Spring is finally here! After a grueling winter indoors, you’re probably ready to throw on your favorite warm-weather duds and spend a few hours in the sunshine. While you’re out hiking, biking or just walking your dog, consider taking more than just selfies. If you’re the type that is constantly taking snapshots with your cell phone, consider these tips for taking your outdoor photography from amateur to professional.
1. Don’t stress about the quality of your camera. Whether you’ve recently bought a fancy new digital camera or you’re content taking pictures with your smartphone, don’t worry! You can capture quality images on either as long as you understand your basic camera settings. Here are a few common settings for beginners:
Aperture. Use the aperture priority (A or Av on the mode dial) setting to control the depth of field (how sharp your photos are from front to back). This is the best setting to use for landscapes.
Shutter speed. Capturing quick motion (like if you’re trying to photograph an animal or sports shots) requires your camera’s fastest shutter speed. However, if you’re capturing still landscapes, you can set your camera to a slower shutter speed.
2. Assess the lighting. Mid-day sunlight can create harsh shadows; dusk and dawn are the best forms of natural light for photographers. For low-light conditions, avoid using your flash and bring a tripod if possible. Don’t discount an overcast day—you’ll probably get better pictures than a bright, sunny day.
3. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. The best thing about a bad digital picture: you can delete it! It doesn’t matter if you mess up. And don’t limit yourself—the advantage of digital photography is that you can take thousands of pictures in order to find the perfect one!
4. Keep your camera with you all the time. The day you don’t have your camera will be the day you see the perfect shot.
5. Once you feel comfortable, try something new. After you’ve mastered the basic camera settings and taken tons of photos, take your outdoor photography to the next level. Consider investing in an underwater camera or learning a few new settings for nighttime photography.
Photo credit: Kylie Turley