Taking Outdoor Pictures

Camping is a time to explore the land and revel in nature's splendor. What better time could there be to capture those great moments in time and have pictures to share with friends and family for years to come? Your goal should be to focus in on a subject and catch the reaction and feeling of the surroundings. You don't have to be a professional photographer. Here are some easy tips to get you started on a fantastic photo album.

Camera Equipment

If you're traditional, you may want to go with a 35mm camera with color film. However, don't take your expensive equipment unless you are very familiar with it, experienced, and have a quick way to shelter it if it begins raining. If you do, you can also bring an extra inexpensive camera for hiking or to give to the kids for snapping outdoor pictures for their own albums.

Digital cameras are still popular as are smart phones and are convenient for reviewing pictures immediately, plugging into your computer when you get home, and sending them to a web page, attaching them to an email, or doing direct uploads to social media. If you take some dud shots, you can delete them instantly and the pictures won't see the light of day. Keep in mind that the camera is limited to the power of the battery (which will need recharging) and the memory on your media card. While they're great for shorter camping trips, they may not be a good alternative for longer ones because of those limitations.

Capturing the Scenery

If you're at a national park or touring with a group, be sure to snap a picture of every monument and point of interest. It isn't always necessary to center the subject. First, look on each side and see if there's anything interesting on one side or the other. Consider taking the picture with the subject off-center, while allowing other appealing scenery and elements into the picture. This usually gives you much more telling pictures and will provide a true feeling of being there when viewing them later on.

Observe the lighting and position of the sun. Heavily wooded areas are best photographed when the sun is high and bright, allowing it to shine through and highlight areas. Wide open areas can be captured just about anytime. Position people and pets so that they're not facing direct sunlight or you'll end up with pale faces and squinting. Don't let rain ruin your pictures, be creative and let it enhance the sentiment of the moment.


What pleasure it is to discover the wildlife native to the land! Unfortunately, it's not always easy to capture them doing what you want. They often move around quickly or flee if they feel they're not alone. You don't have to move in closer. If your camera is equipped with a zoom feature, now is when it comes in handy. If possible, practice taking pictures of animals outdoors before you go camping to adjust your camera to natural surroundings and adapt yourself to catching moving subjects.

Group Photos

Think of group photos as essential, because the larger group you have, the more trouble you'll have remembering who went on the camping trip years later. If you can't find a bystander to snap the picture, you can put your camera on a tripod and set the timer or use a selfie stick to include yourself in the photo. Add some humor if you can, choosing a focal point and posing your friends around it, standing, leaning and squatting. Doing this portrays creativity and the fun you're having on vacation.

Finally, be prepared. If you're not familiar with camera equipment, take the time to learn basic photography and how to use your camera, tripod and timer before you leave. This will allow you to get those spontaneous pictures you wouldn't have otherwise.

“Woodland in full color is awesome as a forest fire, in magnitude at least, but a single tree is like a dancing tongue of flame to warm the heart.” - Hal Borland