Outdoor Photography: Tips and Tricks

The great outdoors presents a beautiful backdrop for any photographer. While getting outside gets you some awesome scenery, sometimes it’s not so easy translate that beauty into an awesome photo. Getting a good at outdoor photography takes practice and patience. Sure, you might get lucky and snap an award-winning photo, but more often than not, a great photo is a combination of careful planning and good timing. Here are a few tips to get you started with outdoor photography.

Taking Pictures Outside

When shooting photos outside, the most important thing to remember is to take advantage of natural light. Shooting outdoors is very different from indoors. For example, if you are filming rug cleaning for a company indoors, you can control the lighting. Shooting in full sun can be a challenge; harsh shadows, washed out images, squinting subjects—but full sun also presents an excellent opportunity for bold and daring photos. One way to work with the sun is to move your subject into the shade, or use a diffuser to filter the light, and a flash or reflector to fill in any dark shadows. Conversely, shade or partial sun is a great lighting condition for outdoor photography since the clouds act as a diffuser. This creates soft, even lighting. The main problem with shade is boring and flat images. Finally, overcast conditions or no sun will require slower shutter speeds, wider apertures, and/or higher ISO settings. You’ll need to make the most of what light you have, use a fill flash and silver reflector to add some light back in. Then, take advantage of pockets of sun that do come your way.

Additionally, when performing outdoor photography, the easiest way to improve your photographs is to use a tripod. You’ll get clearer photos, and a slower shutter speed can allow you to take a deeper depth of focus. Be sure to chose a location where there is plenty of natural light. Find a place with lots of visual interest. This could mean a busy urban scene with a lot going on, or a field with an wooden, rustic fence. Also, don’t be afraid to include people in your outdoor photos. People add scale, personality, and interest to landscape photography. If you do decide to incorporate people in your photos, avoid poses. Put your subjects at ease, and work to create a fun and relaxed atmosphere—try to capture as many candid shots as possible.

Finally, regardless of whether you are taking pictures outdoors or indoors, always try to use the “rule of thirds.” When composing your photo, throw things off center on purpose. This means that your photo is divided into a three-by-three grid, with the horizon and important elements of the photo found within or along the lines of that grid. It never hurts to change your point of view. Try a chest harness, an extension arm, or helmet cam. Or consider shooting from a lower angle or a higher angle.

As you continually take photos outside, learn from your mistakes and learn from your successes. Be consciousness of your camera settings, and remember what works and what doesn’t. Outdoor photography is a learn experience, and there’s always room to improve.