Over the past couple of years, adventure photography has become increasingly popular with budding photographers across the world. Gone are the days when one had to spend a fortune in order to purchase the right equipment to pursue this exciting passion. Today, thanks to technology, anyone can afford a digital camera or a smartphone equipped with one.
Whereas most amateur photographers are taking outdoor photographs as a hobby, many seasoned professionals have managed to turn adventure photography into a career. There are plenty of online businesses and companies which pay expert adventure photographers for their images. It is no surprise that many photographers are able to make a comfortable living this way.
Whether you are an amateur or a seasoned professional, you can derive great pleasure and enjoyment from taking epic adventure photos. If you are trying to improve your adventure photography skills, there are plenty of pointers which can increase your success rate. Here are some of the tips you should keep in mind when taking adventure photographs.
Choose the Right Camera and Gear
In order to begin taking epic adventure photos, you need a versatile camera that can withstand the conditions of the outdoor wild. However, if you are only starting out, you don’t need to purchase top-of-the-line equipment. There are plenty of decent and affordable DSLR cameras which you can use to hone your skills. These include Nikon D3500, Nikon D5600 and Canon EOS Rebel T7i all of which sell for under $500. Your choice of the camera also depends on the terrain in which you are shooting. If you are going hiking on a mountain, it may not be practical to carry a bulky DSLR. A GoPro camera would be more suitable for such a terrain.
In addition to having a good camera, you need a sharp lens with good zoom length in order to capture the magic of the wild outdoor with striking clarity. Ideally, you should invest in a telephoto lens which can shoot objects in detail, even at far-off distances. Fortunately, telephoto lenses have become very affordable, and you can get a decent one without breaking the bank. Some of the best affordable lenses for adventure photography include Nikon 17-35MM F/2.8D, Canon 16-35MM F/2.8L, and Tamron 28-75MM F/2.8.
Moreover, you should ensure that you have the right accessories such as a travel tripod to stabilize your camera, and neutral density filters to control image exposure.
In addition to having the right photography gear, you need to be clothed appropriately when taking adventure photos. The kind of clothing gear you require depends on several factors, including the environment in which you are shooting as well as the weather. For instance, if you plan on taking landscape photos during a mountain hike, you should wear jackets and long trousers to keep you warm. On the other hand, if you are shooting on hot and dry landscapes, you are better off with loose dressing.
Plan in Advance: Know the Location
In order to make the most out of your time shooting outdoors, you need to be adequately prepared. Taking the time to plan allows you to determine the equipment you need to bring for your adventure.
When making preparations, you also need to familiarize yourself with the location. Make sure you conduct adequate research on the spot in which you are planning to take photos. I would highly recommend conducting a reconnaissance before your actual adventure in order to acclimate yourself to the environment.
Try Different Composition Techniques
When it comes to adventure photography, no rule is set in stone. Although conventional composition techniques are useful when starting out, sooner or later you will want to develop your own style.
One way in which you can catalyze your progress and promptly discover your style is through relentless experimentation. It is therefore highly recommended that you try out the different compositional techniques and approaches in order to find out what works well for you. Some of the most well-known composition techniques which every adventure photographer should learn include:
Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds is one of the most applied by artists and photographers in literally every genre. Essentially, the rule of thirds requires that a frame is subdivided into nine equal rectangles (three rows and three columns). Many manufacturers nowadays design their cameras with a feature which allows for this grid to be displayed in live view mode.
Leading lines are very important in composition as they allow the viewer to direct their attention to the essential subjects. These compositional aids may present in the form of paths, walls, and other surfaces with linear features.
Symmetrical scenes lend themselves well to centered compositions where the main subject is centrally-placed. If you are planning on shooting outdoors, you may want to experiment with this composition technique since the symmetry creates visually-captivating images.
Filling the Frame
Many expert photographers have been known to employ frame-filling to great effect. Filling the frame allows the viewer to focus on the subject of the photo without distractions. Additionally, it allows the viewer to mentally explore the possible context and other possible features in the environment.
Rule of Space
The rule of space is another conventional composition technique which has been used by plenty of masters in the past. This rule relates to the direction which the subject in the photo is facing. For instance, if you are taking the photo of an animal which stands facing one direction, there should be more space in the frame on that side (in front of the animal).
So what’s the trick? Adventure photography is certainly one of the most exciting ways to develop your passion for photography while exploring the natural world outdoors. Like with any other skill, anyone can learn and master the art of adventure photography. If you aim to produce high-quality pictures, you will need to exert yourself in rigorous practice. With a little bit of dedication, you will be shooting masterpieces in no time.
Stefano Caioni is the founder of Pixinfocus. His passion for photography helps him discover new places and live new adventures.