Take better hiking pictures with these five easy-to-follow photography tips

Here's how to take hiking photos other people will actually want to see

Male photographer in hooded jacket using camera below mountain, Glen Etive, Scottish Highlands, Scotland
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Do you take photos when you're out on a hike? Of course, you do – we all do. Why wouldn't you want to capture the amazing scenery atop a hill or that pretty bird you spotted in the forest? Everyone needs to see them. Sadly, not everyone will enjoy the blurry, underexposed, badly-framed pictures you took on your smartphone; however, with these five tips, you can ensure that people will not only endure but actually enjoy your hiking photos.

One thing that can certainly ruin your photography is wearing inappropriate gear, which will make you less focused on capturing the beauty of nature. As the adage goes, "there's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing," so make sure you dress appropriately for the weather, time of the day and area you're about to traverse. Check out T3's best waterproof jacket, best hiking boots, and best hiking backpack guides for more info.

The best thing about these hiking photography tips is that they don't start with 'buy the Canon EOS R6 Mark II' (full disclosure: we love that bad boy). In fact, you can upgrade your outdoor photos at no extra cost using these suggestions. Using the proper gear helps, but not necessary. The five hiking photography rules are as follows:

  • Have your camera at hand at all times: Time is of the essence when you spot an animal or a cloud formation, so having your camera or smartphone at hand is essential. If you're using the former, something like the Peak Design Capture (retailer link) can be helpful.
  • Start early/finish late: The best lighting conditions are when the sun rises or sets, so time your hikes accordingly.
  • Follow the basic rules of photography: Rule of thirds, framing, vantage point – you can only break the rules if you understand them, and you need to follow them to understand them. Pay attention to the scene in front of you and how you want to capture it.
  • Tell the whole story: Don't just take seven million photos of the same mushroom on the forest floor; take the viewers on a journey by showing them the best pictures from beginning to end.
  • Edit the photos: You can use any editing software but tweak the images before they are shown to others. Many photo apps are free to use and can do automatic editing (e.g. Snapseed). Alternatively, you can use paid software such as Adobe Photoshop or Affinity Photo to edit your pictures more professionally.

Need new camera gear? T3 can help you choose the best beginner camera, the best mirrorless camera, the best DSLR camera or the best compact camera for you. For the most adventurous of you, we recommend the best action cameras or the best drones (maybe both).

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for T3.com and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.