When leaving the safety and controllability of the studio and heading out into the wild and unpredictable outdoors, it’s always best to bring along some important outdoor photography tips that will help you get the most out of your photo shoots.
No matter where you are or what you’re trying to capture, these tips will help you to get the very best images that you possibly can without a team of assistants adjusting lights and taking readings in the manufactured conditions of the indoors.
Timing Is Everything
The single most important part of shooting anywhere outside is the time of day that you trip your shutter and record your image.
Unless you’re an embedded reporter, taking snapshots from the frontline, then you can choose to practice your photography during the few hours of the day that constitute dawn or dusk.
There are many reasons that you want to be shooting at these times, but realistically, it all just comes down to lighting and shadows.
If you set out on your journey and find yourself shooting in the middle of the day, with the bright sun blazing directly above you, then you are going to spending the better part of a week sitting in front of your computer while trying to fix all of the deep, stark shadows that streak across your subject.
Aside from that obvious drawback, you’re also robbing yourself of the opportunity to fill your background with all of the amazing colors that grace the sky during these two parts of the day. When shooting in full sun or at night, chances are that any sky in your image will be stark white or deep black.
This is a very unfortunate thing to happen and can ruin and otherwise spectacular image. By shooting at dawn or dusk, you’re adding a very appealing backdrop that can only enhance your image while letting nature do most of the lighting work on your subject for you.
Outdoor Photography Tips – Using A Tripod
Although they will be undoubtedly be your most cumbersome piece of equipment, tripods are a cornerstone of outdoor photography tips.
With constantly changing lighting conditions that will require both slower and faster shutter speeds, you really never know when that shutter is going to be open long enough for your slight movements to completely ruin the image.
As such, having a tripod will ensure that every single image you capture will be crystal clear and free of any motion blur.
This is on top of the fact that you are going to be outside and moving around for an entire day. No matter how strong you are or how light you think your camera may be, by the end of the day it’s going to seem like you’re trying to hold up an anvil with your bare hands.
Without a tripod, you’re running the risk of losing half of your later day work to blur and fatigue because you didn’t feel like carrying around the one thing that could have fixed it. Always carry a tripod.
Use A Reflector When photographing People
These little items are invaluable when shooting outdoors and any list of outdoor photography tips that doesn’t include them is doing a disservice to the reader. With these easily carried and stowed things, you can lessen the impact of dark shadows across your subject by simply holding it in the light.
It’s important to remember that your eyes can see many more gradations of light and shadow than your camera.
As such, even though you can clearly see your subjects face when he or she is in front of the sun, your camera is going to capture and image where the eyes and facial features have been replaced by nothing but shadow.
To fix this very common problem, all you have to do is use your white board, or reflector, to bounce that natural light back onto your subject to fill out those areas. They are lightweight and collapsible, so there is no reason not to carry one at all times.
Pack It On Your Back
One thing to consider, and another of the most important outdoor photography tips, is investing in a high quality backpack to bring along all of your gear. There are quite a few manufacturers who make them specifically for photographers the gear they find most necessary, so finding one is incredibly easy.
Most pack come large enough to fit a tripod and your camera comfortably, but you’ll more than likely have that around your neck and at the ready. Being able to have your hands free and unburdened will ensure that nothing escapes your lens while you’re out and about.
There are even some models that let you hang your tripod on the outside for easy access when something really exciting happens. The more that you can carry, the more prepared you’ll be.
Hope these tips will be of help to you on your outdoor photography ventures!