How to make the most of hiking photography

With photography comes great adventure, if you will. At the very least, photography gives you the perfect excuse to get out of the house and explore. For those interested in outdoor and hiking photography but not quite sure what to do, here’s a quick guide to get you started.

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I have always loved hiking. As a child growing up in the North of England, I was part of my school’s walking club. Despite all that is wrong with its climate, England has a beautiful landscape. The breathtaking views of the Lake District and the pleasant hills of the Yorkshire Dales are prime destinations for any outdoor photography and hiking trip. I digress; I’m not here to sell you a vacation package.

Oddly enough, life and circumstances took me down a different path when I first picked up a camera. Although I love hiking and photography, hiking photography never became my thing; street photography did. However, while the streets have been a different place over the past two years, I’ve found myself bringing together two of my passions. I had incredible experiences and nightmares too. Below are some tips and tools to make sure I get the most out of my hiking photography trip.

Pack multiple lenses for hiking photography

The hikes lead to breathtaking landscapes. Traditionally, photographers take landscape photos with a wide angle lens. However, this is not the only type of lens to use. I like to take a telephoto for tighter shots of mountains and a premium mid-range for more intimate landscape photography. You can still travel light if you use the right lenses and not have to worry about missing shots because you left them at home.

Going solo or in a group for hiking photography?

The Age-Old Question; is best to get lost in the wilderness alone or with a group of other photographers. Personally, I like to go alone because I appreciate the adventure more. However, if you’re unsure about going alone (and I understand why), go as a group to make sure everyone is safe and on the correct route.

I also like to go alone because it’s a form of meditation. Hike, walk and take photos without distraction. I’m not totally reckless, though. Before any hiking photography trip, I share my live location with a friend or family member, so they know exactly where I am. I also activated fall detection on my Apple WatchSE in the event of an accident. So while it’s fun to go it alone, it’s also wise to use today’s technology to your advantage, helping you stay as safe as possible.

Filming in sunny or cloudy weather?

The short answer is both. However, I bring this up because most photographers believe that hiking photography is only worthwhile on a clear, sunny day. It’s not. A cloudy day can provide nice balanced lighting conditions, while a bit of rain can add more character to your photos. Don’t forget to take the right lenses with you if you decide to shoot in the rain. You’ll need a weather-sealed body and lens, and aren’t likely to use anything else.


I use some apps to help me when I go hiking. The first is Unlike Google Maps and Apple Maps, has many “viewpoints” built into the app. I also find it much easier to use when I need to download maps for offline use, which I advise everyone to do if they’re out of cell coverage.

Another app I like is All Trails. It’s basically a huge directory of the best hiking trails around the world. Just enter the city or town you are in, and it will show you the best places to hike. There’s also a strong community vibe, with many people leaving reviews and safety tips on each of the trails.

The last app I use is My Altitude. It does exactly what it says on the tin; it tells you your current altitude. It’s a useful guide to help you keep your pace and be aware of your breathing. If you are in a high altitude city, I recommend waiting a few days to a week to acclimatize before going hiking photography.

final thought

Hiking and taking pictures is extremely rewarding. Above all else, safety should be your number one priority. After that, being able to enjoy the process of getting lost in nature and disconnecting will serve you well. Having the ability to document and create photographic memories that last forever is the icing on the cake.

Where do you like to take hiking photos? What safety tips can you share? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading.

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