While shooting pictures with your camera or smartphone along the way, have you ever asked yourself or a fellow photographer whether your image is good? I mean, really good? Here we put together a collection of tips that will help you become a better photographer, while you’re out having fun.
1. Be prepared
Make sure your gear is synced with your goals. “Actually having the right equipment and understanding it—whether it’s a DSLR, point-and-shoot, or smartphone—makes all the difference,” says adventure photographer Corey Rich, contributor to National Geographic Adventure, Sports Illustrated, and The New York Times Magazine, among many others.
2. Show emotion
If you’re traveling with people, try to get photos of the other person in whatever state of emotion they’re in, says Salt Lake City-based adventure photographer Dan Ransom.
“You always want to be somewhere with a cool view when the light turns to the Golden Hour,” Ransom says. “By far the best way to get a good picture is to be there when the light is good. Don’t be lazy. Wake up early.”
4. Halt the shakes
“Motion blur kills people when they get home and realize they didn’t get the shot,” Ransom says. “It’s not because they focused incorrectly—it’s because the camera wasn’t stable enough, and even the slightest wobble can mess up your shot if the camera is slowing down the exposure.”
5. Don’t sweat the details
“Cameras are so amazing these days,” Rich says. “Ninety percent of the time, they’ll do a great job. The other 10 percent is where you’re trying to outsmart the camera. That’s not where I spend my time. I focus on being prepared and capturing the subject matter powerfully.”
People often assume he’s risking his life to take dramatic shots on cliffs and mountain summits, but Rich says that’s not the case at all. “No picture is worth a big risk, and I’ve let a lot of photo opportunities pass because the situation was too dangerous,” Rich says.
7. Edit first, then filter
Start with the camera’s on-board photo-editing options—which are increasingly powerful these days—or consider desktop editing. These days, most photography editing is done in Adobe Lightroom, lets you make subtle adjustments to the photos that enhance them without going overboard. (Photoshop is primarily for photo manipulation.)
8. Use mobile photo-editing tools
If desktop editing feels like to big of a leap, use mobile photo-editing apps. Our favorite: Snapseed. This free app provides high-quality editing options on the fly, significantly broadening your capabilities and helping save photos constrained by your smartphone’s sensor limitations. Additionally, you have to take an external battery, such as Kinkoo Infinite Nova 10500mAh portable charger, to keep your devices always going and going.
“Sometimes I’ll shoot 1,000 frames in one place, or 100, or 50,” Rich says. “Nobody is capable of getting a great shot with one snap. The clouds are moving, that bighorn sheep might get into a better position—you should be steadily adjusting your composition with each potential scenario.”
10. Clean your smartphone lens!
That’s the real reason most Instagram photos are bad—smudged lenses. Get in the habit of wiping the lens with your shirt before using the camera. Also, always shoot in landscape mode, with the phone held horizontally. Even if you’ll be posting it on Instagram as a square shot, shooting in landscape mode will ensure you can use the photo elsewhere later, as well.