A couple months ago we had the chance to teach a class at the REI in Asheville with two of our friends, Kim Wishcamper and Elissa Ribant. The topic? How to Take Better Adventure Photos. We spent a majority of the session in a classroom setting and the last 20 minutes or so outside putting our teachings into practice. It was a great opportunity to give back a little something and also a fun way to meet other photographers. Listed below are some of our top tips on how to make better photos.
10 Tips for Better Adventure Photos:
- Shoot manual.
Stepping away from Automatic camera settings and learning to shoot on Manual can be downright hard and frustrating but it’s the right call if you’re looking for the ultimate control over your photos. And who doesn’t want that? The agony and frustration are worth it. Trust me on this. I shot automatic for a while before making the jump and it’s made all the difference.
- Be prepared.
If you know the area you’re going to be shooting in, you’re much more prepared to get the shots you want. If not, try to get out and scout the location ahead of time. It could be the difference between a successful shoot and a not so successful shoot.
- Get to know your gear.
The better you know your gear, the faster you can manipulate the settings on your camera. And in certain situations, speed is everything. You can’t exactly ask a surfer to go back and re-catch the wave they were just on, can you? So you’ve got to be ready and able to change with different lighting conditions, different focal points, etc so that you “make” more of the shots you take. We shoot with Fuji X-T2 cameras and their lenses and also use BLACKRAPID straps (pictured below is the Wrist Breathe, one of our go to straps). To learn more about the photography gear we use click here.
- Get out and explore.
If you want to take adventure photos, you’ve got to go on an adventure. This can be as far as another country or as close as your own backyard. When we’re not on the road, we love to explore in our own town; there’s always something new to discover.
- Shoot during golden hour.
One of the sacred hours for shooting photographs is the hour before the sun sets and the hour or so after it rises. The light is softer and has a way of showcasing pretty much everything it hits in it’s best light. It’s our favorite time of day to shoot photographs.
- Push yourself to learn new techniques.
One of the things that keeps photography fun and interesting for us is that we’re always learning new things. It could mean going over your manual with a fine tooth comb, going online and reading some of the forums related to your topic of interest. It might also mean watching some videos. There is so much content online that if you look long enough, you’re bound to find someone who teaches in a way that will make sense to you.
- Make friends with other photographers.
Caroline and I have a phrase we like to use which is #communityovercompetition. It’s the whole premise of our Asheville Instameets. Basically it means that we value friendships and connections with other photographers over cut throat competition with them. New to Asheville a little over a year ago, I had the opportunity to connect with other creatives in town and it made a world of difference to me not only in my personal life (they became my friends) but also professionally. They have taught me so much about the technical aspect of photography as well as the business side and I’m thankful in so many ways.
- Consider new points of view.
One of the best things about connecting with other creatives is exposure to different styles of photography. Though it’s important to develop your own style and shoot accordingly, we get a lot of inspiration from our friends and feed on the cross-pollination of ideas and methods.
- Learn from your mistakes.
So many times I’ve gone on an adventure only to get home and look at my pictures and be totally disappointed in what I shot. Thankfully this happens less and less to me but when it does, it’s still a great learning opportunity (even if it doesn’t seem like it in the moment.) Once the frustration wears off, go back and look at your settings, think about what was happening at the time you took the shot and see if you can’t deconstruct the moment and improve upon your results.
- Practice, practice, practice.
You knew this was coming, right? It’s true though. There are so many moving parts with photography that it can be difficult to isolate a skill and perfect it without hours and hours of practice. And even then are we ever truly mastering and perfecting it?
2 Bonus Tips
- Take your camera with you everywhere.
You might surprise yourself by how often you actually find something to shoot if your camera is with you. (And consequently, how often you wish you had it if you forgot to bring it!)
- Wear bright colors!
Reds and yellows really stand out in photographs. Certain blues do, too. Wearing something with these colors really gives your pictures “pop” and can be the difference between a good shot and an incredible shot.
Do you have any tips for getting great adventure photos? Did we leave anything out?