Ah the great outdoors... The fresh smell of flowers, the wonderful scenery and the abundance of light. While, the natural light is a great way to brighten your day, it isn’t always your best friend if you’re trying to snap some awesome photos. Whether you’re capturing photos of beautiful newlyweds at an outdoor wedding, of breathtaking landscapes while travelling or even of your adorable doggo at the park, you want your outdoor photos to be top notch and look great when printed on a canvas. When it comes to outdoor photography, whether you’re a pro or just shooting for fun, there are some important tips and adjustments you should keep in mind . Here are the top 10 things you need to know to take the best outdoor photos.
1. Stay golden baby
The best times of day to capture your outdoor photos are during the golden hours. That is, the hour after the sun rises and the hour before the sun sets. At these times, the light is much softer and will create beautiful natural shadows and rich colors. You can also capture the amazing colors of the sky and turn it into a beautiful canvas print for your home.
2. See what develops
It might be tempting to try to perfectly adjust your white balance before snapping your pics, but shooting in RAW is usually your best option when it comes to outdoor photography since the sun glare can alter your perception. So, by changing your settings to RAW instead of JPEG, your photos will be saved unedited and uncompressed, which allows you to make adjustments later on.
3. Make light of the situation
While the midday sun gets a bad rep for creating sun flares or unwanted dark shadows, you can still take great photos anytime and use the sun as your guiding light. While shooting directly towards the sun isn’t a good idea, taking photos with the sun behind you can enhance your photos and result in an incredibly well illuminated landscape. A panoramic photo is also a unique way to capture the whole landscape and completely capture the essence of the moment.
4. Filter out the glare
You want your photos to shine, but you don’t want the sun to outshine the picture itself. If you don’t have one yet, a polarizing filter may be your lifesaver during your next outdoor photography sesh. The way it works, is by only letting light in from certain angles. This means you can rotate the filter to remove unwanted glare and improve saturation.
5. See life through the (right) lens
If you’re taking outdoor photos, chances are some of the elements you want to capture will be far away or unaccessible. Whether it’s wildlife, a monument, a mountain or a person, you can use a telephoto lens to make far away elements appear much closer while maintaining the quality of the shot. With these top-notch pictures, the only issue you might have is deciding which one to print. If that’s the case, you can learn how to create a unique gallery wall and add depth to your walls.
6. Be shady
Throwing shade is actually a good thing when it comes to photography. If you see a shady opportunity, take it! Shooting in the shade reduces hard shadows, unpredictable white balance conditions and stops your subject from being squinty. These smooth shadows create wonderfully natural looking photos and the proper white balance will have you saying hallelujah!
7. Watch the horizon
When shooting outside, chances are you’ll be taking photos of the horizon. One thing to consider when snapping the horizon is whether or not it is straight. You’ll want to avoid shooting a crooked pic of the horizon as your resulting photos won’t look as nice and crisp. Another thing to note is where you’re placing the horizon. Is it dead center, are you focused more on the sky or is the ocean the focal point? Generally, placing the horizon lower is more visually appealing, however, this doesn’t stop you from getting creative and trying different horizon perspectives and let your creativity shine on at home in a framed print.
8. Include different depths to your image
You’ll want to include foreground, middleground and background to make your outdoor landscape pictures the most aesthetically pleasing. The foreground appears closest to the viewer, the background is the element perceived the furthest from the viewer and the middleground is simply the visual place in between the foreground and the background. For example, if your taking photos of someone on the beach, the person on the beach is the foreground, the middle ground is the shoreline and the background is the sky.
9. No need to be flashy
If you’re shooting outside, then you’ll usually want to avoid using your camera flash, particularly if the sun is behind you. However, an off camera flash can actually overpower some of the midday sun and help soften some of the more intense shadows. This is especially useful if you’re shooting directly at the sun as it will help reduce the dark front shadow of the element you are shooting.
10. Get your head in the clouds
You’ll feel like you’re on cloud nine when you’re capturing those gorgeous outdoor photos. Although you might be a bit bummed that the sun’s hidden, you can actually use the clouds to your advantage and take some unreal photos. The cloud acts as a blanket to diffuse the harsh natural sunlight and creates a natural white balance for outstanding photos. So, even if it’s sunny out, you might want to wait for that cloud to pass over the sun and then shoot frantically until it passes. Trust me, it’ll be worth it.
You get the picture, right?
Picture yourself soaking in the sunshine, hiking mountains and exploring beautiful beaches. Shooting outside can be extremely peaceful, fun and creates radiant photos. You simply need to make a few easy adjustments to ensure that your outdoor photos are to the nines and you’ll be ready to snap, anytime and anywhere. If you don’t have a digital camera, most of these tips will still hold true for taking amazing photos outdoors with your phone. You can also check out our articles to help you take beautiful photos from your phone and for some more incredibly helpful general photography pointers. Once you’ve snapped those breathtaking outdoor shots, a canvas or framed print is a wonderful way to display your favorite pictures, preserve your memories and add some life to your walls.