With weather (FINALLY) turning nice, the time is now to finally dust off your cameras and work on your outdoor photography. Below are 5 tips & tricks to focus on when snapping photos outside.

Tip 1. Find the Golden Hour: Ask photographers for their favorite time of day to shoot outdoors and the consensus will be the “golden hour.” This is the period of time directly after sunrise and just before sunset. During the golden hour you can take advantage of the direct sunlight that midday is too harsh and creates a washed out effect on your photos. The light is much softer and evenly distributed due to the angle of the sun at this hour. The golden hour offers warmer reds and oranges that will accentuate the details in your photo.

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Tip 2. Embrace the clouds: Let’s face it, not all days are created equal and quite often we find ourselves under a canopy of clouds. While your suntan may not agree a cloudy day is far better for photography than a bright sunny one. If you can‘t hit the golden hour, a cloudy day is the next best thing. A natural cloud cover achieves the same thing as a professional photographer’s soft box – the sun comes through at different angles and is diffused creating the desired “soft light.” On top of this, a bright blue sky is always just another bright blue sky. Clouds offer up great contrast and make an outdoor photo all the more interesting.

Photo Credit: Erin L-P

Photo Credit: Erin L-P

Tip 3. Get up close and personal: Pretty much every camera (including those on your phone) come with a zoom feature. However, it’s your feet that offer the best zoom when looking to improve your angle or perspective. It’s easy to get lazy and rely on your camera, but a much better photo may be just 10 steps away. Also, the zoom feature (especially on phones) will often pixelate the photo and destroy the overall quality. So move around: up, back, left, right and snap that perfect shot!

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Tip 4. The Rule of Thirds: This tip pertains to all photos, but is especially relevant to shooting outdoors when dealing with larger landscapes. The basic idea is to divide your photo into nine equal parts (picture a tic, tac, toe board). The focal points of your photo should land on the intersections leaving you with four options. In short you should not be centering your photos. Studies have shown that when people are viewing images, their eyes naturally go to the intersecting points. Also, the rule of thirds will help you compose your photo more effectively and give you guidelines as you’re framing the shot.

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Tip 5. Always have your camera! Last but not least: try to keep your camera on you as much as possible. It could be on the walk to the supermarket that the light is just right on that mountain peak you’ve been trying to capture. After all, the worst pictures are the ones you never took.

We’d love to see some of your work – feel free to share some of your photos with us on our Facebook page.