Getting outdoors is a must if you’re a beginner looking to further your photography career. With some incredible looking landscapes out there and scenes of more intimate beauty, you should be able to take some breathtaking images.
So, let’s take a look at some of the things you need to keep in mind when you’re venturing outdoors. Follow these tips and improve your chances of capturing those images that you will be proud to look back on for years to come.
#1: Pack sensibly
If you’re venturing out to distant locations, you don’t want to overpack, especially if you’re planning on doing a lot of walking. Packing light is the way to go, so consider what you might need carefully.
You will need your camera, of course, and you will also need the right accessories. For outdoor photography, you should bring a wide-angle lens if you’re planning on capturing landscapes and a telephoto lens if you’re keen on photographing wildlife. You should also bring a lens hood to protect your lens from scuffs and scratches when you’re scrambling through any undergrowth, and a polarizing filter is a must to both capture darker images and to manage reflections.
Be sure to bring adequate food and water too, and the right sun protection, such as protective designer shades for your eyes and the appropriate level sunscreen. A light jacket should be packed in case of rain, and bring something warm in case the weather turns cold.
Check out these other outdoor photography accessories for some more useful ideas, and add the essentials to your packing list before venturing out.
#2: Find the best time of day
The best time of day depends on what you want to capture, of course, so consider your reasons for venturing out.
For landscape photos, early mornings are obviously best for if you want to include the sunrise in your image, and late evenings are clearly best if you want to capture the sunset as a background to your shot.
Midday is often best avoided when shooting landscape photography due to the blown highlights and harsh shadows, especially on very sunny days, so be aware of this when planning your schedule.
Early mornings and late afternoons are usually best due to the softened lighting, and there are fewer harsh shadows to worry about. These are also the best times to capture wildlife, although as certain types of animals come out at different times of the day, you might want to do your research first.
#3: Use the right equipment
We have already touched on this, but let’s go into a little more detail.
When creating landscape photos, use your wide-angle lens. These types of lens are ideal for emphasizing space and distance in a scene, and you can capture more in the frame.
For wildlife, use a telephoto lens. It can close the distance between you and whatever type of animal or bird you are photographing, and it can make them appear close by, even when you’re some distance away.
As mentioned earlier, use a polarizing filter. This works by only letting light in from particular angles, and you can rotate it to remove surface glare and to improve colour saturation. You can also use the filter to darken the sky, useful for when you want to emphasize the clouds or something else in the distance.
#4: Work with the sun behind you
Your images will look washed out if you shoot towards the sun, and dark shadows might become apparent on the image you are capturing. When possible then, shoot with the sun behind you, as not only will it illuminate the subject in your photo, but it will accentuate the background and sky as well.
Of course, there might be times when you have to take a photo in direct sunlight, such as when you have a client who wants you to take pictures of them at noon. There are some useful tips here for such an occasion, so refer to them if you suspect you might have issues with the sun.
#5: Try your hand at different types of photography
Don’t be afraid to branch out into different types of photography when you’re outdoors. There are many images you can capture, including stunning landscapes, beautiful wildlife, focal points of interest such as waterfalls and buildings, and even reflections within the water. As a beginner, you will need to learn the basics on how to create the best images of each, but there is plenty of information online and on our website, so keep learning to improve your skills.
Take a look at some of the photos on this website for inspiration, and consider the work of other outdoor photographers too. Learn from the best, and then get outdoors and start work on your own beautiful compositions. With time and practice, you will soon have a portfolio you can be proud of.