Tips to Take Great Outdoor Photos

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Tips to Take Great Outdoor Photos
Click to view this article in the Summer 2015 issue of ADVENTURESS magazine.

It’s amazing how instant everything is nowadays… that includes photography. Thanks to technology, you don’t have to have a huge, expensive camera to take remarkable photos and you don’t have to wait to see or edit them. You can capture beauty at its finest with something as simple and affordable as a phone and share it with the world seconds later.  Anyone can be an amazing photographer!

(See article in the magazine at the link above to view photos)

Not afraid to look like a fool

The shot of this red-spotted purple butterfly was from running around in a field for about a half-hour. I later read how fast they are… I know I looked like an idiot, but it was worth it! If you watch a good photographer, they are always moving. Standing up on a chair, laying down on the ground and moving here and there to get that perfect shot.

“Feel” it

Think about textures when taking a photo. These details really pull the viewer in like they are seeing it in real life and can almost feel it for themselves.

Find the beauty

These two photos are from the set – the difference between a “nothing” photo and an amazing photo is often just getting close enough to the subject and finding the right angle. Here, you can choose what you want or want to avoid in your background to create the right shot.


Great light and darknesses in a photo automatically tend to catch our eyes. And it creates really beautiful moments. These are often from playing with light whether from a sunrise, sunset or somewhere in between playing with sunlight and shadows during the day.

Timing is everything

Timing really is everything when it comes to getting the right photo, so take a lot of photos. In this sunset, I was bowhunting during deer season on the edge of an open field. As it started to lighten up a bit, I could already tell this was going to be a sunset I’d never forget. I started taking photos every couple minutes, and as the climax of the sunrise got closer, I started shooting more and more. Looking back on the photos and times, one second made the difference. The next second the peak color had already started to decrease.

Showing enjoyment

Capture moments of people enjoying the great outdoors. The bridge, sky and water in the above photo was already beautiful, but it meant so much more to me capturing the neat act of kayakers tapping the bridge as they passed under it. On the left, this photo was during a boat ride back to camp after an afternoon of fishing. I looked over to see my niece, Madyson, eyes closed and feeling the wind on her face. I don’t know how many times I’ve felt like that myself and seeing this photo takes me back to it every time.

Photo editing

All of the photo examples so far have been without editing; however, sometimes you are never going to get the perfect photo naturally. For example, this photo taken in the middle of the day had harsh lighting. This is when to use Photoshop or Instagram filters to correct your photo.

Knowing when to leave it be

And sometimes the best photo comes from knowing when to do absolutely nothing but just point, click and then admire mother nature’s true beauty exactly how it is. ~JP