How to Get More from your Photography Walks, Without Buying More Gear.
You can get so much more than photographs from your photography, being outdoors and walking with a camera in your hands is such a great way to exercise, to get closer to nature and take care of your well-being, being outdoors with a camera can change your life.
Seeing things with a photograph in mind strengthens your appreciation of the things
around you and can make you so much more aware of the amazing details in a landscape, noticing things like colours, shapes, lines, movement and light as you consider framing your shot and deciding on your composition.
In this post I share 8 suggestions that I believe can help you get more from your photography walks.
1. Think like an Explorer
Do your best to find new places to explore and be adventurous, set out on your walks with a mind to really discover and observe a Landscape, be constantly on the look out for photograph opportunities, try different shot angles and make an effort to look for the less obvious shots, these might be beyond the main paths, so be curious and see where a less trodden track might lead to.
Do some research on where you are going to walk and shoot, check out the area before you go, get out a walkers map and pick out a number of points of interest that you will explore along your route.
Think about your timings for the trip, and how the landscape might change - things like light and weather - while you are out, consider what wildlife you might see and where they are most likely to be on your route, and read-up on the type of trees and flowers in the area, and how nature and people have shaped the landscapes that you will be walking and photographing.
2. Scan with a Photographers Eye
Keep your senses in photography mode, be on the look - out for photograph opportunities as you walk, and stop often to take everything in, make an effort to miss nothing, check all around you - near and far - and take time to examine the sky, notice how the light plays on the scene.
3. Be a Planner (and be prepared to Adapt)
Plan things, I like being spontaneous but to get the most from photography walks I believe prior planning is key, be best prepared to get the best from your day, and be prepared to adapt when stuff happens.
4. Be Organised
Be Prepared & Organised - this is a lot like planning...but being Organised I believe is about having the right things in the right place for the right moment.
All your gear (camera, lenses, spare battery, SD cards, cleaning Kit, glasses, car keys, mobile phone, cash, cards, lunch, drinks, maps and so on) everything should have a home in your pack, in your bags and pockets, a certain place that belongs to them, and when you get them out, always put them back where they belong.
Get Organised before you set out for the day, and stay organised throughout the walk, relax and take things easy in the knowledge that you have everything, you know where it is and you can get to it quickly.
Being prepared is also about having the correct gear, including the right footwear and clothing for the outdoors and the walk.
5. Know Your Stuff
Be knowledgable and skilful with all your kit, be sure to know how your Camera and Lens work, be aware of what all the buttons and dials do, and how, when and why to change settings.
Take time to learn, read the manuals, hire a tutor, take a training course, book a 1-1 workshop, watch videos etc...and practice to improve.
Whatever your preferred learning and practice style, it's of great value to be able to use your camera properly, shooting your images on Fully Manual settings should be one of your photography Must Do's.
6. Have a Process
When you get back from a photography walk you might want to import your RAW images from your SD card onto your computer and begin the process of selecting those you want to develop, for me this is almost as exciting as taking the shots in the first place, this is the moment when I really see my shots properly for the first time.
Establish a process for 1)Importing your images 2) Editing them 3) Saving and 4) Exporting them and carry out all your process steps with care, patience and attention to detail. Take your time when working in the editor, after a first pass I find it best to walk away and return to it later, perhaps even another day, I always do the same after a second pass, maybe even a third, with a fourth session as a final edit, take your time.
If you get to know your stuff (in this case how your editing applications work) and establish a process you will be rewarded with an amazing amount of Job Satisfaction when your work is finished and you step back to admire the image you have worked carefully with knowledge, skill and effort to create.
7. Be Motivated
Be Inspired and be motivated. Reading, watching and listening to people who share your Love of Landscapes, nature, walking, wildlife and photography is a great way to find inspiration and motivation.
Think about Researching, Planning and Walking with someone who might help inspire you to find new and amazing places to walk and take landscape or wildlife photographs, to help you be more adventurous and to photograph new things, capturing moments that will never be the same again.
Sharing an image is for me the the icing on the cake and the thing that I have in my mind when I set out on a walk, take a shot, and when I am editing, saving, uploading, printing out and framing.
Sharing images, knowledge, skill and insights inspires me to get outdoors into nature, it motivates me to discover and explore new places, to research and to plan things, and of course to take new images and create photographs and experiences that others can also enjoy.