Outdoor Photography Guide for Beginners

outdoor photography guide

Taking photos outside has its challenges. Unlike indoor photography, you have almost no control when you are outside; light that can come from anywhere, people passing by, or the weather suddenly changes. To prepare yourself, you can always use a good outdoor photography guide.

 Taking pictures outside is really fun. The limits you will run into are your creativity and how far you can go to find great locations. However, outdoor photography is not just a matter of creativity but also a matter of technicality; how you deal with things that are beyond your control.

To prepare yourself, here are some tips that you can use as a guide to help you explore the world with outdoor photography.

What is Outdoor Photography?

The term outdoor photography itself is an umbrella term that covers several other fields of photography. Some of the fields included in outdoor photography are landscape photography, wildlife photography, nature photography, low-light photography or night photography, and others.

No matter what type of photography you will pursue later, all areas of outdoor photography have one thing in common; You have to prepare various equipment to be ready to take pictures anytime and anywhere.

This then becomes the main challenge of outdoor photography; what equipment should you bring? Apart from that, there are also challenges from elements that you can’t control such as indoor photography, such as light.

Read Also: Photography Lighting Equipment List You Must Have

To help you prepare for it all, here are some outdoor photography tips and guidelines that you can follow.

4 Tips to Have an Awesome Outdoor Photography Session

Here are some outdoor photography tips for you:

1. Bring a Proper Tripod

There is nothing wrong with bringing your own tripod while you enjoy your trip. It will help you a lot when you want to capture a beautiful landscape or maybe just capture the moment around your place. Tripod will help you to get clearer photos (no worries about shaky photos anymore).

2. Maximize Natural Light

Avoid using flash and try to maximize the natural light. Of course, the sun is always a good lighting prop when you can use it carefully. You can start in the early morning or evening to get the best result for your photos. Maybe you can use some props like reflectors to help create a good shadow for your photos.

Read also: Life Hack: Natural light to represent image naturally

3. Improvise

You can improve your photography skills by trying in your own way. Try the slowest – fastest shutter speed to capture the moment. You can capture a moving object, or still photos. Both are fine if you can tell a story from your photos. Don’t forget to pay more attention to your camera’s ISO!

4. Street Photography is Always Fun to do

Don’t be afraid to do street photography. You can create a strong story from your photos by capturing the moment around your place.  

In general, you need to bring proper equipment when you want to do outdoor photography.

How to Take Great Pictures Outdoor

In any field of photography, there are 3 elements that you must pay attention to in order to take a good picture; aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. For outdoor photography in particular, you have to really understand how to balance all three to get good pictures.

If you haven’t used manual mode yet, then this is a good time to learn how to use it. Using manual mode will allow you to pick up nuances which may differ from one location or situation to another.

For example, if you are a landscape photographer and you want to take textures from leaves or rocks, you can use a short shutter speed and a small aperture. However, if you want to create a dynamic impression, such as when taking flowing water, you can use a longer shutter speed to get the sense of movement.

In addition to shutter speed and aperture, you should also pay attention to ISO. The higher the ISO of your camera, the brighter the image will be. However, a high or too high ISO can give a grainy texture. Ideally, you want to set your camera’s ISO at 200 and 800. To control how much light you get, it’s a good idea to adjust the other two elements; shutter speed and aperture.

What Equipment Do You Need?

Outdoor photography is a branch of photography that requires you to carry a lot of equipment. But, what photography equipment do you need? Here are some of the equipment you will need.

1. Camera Lenses

A standard lens will probably suffice for your street photography needs. However, if you plan to take pictures in the wild, such as wildlife or nature photography, then you will need a more specific type of lens.

Just in case, at least prepare a wide angle lens. This type of lens will really help you in photographing landscapes. The strength of wide angle lenses lies in their ability to place and distinguish objects in the background and foreground. This of course will be very helpful for you to make interesting compositions outdoors.

If you are planning to take pictures of wild animals, then you will really need a telephoto lens. With this lens, you can take pictures of wildlife from a safe distance.

2. Tripod

A tripod is the photography tool you will need regardless of the type of photography you are doing. With a tripod, you will be able to take more stable pictures, especially if you shoot with a slow shutter speed. When using a tripod, be sure to turn off your camera’s image stabilization feature.

3. Lens Hood

To be able to work with outdoor lighting properly, you can use a lens hood. This tool can reduce glare especially when combined with a set of polarizing filters. This filter will help you by only allowing light to enter from certain angles. This function will help to pick up distant objects, such as mountains or clouds.

4. Other Equipment

To do outdoor photography, you not only need photography equipment, but also other equipment. Some of this equipment is not directly related to photography. However, these tools can make things easier for you.

Food and drinks are things you must prepare when you want to do outdoor photography. Both will be very important especially if you are planning to travel long distances.

You will also need a plastic bag. This one tool functions as a protector of your camera when it rains.

Carrying a bag is also a necessity when doing outdoor photography. You can easily store photography equipment or other items in the bag. For the camera, you may also need a camera bag so that your camera is not crowded with other items in the bag.

How To Work With Outdoor Light

One of the biggest challenges in outdoor photography is lighting. Unlike indoor photography where you have complete control over the light coming in, in outdoor photography you have almost no control over the light.

Of course you can work around this with several tools, such as additional lights or reflectors. However, these two tools will not be completely sufficient especially if you take into account the weather factor.

To overcome this, there are several things you can do.

For example, you can avoid taking pictures in broad daylight. This is because the sun is usually at its strongest  and this can create a shadow effect that can be distracting.

If you do have to take pictures during daylight, make sure that the sunlight is coming from behind you.

One of the best times to take pictures outside is in the morning and evening. At this time, the natural light from the sun is much softer and more manageable. Such times are also called the golden hour.

Read Also: How to Pick The Best Time to Take Outdoor Photos

That’s the outdoor photography guide you can follow. Taking pictures outside is a challenging activity. You don’t have complete control over elements like light which are so important to photography. However, that doesn’t mean taking pictures outside isn’t fun. With the right steps and equipment, you can have a fun and challenging outdoor photography session.

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