Many of us seek the big adventure. Whether it be climbing Everest, searching the Amazon, or hiking the Swiss Alps. The thrill of an extreme experience is something we dream of. Some people are lucky enough to take that ultimate trip of a lifetime. The adventure we seek also depends a lot on the person and what they wish to experience. Life is full of endless opportunities to travel and see amazing natural wonders. The best part is capturing those moments and remembering them forever. Welcome to the world of Adventure Photography!
Photography is a world of its own. There are so many different avenues to explore when it comes to shooting a perfect image. Capturing a breathtaking picture that speaks to viewers requires a creative eye.
Adventure Photography, by definition, is a niche defined by amazing landscapes. This niche has gained popularity over the years continuing to surface thrill-seekers. Bringing life and personality to the surface in your photos is a perfect thrill. Adventure photography is what you would assume it to be. Traveling the world capturing remarkable moments is the life of an adventure photographer.
The tips we will discuss are not only for experienced photographers. Amateur photographers can use them to build upon their skills; in fact, I encourage it. Becoming a photographer takes practice but also learning techniques. However, making a comfortable living with it takes skills.
There’s something about being in the wide-open universe that manifests creativity and freedom.
Adventure Photography Gear
It is smart to know where you plan to travel to help determine the equipment you will need. I am an adventure photographer. I’ve spent many hours researching gear catered to what I will be shooting. Do keep in mind, it is not necessary to have expensive equipment. Starting small and then working your way up is always a logical idea. If you consider yourself an expert, try changing things up, it could make for a fresh spin on your photos.
To start, what type of camera is best for a beginner? Your first and more versatile option is a DSLR or digital single-lens reflex camera. This type of camera is popular. It sets beginners up with a good starting point when working with a photography camera. DLSR cameras are notable for their interchangeable lenses, which is also a huge plus. This will prevent you from having to acquire many cameras at first. As your skills and comfort grow, you can start to explore more high-tech cameras. As always, do your research to find the right fit. Buying a camera is like buying a car. Not as expensive, but you’re making a commitment, and it’s going to have to assist you to create amazing photos.
There are plenty of affordable DSLR cameras that you can use to build your skillset. A few include Nikon D3500, Nikon D750, Nikon D7200 and Canon EOS Rebel T7i. An exciting feature of these cameras, like the Nikon D3500, is smartphone capability. Meaning, you can synchronize your phone to the camera, and you can share pictures between the two devices.
An important aspect to think about when picking a camera is the terrain. Where are you going? Is it rugged and requires climbing? Or could you be shooting underwater? If this is the case, you can even consider taking GoPro. One downside to a GoPro is that it isn’t suitable for long-range subjects. If distance is a factor in your photos, be sure you have a backup plan or another camera available.
Let’s talk about distance. Think about being in the Redwood National Forest, located in Northern California. While visiting, you will find yourself among redwood trees that are hundreds of years old full of magnificent wildlife. In most cases, you’re not going to be able to get in a close range of wild animals. You can consider investing in a telephoto lens that can shoot subjects in detail. These lenses increase the focal length that allows you to photograph faraway objects.
It’s known that some of the most expensive parts of owning a photography camera are the lenses. You can find lenses that fit within your budget that are high quality and respectable.
The Nikon 17-35MM F/2.8D, Canon 16-35MM F/2.8L lens, and Tamron 28-75MM F/2.8 rated on the high end for clarity and sharpness. Perfect for adventure photography. Always remember to look at reviews when shopping to narrow down what you are looking for and can afford.
Another accessory to consider is a travel tripod. Tripods can stabilize your camera, neutral density filters which help control image exposure.
Related Guide: Forest Photography
All good adventure photography requires appropriate adventure clothing! Depending on how long you plan to be away, look at the weather report. You will also want to take note of the terrain conditions. As a rule of thumb, I always try to pack for any weather, so I know I’m completely prepared. Packing a jackets is still a great option. Also, check seasonal patterns and the seven-day forecast, so you know what to expect.
Adventure Photography: Planning Your Trip
To make the most of your time shooting outdoors, planning your trip’s location is crucial. Everything that we discussed depends upon your adventure destination. Photography road trips are incredible. If you decide to travel this way, design a Google map with all the best photography spots you wish to visit. That way you won’t miss out on a location and will spend the time you have to the fullest.
