Events photography is not the easiest gig. Professionals turn up with entire camera kits ready for anything the day might throw at them.
Not everyone has all the gear, and sometimes, the gadgets and filters actually distract from what could become terrific art.
Whether you consider yourself as experienced behind the lens of a camera or you have an event coming up that will be outdoors and you want to be sure you can capture the best photos on the day, the few pointers below will help you shoot better photos.
3 Tips for Shooting Photos Outdoors (Without Much Gear)
Experiment with and without polarising filters
Professional photographers have a lot of tools at their disposal. Even amateur photographers have different filters, perhaps only for experimentation.
One of the all-time favourites for shooting outdoors is the polarising filters. You can buy clip-on filters to attach to smartphone cameras so these are not just for the pros.
The purpose is to reduce glare from the sunlight, and reflections. They do a stellar job at that; however, those reflections can make a photo artistic. Especially on any metallic objects like stainless steel garden structures, cycles, motorbikes, and tractors.
When the sun is high in the sky, look at the object being photographed to see if you can spot where the sunlight is reflecting off of it. You may just be able to find a dot of sunlight on the metal. Surrounding the glare will be a reflection of everything surrounding the object.
Including the photographer, so…
Wear dark clothes
This next tip is a continuation of the above about glare and reflection. Those can make or break artists photographs. When taking photographs outdoors naturally without using greenscreens or a photography umbrella, there will usually be some reflection. When shooting head-on, it is not unusual for the photographer to be captured in the photo. Especially when photographing anything shiny.
If you are wearing a bright orange t-shirt with neon shorts, it will be easily noticeable in the photo. Dark clothing is not the ideal clothes to wear on scorching hot days, but for the person behind the lens, it might be just what’s needed to keep yourself out of the photo and to keep the emphasis on the object you are photographing. At the very least, the reflection will look like a shadow creating more of a silhouette on an object adding to the uniqueness, rather than distracting.
Get so up close that only a partial snapshot makes the art
Look for the smaller details in larger objects. Photographic art can be a small part of a larger object that does not look much as a whole. Take car shows for example. You may like the look of an old Corvette, but feel it’s not all that artistic for a photo. Zoom in on certain aspects of any car and you can find very fine details that can make artistic photographs come to life, without revealing the whole picture.
As an example, at a car show, you could hone the camera in on the front grill, shoot the photo using a fisheye lens to widen the scope and use the grill details to make a framed art print in a panoramic picture frame.
Part of the fun in photography is capturing the small details that most people don’t pay attention to. A grill on a car, the alloy wheels (and the reflections mirrored on them), the treads of a cycle or tractor tyre, and the effect of light, glare, reflections, backgrounds, angles, depth of perception and so much more that a camera can capture.
From a distance, small details are not nearly as noticeable. Zoom in with a camera, capture it in high resolution and make it into art that can then be printed and framed.