7 Unexpected Hiking Photography Tips & Tricks [For Beginners]

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Are you looking for uncomplicated hiking photography tips? You’ve come to the right place!

As a physical therapist and avid hiker, I’ve always been drawn to the beauty of nature. It’s literally the only place where I know I can chill out without even trying.

And recently, I’ve discovered a new passion for capturing that beauty through hiking and outdoor photography. I loved taking images of the Via Transilvanica trail markers in Romania.

It’s a rewarding experience, but it requires some knowledge and preparation to get the best shots. And the ability to shoot in RAW has really changed everything for me.

One of the best things about being a hiker is the chance to get to where nobody else goes. To get the shot nobody else has before. 

Read until the end to learn about how to create something truly unique – Nature-Glamour Flying Dress Photography. 

Short on Time? The TL;DR

TL;DR: Good hiking photography boils down to only 2 things. Composition and Light. Gear is secondary.

From my last hiking photography trip at Olpererhutte Austria in 2022.

7 Hiking Photography Tips for Amazing Photos

As a nature enthusiast and avid hiker, you understand the value of capturing the beauty of the great outdoors. Whether you are a seasoned photographer or just starting, here are 9 hiking photography tips to help you capture stunning outdoor shots.

1. Picking the Right Gear

Investing in a good camera is essential, but choosing the right lenses and accessories can make a big difference in your shots.

Consider a tripod to stabilize your camera, a polarizing filter to reduce glare, and a wide-angle lens for capturing expansive landscapes.

When hiking, it’s important to pack light, but also to have the right gear. I recommend investing in a good quality mirrorless camera and camera backpack that is comfortable to wear and can hold all your photography essentials, including extra lenses, batteries, and a tripod. 

A lightweight tripod is essential for keeping your camera steady, especially in low light situations.

2. Go at Sunrise or Sunset

When hiking, you’ll encounter different lighting conditions throughout the day, so it’s important to adjust your camera settings accordingly. For example, early morning and late evening light will create a more dramatic effect, while midday light can be harsh and cause shadows. The golden hours of the day, just after sunrise and just before sunset, offer the best light for outdoor photography. The light is softer, warmer, and creates beautiful shadows and contrasts.

3. Wear Bright Colors

Wearing bright colors when hiking not only adds a pop of color to your photos but also makes you easier to spot in your shots. Plus, it’s a great way to stand out in nature and make a statement.

4. Find a Subject of Interest (preferably a person)

Adding a subject of interest to your shot helps create a sense of scale and adds depth to your photos. Including a person in your shot also adds a personal touch and can tell a story.

5. Composition

Paying attention to composition is key to capturing stunning outdoor shots. Use the rule of thirds to create a balanced and visually appealing shot. Experiment with different angles, foregrounds, and backgrounds to add depth and interest to your photos.

6. Shoot in Raw

Shooting in RAW format captures more data and allows you to edit your photos with more flexibility. This means you can recover highlights and shadows, adjust exposure, and fine-tune your images.

7. Edit using Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom is a powerful tool for editing your hiking photos. Use it to adjust exposure, contrast, saturation, and more. Experiment with different presets and editing styles to find your signature look.

Bonus Category: Use Your iPhone

iPhones are a Great Place to Start

All iphone…but that light and color!!!

Don’t have a camera? No problem! Most modern smartphones have excellent camera capabilities that can capture stunning outdoor shots. Use apps like Snapseed or VSCO to edit your photos and take advantage of the phone’s editing capabilities.

If you just want to level up your iPhone photography, I’d highly recommend the online course from iphone photo academy

Unexpected Fun: Mixing Glamour with Nature

hiking photography tips

One fun and unexpected aspect of hiking photography is mixing glamour with nature. For example, I love to bring a flowy dress or a colorful flying dress to add a pop of color and movement to my photos. 

The contrast between the satin fabric and rugged landscape creates a stunning effect that will make your photos stand out.

Adventure Elopements

Hiking photography is also a popular choice for adventure elopements, where couples choose to exchange their vows in a breathtaking natural setting. 

As a photographer, it’s important to plan ahead and scout out the location, taking into consideration the lighting, terrain, and potential hazards. 

It’s also important to be respectful of the environment and leave no trace behind.

Best Places for Hiking Photography in Europe

Europe is home to some of the most beautiful hiking destinations in the world, each offering unique landscapes and opportunities for photography. Here are some of my top picks:

  • Dolomites, Italy: With its stunning rock formations and jagged peaks, the Dolomites offer a dramatic backdrop for hiking photography.
  • Rudesheim Rhine River, Germany: The vineyard strewn UNESCO world heritage site provides endless opportunities for moody and atmospheric shots.
  • Zillertal Alps, Austria: The Zillertal Alps offer breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks, crystal clear lakes, and charming alpine villages.
  • Mont Blanc, France/Italy: Hiking the Mont Blanc circuit is a challenging but rewarding experience, with breathtaking views of the highest peak in the Alps.
  • Boka Bay Fjord, Montenegro: The steep Fjord of Boka Bay offers a unique blend of rugged landscapes and traditional mountain culture, with plenty of opportunities for photography.

Hiking photography is a wonderful way to combine two passions: exploring the great outdoors and capturing its beauty. With some preparation and practice, anyone can take stunning photos while hiking. 

And with so many breathtaking destinations in Europe, the possibilities for hiking photography are endless.

Nature Captions for Instagram

Check out my curated lists of captions for your outdoor photography.

250 Instagram Nature Captions

121 Dolomites Quotes and Captions

121 Mountain Quotes

In conclusion, taking great hiking photos is all about experimenting and having fun. Whether you’re using a camera or your phone, these hiking photography tips will help you capture the beauty of nature and create stunning outdoor shots that you’ll treasure for years to come.

Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.

I hope you enjoyed this guide on hiking photography tips!