5 Pro Tips for Spectacular Outdoor Photos

*These tips by Beren Goguen were originally published on the SocialHub in 2012. This article is being republished due to popular demand.*

1. Experiment with Low Light Shoots: The low-light period around sunset and sunrise is considered one of the best times to take outdoor photos. However, shooting in low light can also be challenging for beginners. Since longer exposure times are often required in low light situations, a tripod is an essential piece of gear to bring along. According to Natalie Johnson, you should manually set your white balance to get the best color quality, and you should also experiment with your camera's ISO and shutter speed settings. "The wonderful thing about digital is the instant feedback," Natalie says. "A lot of your technique will be trial and error in the beginning, but use the histogram to check exposure. The most important thing is to have fun and experiment!"

2. Turn On Your Flash for Outdoor Portraits: Although seemingly counterintuitive, Roseann Ritter, a photographer here at Sierra Trading Post, recommends using the flash when shooting portraits outside. "Most modern cameras have 'fill flash' capabilities," Roseann says. "If you use your flash outside on a sunny day, it will actually fill the shadow areas cast by a hat or umbrella, for example. Faces will also be brighter. Remember though, the flash has limited range, so you need to be within 10-12 feet to realize the benefit."

3. Add a Person to the Landscape: According to James Kay of Outdoor Photographer, by placing someone in your landscape, you can establish both a focal point and a point of reference for the composition of your image. "By adding a person to the scene," James says, "the brain immediately recognizes the scale and tells you what you're looking at." Adding someone to your landscape can also makes a photo more evocative, as viewers can more easily picture how they would fit into the scene if they were actually there.

5 Pro Tips for Spectacular Outdoor Photos Share Your Adventure Photo by Norman Preo

4. Try a Smaller Aperture Setting for Landscapes: Our resident videographer, Chris Martin, recommends using a smaller aperture setting (or a higher f-stop) when capturing landscapes to help get that "crisp" look. This also increases the depth of field to bring both the foreground and background into focus at the same time.

5. Less Can Be More: William Neal of Outdoor Photographer recommends simplicity as a form of beauty. "Remove all nonessential elements," he says. "Zoom in, move in or otherwise find a position for your camera that gets around the fluff." Decide what the most important element or elements are in the composition. Try a variety of shots, angles and zoom settings. You can crop out non-essential elements later on your computer, but you can save time and get better shots by doing this with your viewfinder.

outdoor photography tips Share Your Adventure Photo by Colleen Gino

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