Taking photos outdoors makes a photographer’s job a lot easier. Most of the time (unless it happens to be a bad weather day and you have to take the picture anyway) the nature lighting, the backgrounds and all that makes your job so much easier. Set Up Shots Ahead of Time Having a plan for the type of shots you want to take is important for outdoor photos. Test out on a different day the different settings for your camera, and check the weather so that you will know what type of settings you’ll need to use. Use Your Autofocus Using autofocus doesn’t mean you’re a bad photographer. Predictive autofocus works for birds or any animal moving. You can lock on the image before you take the picture so that you can track the movement before you take the shot. People Look Great Outdoors There is hardly any lighting that works better than the lighting nature provides - not to mention the bountiful backdrops available. If your subject is the landscape with a person in it, it will help the audience gain perspective. If your focus is the person, then the backdrop of nature can be blurred out so that the person shows up more. Right Place Right Time The best shots happen when you are in the right place at the right time. When you see some great scenes happening, don’t delay or worry about camera settings - just start taking pictures. Set it on autofocus and automatic and just start framing the images. The frame is more important than your worrying about camera settings. Adjust Your Exposure If you really want to capture the vivid colors better, then it’s all about exposure. Play with the exposure, starting with dialing it down by -.05. It’ll make the image sharper, and the blacks look blacker and the colors look more colorful. Look Down The ground offers a great choice of background for portraits. Have your subject lay down and arrange some leaves around them, or they can lie in a grass/flower field with their hair spread out. Nature provides such amazing beauty that while you’re looking up, remember to look down. Remember the Rule of Thirds When you are aligning your subject in the view finder, pretend there is a nine-square grid in which you can easily arrange the image. This means that there are four areas of interest in the photograph, which are the interceptions of the lines. This is why you don’t put a person in the center of a portrait most of the time but over to one side, with other things being in the shot too. Zoom In When you’re taking outdoor shots, remember to reduce the confusion in the shot by zooming in to make your main focus on what you want the people to see when they look at the image. A good way to do that is to get what you think is your shot in the viewfinder, then zoom in a bit to take out anything extra. Most of all you should experiment with different shots. Instead of thinking that you’re going to fix the problems in Photoshop, try using your camera’s settings and the lighting to make your photo perfect right from the start.