Take Great Outdoor Photos
For most of us, our phone is our camera. When you aren’t shooting, you’re scrolling. Make your feed more enviable and memories more beautiful with these simple tricks.
1 – REMEMBER THE RULE OF THIRDS.
The most interesting outdoor pics rarely have subject square in the middle. Imagine a grid — or use your phone’s grid guides.
The rule of thirds involves mentally dividing up your image using 2 horizontal lines and 2 vertical lines, as shown below. You then position the important elements in your scene along those lines, or at the points where they meet.
Position the most important elements across the lines or at the intersection. Keep your horizon to the bottom (or top) third, rather than closer to the middle, which is typically the go-to.
2 – THINK FOREGROUND & FRAME.
While the mountain may be what you care about, a little foreground interest can add drama. This can be a tree, a friend, your feet, a fence. Or crouch down and use a dramatic angle to make the ground itself a powerful entry into the shot.
Or try framing the edges of the pic with overhanging branches or the edges of a doorway or window frame.
3 – BE THE ZOOM.
Phones have come a long way, but the zoom is still far behind a regular camera. Getting your body closer still works better and may show you a new angle.
Not for you? Now there are external lenses to pop on phones that can expand your phone into DSLR territory.
4 – CONSIDER THE LIGHT.
High noon = most light = ideal, right? No. Strong overhead sun can wash out pics and create hard shadows. Soft or dramatic lighting can turn a basic tree into a moody art piece. Shoot when the sun is lower, in the morning or evening.
The “golden hour” is the hour before dark, casting a warm light — an especially ﬂattering light for shooting people. Low sun can also create lens ﬂares and dramatic shadows.
That said, cloudy and overcast days offer a soft light. Embracing side lighting can be dramatic, especially when it wraps around curves, angles and edges of a subject.
5 – SHADOWS ADD DRAMA.
Clouds and shadow can create interesting contrast and intrigue on otherwise ﬂat or fairly uniform situations. Shadows from clouds can turn a pasture into drama, water into a mirror. You can use shadows of people or shapes like a house to create a story telling image.
Side lighting can be dramatic, especially over curves and edges.
6 – SHOOT. A LOT.
Move around your chosen subject. Take slightly different angles and check in at your shots in between. You’ll get a better feel for what works best and teach yourself to be a better photographer in the process.
7 – SKIP THE FILTER. ADJUST MANUALLY.
Filters are the go-to, but tweaking images individually makes the different. Brightness and saturation often do a lot more than a ﬁlter.
Phone cameras now have manual settings built in, or choose one of many photo apps like VSCO to go next-level.
8 – GET OUTSIDE. OFTEN.
The more you see, the more you shoot, the better your pics and more enviable your feed. RVs let you get beyond the things everyone’s seen and the moments everyone has shared. Plus, your phone stays charged on USB ports—sometimes even off a solar source.