Outdoor photography is a great pastime where you can be creative with capturing images of your favourite things outdoors. You can take photos of people, objects, anaimals and landscapes. You can photograph outdoor action or just a lovely scene.
Skills – Strength: 1, Balance: 3, Flexibility: 1, Agility: 1, Coordination: 3
Time needed: whatever you want Cost to try: £60 for a digital camera
What is Outdoor Photography all about?
Outdoor photography is all about capturing moments that mean something to you. The very appeal of taking photographs outdoors can come down to many things such as the vivid colours around you, the weather, the lighting and even the subject you are taking. Every photo and moment you capture is like stealing a piece of time because the moment is locked away in the image. When you look back on it you can remember maybe taking it or the exact moment or situation you were in when it was taken.
Just being able to do this can be a great appeal for outdoor photography because there is also going to be character to your photos. The natural environment provides a great backdrop for your pictures and adds character to any shot you take outdoors.
Choosing a Digital Camera for Outdoor Photography
Once you have your camera (whether that’s your mobile phone, pocket camera, digital camera or a form of SLR -Single Lens Reflex- camera. It’s really up to you what you use) you can get started straight away. You don’t necessarily need flashy things to start taking pictures but as you get better and more used to taking pictures there are things you can buy such as monopods and tripods which help largely with taking photographs. These items help to still your camera. Some cameras have a hole on the base where you can screw these into, however they are not necessary!
Some digital cameras also require a SD card to be inserted before you can take any photographs as the built in memory of the camera is not large. These cards can be taken in and out easily and inserted into the computer or laptop for you to view your photos.
Getting Started in Outdoor Photography
Getting started with outdoor photography is not as hard as some may think it is.
When it comes to photography what pictures and photographs you take, at the end of the day, are entirely up to you. However making the subject look as best as possible means you may have to consider some factors before taking your photographs:
Frame your subject properly
Remember to frame your subject properly. If you are taking a picture of a person don’t cut off half of their head or if you are doing a full body shot remember not to cut their feet off! If you find you cannot fit the whole person into the shot, it may just mean you need to move your camera back until the whole person fits nicely into your photograph. Also always check for distractions when taking photographs. These can be things such as trees or poles that look as though they are sticking out of someone’s head or even an ugly litter bin or some rubbish that is nearby.
Focus on what you are taking the photograph of
Focus is another main point. Focus on your subject before you snap a shot of it. Some cameras have a focus button when you go to press the button to take the photograph hold it down halfway to focus on your subject before pushing it the full way down. If you are focusing on a person, it’s good to focus on their eyes when you take a picture.
Keep your camera steady
Always be steady when taking a photo. The key to keeping your hands as steady as possible is to not sway or jerk about. If you find it hard to keep a steady shot, try looking into buying a monopod or tripod for your camera as this should help to stop the shaking of the camera. Also always be gentle when pushing the shutter button and after the shot has been taken don’t move for a few seconds after just so you don’t get a blurry image.
Use outdoor natural light for photography
Another good tip is to always, if possible, use natural light to take your photographs. Outdoors pictures are always the best ones as the light is natural and when filtered into the camera makes pictures look softer and a lot more realistic. However if you do find yourself indoors, try to take pictures near big open windows, or in big rooms with lots of good lighting.
The best time of day for outdoor photographs
The time of day is also a main point for taking pictures. Usually the best shots are taken around dawn or dusk because this is when the light is warm and golden which will help to reflect off your subject and give it a natural look. Another good time for taking pictures is after a spot of rain. The light can bounce off the rain and also the colours and contrast of the dampness can make your subject look striking.
Always take your camera with you when you go outdoors
Take your camera everywhere! You never know when a good shot might present itself to you! In some cases you may have to be quick with your shot before the moment passes, so always be ready.
If you decide to take a night portrait, you might decide to use the flash on your camera. However sometimes, I find, this can make your photographs look un-realistic and can often make them look like they weren’t taken at night at all. If you do consider taking pictures at night try bouncing in light by other means such as having a light put behind you to bounce the light off to give your photo a more natural outdoorsy look.
Using Zoom for closeups
Also when taking pictures you can use zoom. Zoom is good for taking pictures of subjects at a distance and is also good for doing close ups of objects such as flowers. Using zoom can distort your photos sometimes though so when using zoom try to make sure you focus on the subject and that it doesn’t blur out. If the image does blur out, zoom out till it stops to blur.
If you are using a digital camera you may also find your camera comes with lots of settings for you to use. The best way to get to grips with these different functions is to try them out and test them! Some functions are great for outdoors pictures and there are also functions that are great for taking shots of moving images. A favourite function of mine is Hi-Speed Burst. This is a great way to capture a moving object such as a skier. What the function does is as you hold the shutter button down, it takes a series of pictures one after the other so you can go back through them and pick the best of your moving object. They also allow you to see your subject as though it is moving so you can also capture it at its best moment.
Sometimes for great shots of people, try to make sure they don’t see you snapping pictures of them as sometimes people freeze up or act un-naturally and this can spoil your photographs. Try to capture the essence of the moment when people are unaware as this can make a beautiful photograph.
If you want to find out any more about taking outdoor photographs or about anything mentioned in this article, here are a few good sites that may help you.
Where to find out more about outdoor photography
- Tips for better candid photography
- 25 Professional tips for outdoor photography
- Outdoor photography magazines