene; and cause objects that are close to appear larger and more imposing. Wide-angle lenses are especially ideal for capturing images that include a lot of foregrounds.
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For some outdoor shooting, a telephoto lens is best. This is especially true for wildlife photography. You can also use a telephoto to make far-away elements such as mountains or the moon appear closer.
Slow Shutter Speed
There are opportunities to use a slow shutter speed to create long exposures, you just have to look for them. You can even gently blur movements such as rushing waterfalls, drifting clouds, or rippling fields to add a soft, artistic touch to your images. Most of the time, you will likely will need an ND filter to help filter some of the light when capturing long exposures during the day if you are using slow shutter speeds.
Watch The Horizon
When composing your images, it is important that you keep your eye on the horizon. You will want to ensure it is perfectly level and not dipping off to the side. Also, you will want to pay attention to the position of the horizon. You may choose to lower it to include more of an interesting sky or you may raise it to capture more of the foreground in your image. In most cases, you will want to avoid having the horizon in the center of your image as it will make the image look like it was cut in half.
Include Plenty Of Foreground
Foreground can help to set the stage for your composition and also add context to your image. So in most cases, you will want to include foreground images in your landscape images. A very interesting foreground can even serve as the main point of interest in your photo.
It is very important that an outdoor photographer has a polarizing filter. Polarizers work by only allowing light in from certain angles. You can rotate the filer to improve color saturation or to remove unwanted surface glare. This a must-have item for outdoor photographers. Polarizers work by only allowing light in from certain angles.
Polarizing filters can also help to cut through atmospheric haze thereby making distant mountains appear clearer and in-focus. They also help to separate clouds from the sky, darkening them also making them stand out more.
Cameras are good at guessing the white balance but they don’t get it right all the time. Sometimes, you will need to adjust the white balance manually. If you are shooting in RAW, this won’t be much of a problem as you can always adjust the white balance during the post-processing stage later on.
Include a focal point when composing your images. When you are composing your images, you should include a main focal point. Your focal point could be a mountain, a barn or house in the distance, or even a lone tree in the middle of a field. Having a focal point in your image will help to anchor it, and make for a more powerful composition.
You should look out for leading lines that will help you to compose your image. Leading lines include; a fence, a jagged coastline, winding roads or trails. It is not a must that leading lines have to be obvious, even objects that aren’t linear, such as stepping stones, can be used to lead the eye on through the image and towards the main point of interest.
Reflections And Water
Water can be such a beautiful feature in outdoor images, helping to add a touch of beauty and also tranquility to a scene. You should try to incorporate water into your images to help add something special to your landscape images.
Look For Wildlife
When outdoor taking photographs, you should be on the lookout for wildlife. Outdoor photography provides you with a great chance to capture some wildlife images. Wildlife images are usually best captured with a telephoto lens, somewhere between 100mm and 300mm is ideal. This allows you to close to the animals without frightening them. You should use a small aperture for wildlife photography, usually around f/16, to capture sharp and in-focus details.
See also: Tips for Wildlife Photography
Don’t Be Afraid To Branch Out
One outstanding thing about outdoor photography is the tremendous opportunities it offers. You can capture so many types of images from reflections and waterfalls to wildlife images, close-ups and macros, standard landscape images, outdoor portraits and more. You should not be afraid to try out different types of photography you just might find a new niche that will interest you.
Outdoor photography is a broad aspect of photography that provides a wide range of opportunities for those with an eye for taking great pictures to explore their talents and skills. Whether its landscape photography, wildlife photography, outdoor portraits and so on, there is so much to explore in outdoor photography. This article provides some basic tips to help guide a beginner in this field of photography.
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