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8 Photography tips for capturing the great outdoors

By Amy Wright | Aug 16, 2021

Sparkling glaciers resting serenely atop a body of still, glass-like water.

A dazzling gradient of rich reds, pinks, and oranges during a desert sunset.

The majesty of a wild animal living in its natural habitat.

Nature, in all of her stunning and gorgeous bounty, has always provided endless inspiration for photographers. And now with more and more people taking up photography as a hobby, there’s a growing interest in learning how to capture professional-quality photos, whether it’s through simple iPhone photography tips or more advanced nature photography.

If you’re a budding or experienced nature photographer, here are some useful tips and techniques that will take your photos to the next level.

1. Keep an eye on the light

A key element of shooting outdoor photography is considering your light source. Natural sunlight makes for incredible nature shots that are awash in the sun’s glow. To capture this amazing effect, make sure the sun is behind you (not your subject) when you snap your shots.

Another awesome way to photograph nature is to look for unconventional light sources, such as light bouncing off the surface of water or another reflective surface.


2. Capture the beauty of “magic hour”

Speaking of light, there’s a certain time of day when the quality of light is unlike any other. This time, when the sun is setting, is known as magic hour. Shooting outdoor photography during magic hour will infuse your photographs with a warm, ambient aura.

3. Pay attention to the horizon

Keeping the horizon level in your photos is good practice since it stabilizes and orients the composition (only break this rule when you intentionally want to introduce drama or tension). However, take care not to have the horizon always running straight through the middle of your shot since this can make your photo look like it has been split in two. One simple iPhone camera tip you can use to good effect is to look for intriguing elements in the foreground and make them your subject, with the horizon as a background element.


4. Establish a focal point

The eye needs a place to go in your photographs, and a focal point is a visual anchor that the rest of the composition gets organized around. Even when you’re trying to capture a sweeping landscape, you should still look for elements that will attract attention, such as a cloud or a cliff, that can act as a focal point.


5. Create visual interest with leading lines

Besides the horizon, you’ll also want to pay attention to another kind of line in your outdoor photographs: leading lines. These lines guide the eye where to look and generate more visual interest. They are typically positioned in the foreground and lead to the focal point of the shot. Some examples include ground trails, valleys, train tracks, flowing streams, and a line of trees.

6. Don’t try to include everything

Often, the most compelling photographs are the simplest ones in terms of composition. There’s something striking about an image with a strong, singular focus. When choosing what to photograph, look for one thing that calls your attention and compose your shot around it, leaving out any unnecessary elements that may distract from it.

7. Introduce the human element

People are part of nature, too, and they can be a welcome addition to your outdoor photography. Just think of those unforgettable photos of huge, sprawling landscapes that are rendered even more majestic by the inclusion of a small, solitary figure in the foreground that establishes the enormous scale of the setting. Find ways to include people, alone and in groups, in your nature photographs as a way to add this kind of illuminating perspective.


8. Display your outdoor photography with custom photo prints

After you’ve snapped your outdoor nature photography shots, don’t confine them to your computer or mobile device. They deserve a place in the world. A place in your home.

Printing your photos on canvas is an excellent way to bring your memories to life and to express your unique perspective on the natural world. We make it easy to create gorgeous custom photo prints to display in your home and office and to give as gifts. Simply upload your photos, choose your printing options (whether it’s a custom framed print or a canvas print, and we’ll print and ship you the finished product.

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