How To Prepare for a Hiking Photography Trip

23/02/2021 6:02 am

There’s nothing quite like getting out into the great outdoors for a day of hiking. The fresh air, the tricky inclines, and when you finally reach the peak, the satisfaction you feel for a job well done; these are just some of the things we love about our regular hikes.


If you want to commemorate your next hiking trip with some stunning images, we have compiled everything you need to know, from the right gear to pack to our tips to capture the best landscape photography.


Choosing the best camera for hiking photography

Hiking involves getting up early to give yourself enough time to complete the trail you have planned out and you often won’t return to your car until after sunset. While your smartphone can capture decent images in well-lit scenarios, to capture the most detail in the trickier conditions that you encounter on these long days, you should consider purchasing a dedicated camera, such as a DSLR or Mirrorless camera

 

These cameras feature much larger image sensors, which allows you to shoot in darker conditions with minimal image noise, as well as capture plenty of details in shadows and highlights in high contrast conditions. Another obvious benefit of DSLR and Mirrorless cameras, is their ability to change lenses to find the best focal length to frame your shot. While both are great choices to take hiking to photograph the best landscape images, Mirrorless cameras are lighter and more portable, so if you want to make the carrying a little easier, Mirrorless is the best option.

How to prepare for a hiking photography trip

Other essential photography gear to take hiking

How to prepare for a hiking photography trip

 

 

Now that you have chosen your camera, here are some other essential photographic items for your hiking trip:

 

 

All-in-one zoom lens -

 

While our digital camera lens wish list is long with a dedicated optic planned for every occasion, when it comes to hiking, you want to keep your kit as small and portable as possible, so if you can get all of your photography done with just one lens, why wouldn’t you? All in one zoom lenses cover a wide to telephoto zoom range and modern options do so in a package that is manageable for day-long handheld shooting.

 

Monopod - 

 

A monopod is great for providing a little bit of support to cut down on camera shake. It can help you shoot with slightly faster shutter speeds, although you can’t leave your camera mounted on a monopod and step back to survey your surroundings, like you can a tripod. Monopods are easy to carry, fast to set up, and can double as a walking stick when your camera isn’t mounted.

 

Spare batteries and cards -

 

You don’t want to run out of space or power just moments after ascending a big hill. Pack plenty of spares so there is no chance of missing the perfect shot.

 

 

 

Lens filters - 

 

As discussed in our lens filter buying guide, lens filters are great for protecting our lenses as well as producing stunning photographic effects during capture. For hiking, we would recommend UV filters to keep your front element free from dust and dirt, polarising filters for increasing the saturation of your images and perhaps an ND filter, if you are photographing waterfalls or similar features that would benefit from a slower shutter speed.

 

 

Camera bag -

 

While you will probably plan your trip for the best day of weather on the forecast, there is no accounting for mother nature’s ability to spoil our plans. Choose a rugged and weather-proof camera bag that fits your necessary gear snugly, so that it is safe from any bumps occurring during your trek, and can be stowed away if the rain sets in.

 

Camera cleaning kit - 

 

Camera clean and care is essential to keep all of your gear happy and firing for as long as possible. Hiking can present you with dusty and dirty conditions, so keeping a well stocked cleaning kit is a good idea, so you can wipe these nastys away swiftly, without resorting to using your shirt.

How to prepare for a hiking photography trip

Don’t forget the other hiking essentials

If there is one thing we know about nature, it is that you can’t rely on everything running smoothly. While you might feel like your photography gear is far and away the most important factor when planning your trip, there are still other things to consider; such as your health and safety.

 

When preparing for your hike, consider the following:

 

  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear, which is comfortable and protective
  • Bring a first aid kit
  • Pack a poncho; these are lightweight, fold down really small and can really save your day
  • Portable charger/powerbank - to bring smartphones back to life
  • Plenty of water
  • Headlamp/flashlight
How to prepare for a hiking photography trip

Follow these tips for the best hiking photos

So you’ve got the best hiking photography kit in town, and are prepared to photograph the landscapes before you from sunrise to sunset, but how can you ensure that you put this gear and good intentions to best use? Hopefully, these steps will help you make a start.

How to prepare for a hiking photography trip

 

 

Shoot in the best light -

 

No matter how long your hike is, make sure at least some of it is in the early hours of the morning or the late afternoon before sunset; this is when light is at its most beautiful.

 

Shoot in manual, or aperture priority -

 

If you are game, get to know the exposure triangle and how this manual side of photography can help you capture the best pictures. If this seems too much, at least change your camera to aperture priority, which allows you to adjust the aperture and the camera does the rest.

 

Note: For landscape images you want most of your image to be in focus, which means shooting with a smaller aperture (larger number).

 

Consider your composition -

 

Composition refers to how and where you position subjects within your frame, and quite simple, it makes or breaks a photo. You can get better at composing your photos by viewing plenty of other people's photos and by learning some key techniques, which we discuss here.

 

Don’t be scared of editing -

 

It may be a little, it may be alot, but the fact of the matter is that all images that you view these days have been edited digitally to some extent. While we are not suggesting you spend hours cloning things in and out of your images, a simple crop, levels or curves adjustment goes a long way to making your photographs appear more professional.


Prepare for your next hike with a little help from Ted’s

Hiking is one of those enjoyable hobbies that allows you to clear your mind, stay healthy, and as you can see, return home with plenty of high-quality photographs. If you need some more gear advice or tips, keep an eye on our photography blog or have a chat to the staff at your local Ted’s store.


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