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January 2016 Issue
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How to photograph people in the outdoors

Get among the action to photograph compelling portraits

Get in on the action

Any outdoor adventure is as much about the journey as the destination – try to capture this. You will often need to be close to the action in order to get a good shot of it and you don’t always have time to stop to take it. This means having your camera gear easily accessible.

Make sure their face is in focus

The face is the most important part of the photograph and needs to be in focus, especially the eyes. Backgrounds can be out of focus to help draw your attention to the person, or in focus to capture the landscape behind them in more detail.

Capture the gear and location

The small details, such as a piece of gear, are important in telling the story. The shot also needs to put the person in the location therefore, even if you are not wanting this to be the focus of your shot, you should try to include something to show where you are.

Play with the light

When photographing people, you normally want the light behind you so it is shining onto the subject’s face. Sometimes photographing into the light can create amazing shots with lens flair, making the image even more dramatic.

Location: Mt Sealy, Mt Cook National Park.

Settings: 18mm lens, ISO 100, f8, 1/125 second

– Richard Young is a Wellington-based photographer running photography workshops in Tongariro National Park