How To Shoot Outdoor Photos Like A Pro – Whatever Your Device
You’re new to the outdoors and you want to show your friends and family just what they’re missing out on. So how can you entice them to join you on your countryside walk or mountain biking trip? By capturing incredible, high-quality images that reflect exactly how you saw the landscape – striking, colourful, and dramatic.
But you don’t have to spend a fortune on a state-of-the-art camera to take great shots. It’s all about understanding what makes a good photo. Having the best camera in the world won’t necessarily help you take professional-looking photographs. But armed with the right knowledge, you can capture stunning images and videos of the outdoors on any device, from your smartphone to an action camera.
We’ve worked with a number of top photographers who’ve shared their expert advice and provided the breath taking imagery used throughout this article.
What type of photographer are you?
- Tips for taking better photos with your smartphone
- Discover the outdoors with your DSLR
- Tips for capturing great actioncam shots
Tips for shooting in sunny weather
There’s greater opportunity for longer shooting and more varied shots in the summer as the days are longer. Bear the following tips in mind:
- Never shoot directly at the sun. Everything will look out of focus and shadows and colours will be distorted.
- If you’re shooting something in direct sunlight, place an object in front of the light. This helps to block the direct light and creates dramatic silhouettes which make the subject pop.
- Shoot to the side of the sun. You’ll create great contrast between sunlight and shadow.
- Shadow play. Create dramatic shots by playing with light and shadows.
- Shoot in front of the sun. When the sun’s on your back, you’ll capture shots in natural light, emphasising the detail. This is a great way to shoot landscapes.
“Don’t give up if the weather is grey and there is no sign of a gorgeous sunset. Get outside and look at things in a different way. Look for textures and shapes and try to imagine how it would look in black and white. Taking the colour out of a scene and increasing the contrast will often reveal a shot that wouldn’t have worked in ‘good’ light.” – Andy Swinden
- Aperture: The size of the hole on your camera’s lens that lets light in when you take a photograph. The bigger the hole, the more light can get through. This is measured in ‘f-stops’. A small f-stop number signifies a large aperture. With each increase in f-stop, the light that gets through doubles.
- DLSR: Stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex. Also known as SLR. You can change the lens to achieve different effects.
- Depth of field: The distance between close-up and far-away objects in a photo that are in sharp focus.
- Grainy: A poor-quality image that is not in sharp focus. Looks as though the image is made up of lots of small dots.
- Panorama: A wide-angled landscape shot.
Looking for a project to help test out your skills?
Join our #ScrapbookOutdoors photo project, where we are trying to capture a year outdoors by setting different photography themes each week. Every Wednesday we gather up our favourites and feature them on our blog, before a new theme starts every Thursday.
With thanks to..
- Terry Abraham, filmmaker and photographer. His award-winning, critically acclaimed BBC hit ‘Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike’ is available to buy on DVD from Amazon UK – @terrybnd
- Ben Anderson, photographer, writer and TV director – @benanderson1986
- Adam Burton, landscape photographer and author – @adamburtonphoto; follow on Facebook
- Stephen Ennis, nature, landscape and underwater photographer – Follow on Facebook
- Richard Fox, landscape photographer – Follow on Facebook
- Phil Hemsley, landscape and adventure sports photographer – @HemsleyPhoto
- Ross Hoddinott, wildlife and landscape photographer – Follow on Facebook
- Gary Holpin, photographer and author – @GaryHolpin
- Tony Howell, landscape photographer – @tonyhfoto
- Robert Keighley, landscape photographer – @robertkeighley
- Jodie Randall, nature photographer – Follow on Facebook
- Kevin Sinclair, photographer and designer – @kevsink
- Andy Swinden, photographer of the natural world – @AndySwinden