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7 Secrets To Boost Your Adventure Photography Skills

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Capturing photos of an adventure is an exhilarating form of photography. But adventure photography isn’t easy or straightforward.

You are often at the mercy of the elements in extreme locations.

To help you achieve the shots you want, here are 7 tips to boost your adventure photography skills.

a paraglider sailing over snow covered mountains - adventure photography skills
© Kav Dadfar

Where to Go for Adventure Photography

Adventure brings up visions of mountains, wild seas, endless deserts, and epic forests. A local park doesn’t shout adventure, does it?

To capture amazing adventure photos, you have to partake in, well, amazing adventures. This might sound obvious but try to take part and do things you love. But also things that you are knowledgeable about.

Adventure photographers often risk their lives so you need to know what you are doing. This is one genre of photography that you usually won’t be able to do in your backyard. Unless your backyard is the great outdoors.

Your first step should be to research, plan and go on great adventures. Whether this means traveling to different countries like New Zealand or Iceland or photographing volcanoes.

hikers walking through a mountainous landscape - adventure photography skills
© Kav Dadfar

What Do You Need to Research Before Embarking on a Photography Adventure

Adventure photographers have to know every detail of their trip. Not only will this keep you safe but also ensure that you capture the best photos that you can. You need to know where you need to be and when, so you can capture the best light.

You should have an idea of the terrain and which potential spots will give you a good view. The good news is that there are so many options these days to help you plan your shoot.

Things like Google maps and even Instagram can be a great source of research. You can even reach out to locals who live in the area for any tips and advice.

Like any other genre of photography, the more you research the shoot the better.

a hiker admiring the sunset from a luscious landscape - adventure photography skills
© Kav Dadfar

Pack Your Bag According to the Type of Adventure You’re On

The thing about adventure photography is that you face such a variety of conditions. So it’s almost impossible to rely on one set of equipment for every scenario.

For surfing photos, you are going to need different equipment than for hiking photos.

Your adventure will also dictate what you can take due to space and weight restrictions.

For example, you don’t want to be carrying a heavy DSLR and lots of lenses if you are climbing a cliff face. Whereas if you are photographing in the water you’ll need a waterproof casing for your camera.

There isn’t one best camera for adventure photography. Or even a set of equipment. Instead, you need to adapt what you are packing to your adventure.

monochrome shot of a cyclist moving through a landscape - adventure photography skills
© Kav Dadfar

Tell a Story Through Your Photos to Keep the Viewer’s Interest

A great adventure photo should tell a story to the viewer. This is the main difference between adventure photography and landscape photography.

Before you even set up to take the photo, ask yourself what is the story that you are trying to tell. You can even try to imagine your photo in a magazine article. What would the headline be?

This is one of the most important adventure photography tips. Sometimes you have to place points of interest in your images to convey that story.

For example a tent in the foreground. Or a hiker admiring the view. At other times they will appear by chance.

Either way, this is what often can give your photos context. And can add things like a sense of scale.

a hiker admiring a waterfall - adventure photography skills
© Kav Dadfar

Adjust Your Settings to the Type of Subject You’re Photographing

For any type of outdoor photography, you will be reliant on the elements such as weather and light. A bright sunny day will need different settings to a dark and stormy one. The subject you are photographing will also factor in the choice of your settings.

To ensure that your photos are going to be sharp and in focus, you need to understand the exposure triangle. You need to know how the three parts of it (aperture, shutter speed and ISO) affect one another.

You also need to know when to raise or lower one for the benefit of another. A good starting point is always your shutter speed.

Work out what that needs to be and then select your aperture. Then raise you ISO only as much as you have to so that you are able to achieve the settings you need.

a rockclimber above a cave by water and a mountainous landscape - adventure photography skills
© Dreamstime

Look for Unique Perspectives When Photography Famous Locations

This is the toughest part of photography these days. In this era of smartphones and social media, it is very difficult to capture something unique.

With good research, perseverance and a bit of luck, you can still capture unique shots. A good way to attempt to do this is by trying to find a different spot to take the photo from.

If you take the photo from the usual viewing platform your photos will look like everyone else’s. So try to look for different angles or even photograph something from further away or nearer.

You can also try to introduce a point of interest like people into your shot.

a hiker standing on the rocky peak of a mountainous landscape - adventure photography skills
© Dreamstime

Enhance Your Images in Lightroom or Photoshop

Post-production isn’t integral to only adventure photography, it’s good for any photography. The reality is that every photo will do better with some level of post-production. Even if it is levelling the horizon line or correcting the white balance.

How much you want to push your photos in post-production is down to personal preference. But also what the photo needs.

Don’t feel embarrassed about boosting your photos in post-production. It isn’t cheating! Software like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop are tools in the photography process.

Without a good photo to start with no level of post-production will make a difference. Give your photos the time they deserve in post-production.

a hiker standing on a rocky desert landscape - adventure photography skills
© Dreamstime


Adventure photography can provide some stunning images. These images can “wow” the viewer. They may never be able to experience that sort of adventure for themselves. But make no mistake, good adventure photos are difficult to achieve.

Photographers sometimes have to keep returning to a location to capture the shot they want. But sometimes they have to risk their lives to be able to do so. With the right attitude, desire and perseverance, you’ll be a great adventure photographer.

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