Guide to Outdoor Photography*

Outdoor photography provides ample opportunities to play around with your camera settings, experiment with apertures, get familiarized with the shutter speed and generally get outside your comfort zone. This guide will explain the most important aspects you have to keep in mind when you’re out on the field snapping photos.

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Looking at the Exposure Triangle

The three sides of the exposure triangle are the aperture, shutter speed and ISO. These work hand in hand to correctly expose a photograph.

Aperture refers to the size of the hole in your lens which lets in more or less light. How much or how little light comes in is expressed through an f-stop: a large value corresponds to a small opening and vice versa.

Measured in seconds, the shutter speed is the length of time for which a shutter is open to allow light to hit the sensor. If you want to double the amount of light, you will have to double the length of exposure. Moving from a fast shutter speed like 1/60s to a slower shutter speed like 1/30s adds a stop of light. Moving from a slow shutter speed like 1s to a faster one like 1/8s decreases the exposure by three stops (1/2s, 1/4s and 1/8s).

The ISO is the sensitivity of the digital sensor. Low numbers imply that the sensor has to collect more light to achieve the right exposure, while high numbers imply that the sensor doesn’t have to gather as much light to achieve the right exposure.

In order to correctly expose a photograph, when you change one variable, the other two must be adjusted in the opposite direction. Decreasing your shutter speed by two stops implies increasing the ISO and aperture by one stop each. There are many combinations of aperture, ISO and shutter speed that will yield the correct exposure when you are doing outdoor photography. Depending on how you want your pictures to look like, you can decide what combination to pursue as long as you remember to make up for the variable you are adjusting by changing the other two as well. If you want to understand the exposure triangle in depth, book a professional photography course that will teach you first-hand how to achieve beautiful shots.

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Choosing the Right Lens

You have a wide variety of lenses to choose from, according to your photography needs.

Standard Lenses

A standard lens like the Canon 15-85mm might seem like a modest choice, but it will get the job done. The image stabilizer enables you to take photos without a tripod, making this lens a great choice for shooting moving subjects or at night.

Wide Angle Lenses

Wide or ultra-wide lenses are many photographers’ favorite since they fit a big chunk of the scene in frame. A wide angle lens can capture an 115 degree view, offering gorgeous shots with no chromatic aberrations.

Telephoto Lenses

Used widely for sports photos, telephoto lenses allow the photographer to zoom in on a certain element in the landscape. These professional lenses strike the perfect balance between aperture and portability, making them perfect for landscape photographers on the go.

Investing in Filters

Polarizing filters are essential for outdoor photographers. These improve photos by adding contrast and vividness. A polarizing filter will decrease reflections from glass and water, will bring out the clouds and darken the sky.

Neutral density filters come in handy when you want to shoot photos of waterfalls and running water. To achieve the silky smooth effect, you need to decrease the amount of light that goes into the camera lens, increase the exposure and lower the shutter speed. A natural density filter will help you capture the best image.


A massive thank you to Antonio from London School Of Photography for writing this blog post.

You can find Antonio and London School of Photography at