Tuesday’s Tips: Shooting Outdoors

A few weeks ago, I put up a post about getting into outdoor photography.  This week, I want to give some tips on ways that I shoot outdoor/landscape/adventure.  These are a little more more technical and will have more to do with the camera rather than being in the right place, etc.  Without further or do, here are 7 tips (in no particular order) for getting better images on your adventures.

1. Using ND grads

The full name for ND grads is ‘neutral density graduated filter’.  This is a piece of glass that goes in front of your camera lens that fades from clear to a darker exposure (usually anywhere from .5 to several stops darker).  The purpose of this is to help bring the detail of the sky out in your photos while still having your landscape nice and bright.  You can also apply ND filters in post processing.

2. Less is more

Ok so this doesn’t have much to do with the camera itself, but its a good tip.  Some of the most stunning photos are super simple.  Remove everything that is unnecessary.  Isolating your subject is the key here.

Here is a good example of how simplicity can be used to create beautiful photos.


3. Long exposure

Using your cameras ability to leave the shutter open can create beautiful images!  Have you seen those photos of the milky way surrounded by millions of stars, none of which we can actually see with our eyes?  Yep, that is the result of a long exposure shot.  For this you will definitely need a tripod, also a lens with a fast aperture wouldn’t hurt.  Try setting your aperture to F/2 or wider, your ISO to 3200, and expose for 10 seconds.  This is a general starting point, and you will probably need to tweak your settings from there.

Photo Credit: Mike Taylor/ Taylor Photography

4. Keep the camera level

One major tip that will help give you great looking photos is simply keeping the camera level.  This keeps your horizon strait, your trees vertical, and so on.  It is something that many take for granted, but it makes a huge difference.  This is the first thing I do when I compose photos, because if it’s not level it’s no good.  You can also fix this in post, but you’ll be a better photographer if you can do it in your shot.

5. F/2 and F/7

This one is short and sweet.  Just because your lens can shoot in F/4 or 2 or wider, doesn’t mean you should just leave it there.  For landscapes you want everything to be in focus and sharp.  Wide apertures tend to be softer.  F/6, F/7, and F/8 tend to be much sharper apertures, so if you have sufficient light, shoot here.

6. Use ‘program mode’

Most DSLRs have a mode on the dial called ‘P’, this stands for program.  The point of this mode, is that you can save your settings for certain conditions that you shoot in.

7. Use live view

If you’re not taking photos of action sports or of a moving subject, then live view can be a great tool too.  Live view shows you exactly how the picture will look, you can even adjust the settings and the live view will change to match the settings.  It’s also may be easier to check your composition in live view.


To see a lot more tips and guides check out http://www.outdoorphotographer.com/how-to



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