How To Take The Perfect Hiking Photos: Tips From The Pros

5th May 2021

If you go hiking often, you’ve probably seen tons of beautiful scenery on your hikes. While hiking can be difficult, it’s also an extremely rewarding pastime and a great way to experience all that nature has to offer. Whether you go hiking to refresh your body or relax your mind, it can also be a good idea to take pictures and capture precious moments along the way. Taking good pictures will help preserve the essence of your whole experience. There are many reasons that people decide to not capture pictures, whether it be tiredness, laziness, or a lack of the proper equipment. A lot of people, however, simply don’t know how to take high-quality pictures. So here’s a guide on how to take perfect hiking photos. These tips are from professional photographers and will help you take breathtaking pictures for your photo albums, bedroom walls, or Instagram profile.

hiking man

Go Hiking Early

The timing of your hike will affect the type and quality of pictures you get. The best time to go for a hike is early in the morning. Although some people consider this too early to be out of the house, hitting the hiking trail at dawn is worth it. Not only will you be able to enjoy the sunrise, with its beautiful colours painted across the sky, you’ll also be able to get some stunning pictures of your journey.

A morning hike is also perfect if you want to have some peace and quiet, and enjoy nature with a smaller crowd. Hiking trails are usually fairly empty in the morning, and you can take pictures without having to worry about people getting in the way.

Keep Your Camera Accessible

Make sure you pack your camera somewhere it’s easy to reach during your hike. It shouldn’t be stashed under your stuff in your backpack. Not only will that make it harder for you to take your camera out if you find a sudden photo-worthy spot, but it may also cause damage to the camera lens. So make sure you have a good system in place for carrying your camera when you’re out on the trail.

A good practice is either keeping your camera at the top of your backpack or putting it in a case or holder. In either case, you can easily get your camera out when there’s a shot you want to capture. It’s important that you choose the right backpack to make sure your camera is safe and sound. You can also use a camera sleeve to secure it to your body and hike without having to worry about it getting damaged.

Wear Bright Colours

Hiking photos often have striking, detailed backgrounds and people can easily fade into the background. This is why it’s important that you take pictures of human subjects by placing them in front of an empty space or solid background instead of a detailed, cluttered backdrop.

Another way to make yourself, or the person whose picture you’re taking, stand out is by wearing bright colours. You can also wear colours that may complement the scenery of the place where you’ll be hiking. For example, if you’re hiking around a lake, consider wearing red to complement the water.

Take Candid Photos

You’ve probably seen tons of posed hiking pictures on your Instagram feed; though they can look pretty cool, candid pictures capture the actual experience in a more organic way. Often, the best memories will be captured by candid, natural shots you take during your hike. Try taking pictures showcasing real experiences and reactions; not even fake candids can always capture the true essence of your experiences on a hike.

Make sure you document the laughs, the struggles, the falls, and the smiles throughout your journey. This might require some extra work and make things a little more difficult for you, and you might have to run ahead or lag behind to take the perfect candid pictures, but the results will be worth the effort.

woman walking in the forest

Capture the Story of Your Journey

A really cool way to capture your hiking journey is to take pictures at every step of the way. This way, your pictures will tell the story of your journey. If you’re on a long hiking trip, you can chronicle the whole experience in a compelling way by capturing a variety of different shots. Don’t take a bunch of photos that look too similar. You can include detailed shots, wide landscape shots, and focus shots, for example. You can even capture pictures of you and your group preparing for your hiking trip, packing bags, and preparing food. By capturing your whole journey from start to finish, you’ll be able to look back on your adventure and recall the details better. A series of photos that tells a story will help you preserve priceless memories that might otherwise be lost.

Use the Right Camera Settings

You can also try to fine-tune the settings on your camera to make sure you get the photos you desire. The three most important factors affecting the quality of your pictures are shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. The shutter speed determines how long the camera lens is open during your shot. In addition to influencing the brightness of your photo, it affects how much movement is captured. The aperture similarly affects the brightness of your photo. It also has an impact on the focus of the image. If a smaller aperture is used, your whole picture will tend to be in focus, even objects at a distance. Whereas if a larger aperture is used, only the subject will be in focus while the background is blurred. The ISO, which refers to the sensitivity of the camera’s sensor, should be set to as low as possible because it will dictate the general quality of your photo. The higher the ISO setting, the grainier your photos will be. If you’re shooting in low light, however, and your pictures are coming out too dark, it may be necessary to turn the ISO up a bit.

At the end of the day, memories are all you’re left with, and pictures help you preserve the memories you form out on the trail. Good pictures can capture the feelings and experiences you had on these journeys. So it’s important that you try to get as many pictures as you can while simultaneously enjoying your journey. Although hikes can be tiring, they allow you to form lasting memories with your friends, family, and loved ones. So keep these tips in mind, grab your camera, and get out there.

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