If you’re the kind of person who loves travelling, chances are you’re going to want to take a lot of photos of your journey. However, if you know taking a few hundred selfies isn’t exactly going to show just how beautiful your outdoor adventures are, then you’re in the right place. This guide will give you a few hacks to ace outdoor photography, and will help you and your photography skills shine as you take photographs of your travels.
According to the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization, an estimated 1,322-million tourists have travelled all around the world. This has been estimated to increase a whopping 4-percent to 5-percent this 2018. If you’re the tourist yourself, you’ve likely observed a lot of tourists in Europe – which makes sense, having been the top destinations of tourists in 2017. This was followed by destinations in Asia and the Pacific, the Middle East, the United States, and Africa. In fact, there’s as much as 671-million visitors in Europe last 2017!
This alone proves that a lot of people are starting to enjoy the various offerings from other nations around the globe, and if you’re the tourist yourself, you’re likely going to have a lot of fun travelling – be it solo, with a partner, friends, or family. With tourism being such a budding industry lately, the time is ripe for you to leverage on your photography skills and develop your fascination for outdoor photography. Here are some of the ways:
1.) Avoid sunlight from midday: It’s true that a lot of magic happens when your world is bright, especially for photographers. Details get accentuated better, and quality gets crisp and sharp with the right lighting. However, the sunlight from 11AM to 3PM tend to be too bright to do your outdoor photographs any good. Without the proper shade, your photographs might not be able to utilize proper contrast and shadows in order to accentuate important details and relevant aspects of your subject.
- You can easily avoid this by trying as much as possible to get to a shade or go indoors. This can make a dramatic difference to the kind of photos you’re taking. Remember, if you plan on shooting with this kind of lighting, bring some form of shade like an umbrella.
- When indoors, feel free to alter exposure and other aspects of the background brightness in order to make emphasis to the subject. This wouldn’t have a negative effect even with a brighter background. The point is, you can at least control the light source better this time.
2.) Try shooting during the Golden Hours: A lot of outdoor photos have this remarkable crisp and beautiful “brightness” that one could only attribute to midday light. This is why a lot of people tend to shoot between 11AM to 3PM, much to their horror. However, this “Golden Hour” concept is actually far from midday. Instead, they’re actually the hour after the sun rises, and the hour before the sun sets.
- Dealing with sunlight from these hours tend to be easier as sunlight from these times tend to be much softer. Since the sun is low in the skies, it becomes a much less dominant force in the output you’re creating.
- Given that the sun doesn’t have much influence over your photograph at the time, you can now have more opportunities to manipulate and take advantage of natural shadows of your surroundings.
3.) Take advantage of polarizing filters: Getting a polarizing filter can greatly help boost your outdoor photography skills as this adds another layer of control for you and your camera. Polarizing filters work by making sure light enters particular angles of your camera, as such you can remove unnecessary glare from a lot of aspects from your subject. This can greatly add a considerable amount of control for you to manipulate your surroundings to your advantage.
- Polarizing filters help remove reflections from water, windows, and the ground – especially if they’re messing up your intended outcome.
- These filters can also darken the sky should you need to emphasize some details.
4.) White balance is your friend: You may not know it, but white balance is actually something you have to start getting a hang of – as little changes to this can make a huge impact with the outcome of your photographs. This can be tricky at first, but mastering white balance allows you to be a much more versatile outdoor photographer fit for any condition:
- Remember that certain white balance settings work in certain hours. As such, shade, daylight, cloudy, and AWB (among others) might work depending on the particular hour and various other lighting factors in your vicinity.
- If you’re not quite sure about how to approach white balance, try shooting in raw first and then just edit white balance post-processing.
5.) Horizon gives depth: Photographs, especially outdoor photographs, tend to have some form of horizon. This is the impression of distance in a work of art. If you want your outdoor photograph to have a much better impact to viewers, consider the horizon. A proper horizon allows viewers to focus on your subject better, as a wonky horizon might get them distracted with what to prioritize in an image.
- Place your horizon according to the most important part of the photo. Are you emphasizing the sky? Are you emphasizing a part of the subject? Try to assess which element you want the audience to get drawn into and try to place the horizon near that area.
- People who want to show off a huge and beautiful landscape tend to put their horizons on the bottom part of the frame, as this provides the feeling of depth.
The Bottomline: The Outdoors Has A Lot Of Secrets To Uncover
Perhaps the most enjoyable part of acing outdoor photography is when you start to realize that it’s so much fun taking pictures of your adventures and travels because there’s so much mysteries to unravel about the things around you. This is perhaps what makes training outdoor photography such a fun exercise, as you’ll continuously find and discover ways on how to make your photographs so much more appealing not just to you but to other viewers as well.
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