As the days get longer, many of us long to be outside. This is especially true for photographers, who know good photographs are waiting to be taken in uncharted territory. If you have the itch to get outdoors, consider going beyond your neighborhood park and tackling a true adventure: a hike.
Once you’ve filled your backpack with the essentials you’ll need for the duration of your hike, it’s time to pack up your camera gear and head out. Before you leave home, though, read through these tips that can help you snap phenomenal photos while also enjoying breathtaking views.
Map Your Route
The first tip is something you’ll need to do before you leave home. Carefully research different hiking spots and choose one that can add to your portfolio. Look for a trail that will add diversity to your portfolio, rather than shots similar to the ones you already have. Once you’ve identified the perfect trail, map your route, highlighting significant hot spots along the way. Apps like MapMyHike can help you plan your journey electronically, allowing you to go offline once you’re on the trail.
Don’t Pass Up a Photo Opp
As you start your journey, it’s important to stop and capture every photo opportunity you see. You may pass something and tell yourself you’ll catch it on the way back, but by then the lighting may have changed or you may choose a different return route. Make plans to arrange your hike around the photos you’ll capture and you’ll find you don’t rush past the highlights. If capturing the perfect shot means varying from your route slightly, make sure you can safely do so, then go for it. Some of your best shots will be completely unplanned.
Look for Unique shots
Nature scenes are so prevalent, they can tend toward mundane if not handled correctly. Develop an eye for noticing a picture that will stand out and take your hike as the opportunity to capture unique images. Along your hike, search for long streams or tree lines that span the length or width of the photo, drawing the viewer in and creating a unique, interesting look. Use leading lines and the rule of thirds for photos that will stand out in your portfolio and possibly even get you noticed.
Avoid the Obvious
Thousands of photographers have snapped photos of streams and mountains. Your goal as a photographer is to find a way to portray nature in unique ways. Look for reflections and shadows that add interest to an otherwise average photo. Even the way the sun peeks from behind the clouds can make an ordinary photo extraordinary. As a photographer, you already have an eye for the unique. A hike merely gives you new ground to explore, where you can potentially find something unique every step of the way.
As a photographer, your portfolio can be dramatically limited if you stay within the same area every day. By venturing out and taking a refreshing hike, you can expand your portfolio with shots that stand out. With a little careful planning and an open mind, you’ll come back with more than a full portfolio. You’ll also have made a few memories that will last a lifetime.