Camping is back in fashion! And even if we have to wait until travel regulations get relaxed, we’ll be camping again before you know it! And if you want to take some photos worthy of the wait, you’re in the right place. With our 11 tips for great camping photography you’re sure to capture some beautiful memories for Instagram, personalized postcards or the family album. Come rain, shine or night time, here’s how to photograph your tent or RV…
Need some camping life hacks for the trip itself? Discover 10 camping hacks you wish you’d known sooner right here.
#1 Perfect timing
Situation: You’re surrounded by nature. There’s one bit that’s more compelling than the other. But how do you get this beauty captured?
Solution: Take the time to look closely at the area and identify the perfect timing and position for the camera. Maybe there’s a small hill which will help you to get a great bird’s eye view of your tent? Is there a particularly photogenic tree behind your van that is even more beautiful when the morning sun falls through the canopy? Analyze the right moment and use it to capture the memory!
#2 The rule of thirds
Situation: You’ve seen loads of really impressive camping photos, and hardly any of them show anything other than nature and a tent!? And you are now wondering how you can do it on your camping holiday…
Solution: Stick to one of the basic design rules of photography. To do this, mentally divide the entire picture into three equal lines. The main subject should now be directly on one of the lines. This means that the motif (for example your tent) is much more conspicuous even though it is not placed in the middle. You can see this in the photo above!
Scroll through your camera settings to see if you have the option of adding dividing lines to your screen. Many smartphones and cameras have this setting.
#3 The essentials for camping photography at night
Situation: Whether it’s at campfire, of a tent under the starry sky or on a night hike: You want to take great camping photos at night too.
Solution: Take note of the following before buying your equipment if you’re serious about nighttime photography.
You need a tripod because of the long exposure times that are necessary for good night photography. You’ll also need a spare battery or sufficient charging options, as night photography uses more energy. And finally you’ll need a camera which you can lower the ISO settings to the (low) values of 200 – 400 on.
By the way, professionals use a remote release to prevent blurring of night images. But the self-timer function is fine for amateur pictures.
#4 Setting the scene for your tent at night
Situation: Your tent is naturally dark at night like the rest of the area and will barely stand out from the rest of the picture.
Solution: The right lighting! It is best to work with a camping lantern for this, because you can put them in the tent. That’s how you can ensure the optimal lighting for your outdoor shoots with a wow factor!
Need more info on taking photos at night? Here are our top tips for amazing night photography.
#5 Photographing campfires for amateurs
Situation: The atmosphere around the campfire is charged. But how can you make sure the subject of the photo is illuminated?
Solution: Increase your ISO value and let the camera choose the exposure time (shutter priority). For anyone with simpler equipment, there is another pretty easy camping photography hack: Don’t take photos of the campfire in the dark of night, but during the evening twilight. This creates an additional atmosphere and sharp images. If you want to edit the high-contrast images later, you should also save them in RAW format.
#6 Quality not quantity!
Situation: All you wanted to do was take some beautiful photos of your last camping holiday to send as personalized postcards via the MyPostcard app for your friends. Then the shock: The pictures are too pixelated!
Solution: Change the resolution of your images. This is even possible if you “only” take photos with your smartphone. The resolution should be at least 1024 pixels so that you have nice, clear pictures. For example, a value between 1920 × 1080 px is recommended for social media.
#7 Tent porn or camping photography…
Situation: No, there is nothing indecent about this! Tent porn is simply great snaps that are taken directly from within the tent. A look into the wilderness from the perspective of the photographer. I’ll show you how to do it!
Solution: You can’t go wrong here. Make sure that your view is really “worth photographing” and that you have good light. So it’s best to take photos in the morning or in the evening during the blue hour. Try different angles, for example take photos from a corner of the tent or leave your feet in the picture.
#8 Travelling with your pet?
Situation: Your pet is of course coming with you? But somehow he or she doesn’t really come into his or her own next to the tent or the person?
Solution: Get down to eye level with your four-legged subject. You can either use a tripod for this or you can put the camera directly on the floor. The result? Great pet portraits! Incidentally, this also works for any other animal. And of course with children. 🙂
Need some inspiration from the professionals? Here are 14 pet influencers that travel – follow them on Instagram for pet photography ideas!
#9 Photographing the sunrise
Situation: The sun’s rays wake you up every day on your camping holiday anyway. So why not embrace it and capture this spectacular natural event for posterity!
Solution: Set the alarm clock for 5 a.m., pack your tripod and go to your pre-picked sunrise spot. Shoot with underexposure and with an aperture between 8 and 11. Shoot in RAW format again if you want to edit the pictures later.
Pro-Tip: You don’t necessarily have to point your camera at the rising sun. (After all, everyone has seen sunrises, right?) Perhaps you will discover other interesting motifs in nature lit by the rising sun. For example: cows grazing in a pasture or a romantic hut in the forest.
#10 Camping photography in the rain
Situation: Great. You’re on vacation and it’s raining. There’s nothing to do but lie around in the tent and wait for better weather, right? Wrong! Go out, take camping photos!
Solution: You can get great effects with macro shots. For example, photograph the raindrops on the tent wall or individual drops on blades of grass with nature in the background. Maybe you will also find a wet spider web or can work with reflections in puddles or on the water’s surface. If you want to photograph falling rain you have to choose a super fast shutter speed (for example: 1/250 seconds). At the same time you have to pay attention to a high ISO value!
#11 Forget the camping photography rules … and start experimenting!
In art in particular, it’s important to try out ideas yourself. So don’t be too strict with your camping photos and don’t work according to the manual. Shoot with or against the light. Take pictures through your tent net. Take pictures in rain, in thick cloud cover weather and sunshine. Take photos while walking or from a burrow.
The possibilities for camping photography are endless! Have fun on your next camping holiday. And always remember: stay safe and healthy!
Want to learn more about travelling in the age of Corona? The travel blogging family known as the Wanderpreneurs talk about their experience RVing around the USA here.
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