Whether adventuring as a family, couple or out there on your own, most of us want to document the excursion in some way. And a lot of you have asked me a few tips on how to photograph your outdoor adventures (You made my day, by the way!). In this How-To installment, I’ll talk about patience, learning how to use light, and the importance of putting your camera away.
How to Photograph Your Outdoor Adventures
01 – Be okay with putting your camera away.
The truth is you don’t need to document everything. When my husband and I are adventuring, there are many times I decide to put my camera away or not pull it out in the first place. Sometimes it’s better to be.
Plus, every moment of my life doesn’t need to be documented either for myself or to be broadcasted to the world. If we insist on adventuring for the purpose of social media fodder, we miss the whole point of adventuring in the first place – to explore, to breathe, to be together, to relax, to see new places and learn new things. This goes for a lot of things, but Louis L’amour aptly described this when he said, “The trail is the thing, not the destination. Travel too fast and you’ll miss all you’re traveling for.”
So learn to be comfortable with putting your camera away. Yes, you will miss some events and views that may have made for fantastic images, but you’ll be fully present with those around you. And if you’re out there on your own, a break from anything with a screen will be good for you. ha. Trust me.
02 – Watch the light.
I’m not sure why, but this one seems to surprise people when they ask for one piece of photography advice. Watch the light. Photography is all about light, so pay attention to where your light (Hello, Sun!) is coming from. Is it backlighting your subject/landscape? Rim lighting them? Sidelighting? Is it overhead, harsh, in your face? Is it soft, golden hour?
Each of these situations will affect the outcome and mood of your image. So play around, but be patient with yourself. It will take some playing around with your camera to understand what works, what doesn’t, and what you like best.
03 – Be patient.
I’m not talking about being patient with yourself as you learn lighting here. I’m talking about being patient with the scene in front of you – whether it’s a landscape or a human subject, it will move and change. Patience is key to knowing when to push the shutter, when to wait, and when you’ve captured just what you want. If you miss the picture you have in your head, be patient. Try again. Some of my worst images are the ones I was trying to create, while my best arrive when I sit back and let the scene unfold in front of me. Be patient.