When visiting a new location, use online resources such as Instagram or Pinterest. These will assist you in finding your photos’ inspiration. Reach out to travel bloggers and adventure photographers to learn about experiences also. What did they bring? What was their goal for photographing, best places to visit, expenses? For example, you can find a guide like this 10 Day Adventure Itinerary in Sri Lanka useful.
Any information you can gain from other resources, use it. It gives you the advantage of being ready and produce stunning photos.
Once you arrive, you should definitely think about taking a tour of the surrounding areas. Taking a tour might be essential so build time into your schedule to allow for this. Tours help familiarize you with the location you will be photographing. I will say that some of the best photos are spontaneous and captured at precisely the right moment. Whenever you travel to a new location, educate yourself on safety precautions. You may even find there to be restrictions that would be good to know about prior.
Composition Techniques in Adventure Photography
When it comes to adventure photography, there are some photography rules to keep in mind. You can think of them more as best practices. It comes down to what is appropriate to use at the time.
Conventional composition techniques are useful starting out, but as your skills grow, you will begin to develop your style. Building a unique style makes you stand out amongst other photographers out there. If you’re a professional photographer, your income relies upon standing out. You must be unique from your peers.
One way to measure your progress and discover your style is by experimenting with different compositional forms. The only way to improve upon something is to practice, right? Photography is no other than practicing for a baseball game. Landscapes are your field, and you are the player. Analyze with different compositional techniques to find out what works well for you. Some of the most well-known composition techniques to learn are further discussed.
Rule of Thirds in Adventure Photography
The rule of thirds is one of the most applied techniques used by artists. The rule of thirds requires the subject of an image to be subdivided into nine equal rectangles. Vertically and horizontally (three rows and three columns). Doing this allows for a more pleasing look because it’s broken down into nine equal parts.
Many manufacturers design cameras with a slick feature. The feature can enable this grid to appear as an option while in live view mode.
Leading lines in photography are what photographers call the path to the viewpoint. The lines appear in a photograph framed to show the viewer a specific point of interest within the image. Compositional aids are paths, walls, train tracks, and other surfaces with linear features. You can apply these to create more interest in your adventure photos.
Symmetry in an image is a powerful tool. Depending on how you are holding your camera, symmetry creates balance and proportion. How much of the scene or subject you want to show also plays a role. It develops aesthetically pleasing images while incorporating harmony. This is also known as centering.
Symmetry will most likely be the number one composition technique that you use. With a whole world of landscapes and subjects out there, the sky is the limit.
Filling the Frame
If you want to make a statement piece, filling the frame is the way to do that. Filling the frame is exactly how it sounds. When you want to bring forward the point of interest, fill the photograph with the subject. This brings the most critical piece of the image front and center.
A field of wildflowers is a great center point for this time of technique. Even consider portrait images as well. Filling the frame is another excellent tool to experiment and practice with in the field. So many beautiful photos surface due to getting level with your subject.
Rule of Space
The rule of space helps create the illusion that there is more outside the frame of the photo. Let me explain a little more. The rule of space states that if a subject is not looking directly into the camera, more space is captured in the direction they are looking. Doing this sets the expectation that there is more.
This is a fantastic tool that you as a photographer can use to your advantage! Keep your viewers wanting more.
Your Adventure Awaits
Adventure photography is no doubt one of the most exciting niches of photography. Up-and-coming photographers prefer following this industry because it allows you to travel worldwide. The versatility that you can incorporate into your images is twofold.
Even if you don’t a ton of experience, go out there and start taking photos. The only way to build your skillset is to do it. Anyone can learn and master the art of adventure photography.
Have you packed yet? If not, you better get to it! Grab your bag and your camera, and head out to your adventure!
Stefano Caioni is a photographer from Sydney, Australia. Founder and editor of Pixinfocus, his passion for photography helps him explore new places and live new adventures. Thanks to photography he reconnected with the outdoors and was able to travel the world and take photos of some of the most beautiful places on Earth.
A good read and primer! Thanks Stefano.
Cheers Tyler, I’m glad you like the article!