How To: Take Photos Outdoors
After you read these tips, you'll be able to tackle the great outdoors!

Design Master

Quick Tip: Want your photos printed beautifully? Check out our reviews of the best photo printing services. Prices start at $0.09/photo!

One of life’s greatest pleasures is being outside surrounded by stunning natural scenery. Photographing the beauty of nature is a way to prolong this pleasure, but truly capturing that beauty can be very tricky.

Outdoor photography can be challenging, but these tips will help you take better photos in several different circumstances. For your inspiration, I’ve included a selection of beautiful photographs.

Keep an eye on the available light at all times. Light is the single most important element in photography. To take great photos, you must learn to make the light work to your advantage.

Things to Consider When Taking Photos Outdoors 1


The ideal time of the day to take the best photos is early in the morning or just before the sun sets. At these hours, the light is soft and it has a lovely hue that will pleasantly affect your images.

Things to Consider When Taking Photos Outdoors 2


Around midday, when the sun is high in the sky, the light is harsh, shadows are strong and colors are dull. You probably won’t be able to take the most charming pictures at this time unless you are indoors or in the shade.

Things to Consider When Taking Photos Outdoors 3

It might be less pleasant to walk around on a gloomy, grayish day, but pictures taken in this kind of weather can actually be better than those taken in sunny days. Clouds and haze diffuse the sunlight, making shadows softer and colors soothing.

Things to Consider When Taking Photos Outdoors 4


If your camera has manual settings, make sure to keep the ISO value at its lowest. High ISO increases digital noise, which negatively affects the final quality of your images. Raise the ISO only when shooting in low light.

Things To Consider When Taking Photos Outdoors 5


Camera shake usually occurs while holding the camera in your hands in less than ideal lighting. It’s the reason many photos turn out sort of blurry.

There are actually ways to avoid camera shake and get sharper pictures. If your camera has manual settings, raise your shutter speed by adjusting aperture and ISO at the same time. Alternatively, use a tripod or a stable surface to steady the camera. To get even sharper images when the camera is on a tripod, you can use the self-timer.

Things to Consider When Taking Photos 7

A tripod can improve your photos in many instances. With a tripod, you can take sharp photos in low light. You will achieve better framing and composition, and you’ll probably find it handy when you need to be in front of the camera.

Things to Consider When Taking Photos Outdoors 7

Many new cameras will let you set the white balance to match your scene so no weird color casts show up in your final images.

If you are shooting in cloudy weather, there is a setting for it. If you take photos at sunset, there is usually a setting for that.

If you forget to set your white balance, don’t worry too much because you can make some adjustments in post-production.

Things to Consider When Taking Photos Outdoors 8


When sunlight is too strong or when it’s too dark, consider adding a touch of light either with flash or with a reflective surface to lift the shadows and light up the objects in the foreground. Using flash outdoors is often about bringing the details to life.

Things to Consider When Taking Photos Outdoors 9


Having people in your pictures, even when they are not your main subject, can add perspective and give the viewer a sense of space and dimension.

Things to Consider When Taking Photos Outdoors 10


Taking remarkable photos requires patience. If the photos you take are not that great, it doesn’t necessarily mean you did something wrong. Maybe the weather got in the way or other circumstances were not favorable.

Either give it another try or consider going back later. Sometimes just a few hours can make a huge difference.

Things to Consider When Taking Photos Outdoors 11


Instead of placing the horizon in the center of the picture, give prominence to either the sky or the land.

Moving the horizon up or down, depending on the scene, usually makes a more powerful photo. Level the camera so the horizon is not crooked.

Things to Consider When Taking Photos Outdoors 12


Outdoor photography is not only about majestic landscapes but also about details. Learn to see the potential in the small things in pattern, textures and colors. Sometimes they are the most charming subjects for a photo.

Things to Consider When Taking Photos Outdoors 13


Photos in which too many elements compete for attention and space are usually weak and distracting. Carefully select your main subject and don’t be afraid to leave out what is not necessary.

Things to Consider When Taking Photos Outdoors 14


Take the time to explore your subject from a different point of view. Try to capture it with fresh eyes by attempting something out of the ordinary. You might end up with very surprising results.

Things to Consider When Taking Photos Outdoors 15


Taking good pictures is just a matter of practice and patience. Digital cameras have made shooting photos very convenient, so don’t be afraid to experiment and don’t forget to have fun!

About the Author
Kristi Maddox is a master of graphic design, on-site design and ordering, and is the go-to for template and design tool usage.
Kristi and the team order print jobs from every major printer to test quality, value, customer service, and more. See their reviews here:


  1. WOW, some awesome photos in this, i didnt even read the article. that snow pic might be one of the coolest landscape pics i hvae ever seen.

    • Kristi Maddox (

      I love the snow photo as well. Hopefully these tips will help in taking great pictures like that one!

  2. thanks for the tips! and I agree with the other comment, some of these photos are incredible.