4 Steps for Better Adventure Photography

Adventure photography is getting extremely popular… Or maybe I just follow way too many adventure photographers… Either way, I wanted to share some ways to help you instantly take better adventure photos. The steps really aren’t that difficult if you know how to use your camera effectively. If you don’t, I would recommend you learn your camera’s controls because then you’ll really be able to unlock the potential of your photography style.

Adventure photography is all about sparking a desire to go and do. If you can take a photo of your adventure, whatever it may be, and make someone want to go and do exactly what you’re doing then you’ve succeeded.

What’s really great about adventure photography is actually getting to go on adventures yourself!

Let’s take a look at a few steps to shoot better adventure photography with some photo examples.

1. Add Yourself

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Here’s my approach to adventure photography: it’s landscape photography with people in the frame. No matter what I’m shooting; hiking, climbing, running, whatever, I always approach the shot this way. I love landscape photography and have been shooting landscapes for numerous years. So, before I do anything else, I will set up my shot like it’s a landscape photo. Next, if I don’t have anyone with me (that’s usually 95% of the time) I will add myself to the photo.

Now, you can’t just throw yourself into the frame anywhere. Look for areas of negative space to stand, walk, sit, jump, or whatever you want to do. Negative space will help your silhouette stand out more in the photo and give a more powerful impact to the photograph.

2. Shoot for Scale

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People can look at a photo with no scale and not really understand how big something is. That can be a really big issue in any photograph shot in nature. If someone doesn’t know the size of a cliff or a tree, the overall awe factor of the scene can be lost. In adventure photography when you’re deciding where to stand, look for opportunities to show scale.

Standing next to large items will show people how big things actually are. If I hadn’t included myself in the photo above, you might interpret the cliff face to be ten feet tall. However, once I stand next to it, you can see that it’s more like one hundred feet tall!

3. Shoot at Night

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One of the greatest things about adventure photography is that it shows people something they’ve never seen before. Night photography does the same thing. So, it seems obvious that you could pair the two genres of photography together. People love night photography because light pollution and sleep prevent them from seeing some of the most beautiful starry skies.

As an adventure photographer, it’s your job to hoot at night and lose sleep. So, get out in the wee hours of the mornings and start shooting the night sky.

4. Find Better Perspectives

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Basic shots of just standing and shooting are over done. It’s time to get dirty and get risky with more interesting perspectives. Find opportunities to get lower or higher than your subject in your photo. If you’re photographing a hiker, get lower than them as they are crossing a bridge, or climb down in a cave and shoot their silhouette.

Get higher up than a campsite or a runner to show the grandness of a location. Whatever it is, find a better perspective!