Hiking Photos

How To Take Great Photos Of Yourself Hiking

With every trail you hike or mountain you climb there are so many beautiful sights to capture. We all want that in our hiking photos.

Being in nature and exploring outdoors teaches us to be in the moment, but sometimes you just want to take a piece of this memory back home. The scenery and landscape are the perfect backdrop for this.

The secret sauce to great hiking photos is all about composition, and getting creative with your camera angles and poses.

Whether you are hiking alone or are simply not used to taking photos of yourself hiking, here are some tips to help you fill up that camera roll with great hiking photos.

What Camera Gear To Bring For Hiking Photos?

Smartphone

Your smartphone is probably your best friend when you go hiking. They are lightweight, fit in your pocket, and allow you to share photos on social media easily.

In fact, the latest version of smartphones also allow you to take photos in RAW format, such as Apple’s ProRAW capture mode. This is good for editing photos if the lighting conditions were not the best.

With the wide angle feature and auto-enhancing features of smartphone cameras, you already have one of the best tools for taking photos.

Camera for hiking photos

GoPro or drone camera

GoPro cameras are small and easy to bring along for a hike. You can easily find waterproof GoPro cameras that are suitable for any weather condition. They have built-in wide angle lens, and some of them can even up to 360 degrees, like the GoPro Max.

If you have a drone camera, you can easily take photos or videos of yourself in the environment. This is especially useful places like the desert or at a waterfall. You can even see how small you look compared to your surroundings. DJI drones are very beginner friendly, with the downside being its limited battery life.

Mirrorless or compact camera

However, you will be limited in both the zoom range and field of view. Saving RAW photos in your phone is also going to cause you to lose memory space quickly.

In order to have greater versatility in photo styles and the freedom to snap away, I recommend getting a mirrorless camera or a compact point-and-shoot camera.

For example, you can consider these lightweight cameras – Sony ZV-1F or the FujiFilm X100V. Some cameras come with weather sealing, which increases their durability even in wet weather.

Camera lens for hiking photos

For the purpose of taking great hiking photos of yourself, you will want to use a wide-angle lens. This is useful when you are in a narrow path, and also when you want to capture as much of the surrounding as possible.

Most cameras come with the kit lens, which is usually an affordable zoom lens that you can use for most daytime situations. If you are looking for a lens upgrade, you can choose either prime lens (fixed focal length) or zoom lens.

Although prime lens tend to be more compact, zoom lens offer more flexibility in focal range. For example, instead of a 12mm wide angle prime lens, you might want a 16-55mm zoom lens instead.

Accessories for your camera

Don’t forget to bring a neck strap or wrist strap for your camera to make it easy to carry your camera around while hiking. When you are ready to take a photo, a small tripod like a gorilla pod will be useful to help you frame your shot – instead of putting your camera on some rock. If you plan on taking vertical photos for Instagram, remember to check if the tripod is able to rotate vertically.

Your camera probably has a bluetooth control function, which you can link to your phone to help you figure out where to position yourself.

Hiking photos inspiration

Make It Easy To Access Your Camera

The best equipment is the one that is in your hands. If you think that you might get lazy or tired during a hike, you need to make your camera easy to access.

This is also the reason why smartphones or GoPros are easy choices for many hikers. You can keep them in the pocket of your jacket or pants – just remember to zip them up.

If you are not planning to carry your camera with a strap, you can consider the PeakDesign clip that allows you to hook your camera to your belt or bag strap. Alternatively, just pack the camera close to the top of your backpack and cushion it.

Look For Hiking Photo Inspiration Before Your Trip

When you are planning your trip, look out for nice photos of other people on their hikes. You can save them to a Pinterest board, making a note of any must-see viewpoints. Try learning some natural poses so that it feels less awkward when the time comes for you to take your own hiking photos.

You can also check out some beginner hut-to-hut hiking ideas, as they offer stunning views without being too challenging.

Try Looking Away From The Camera

In terms of poses, our default is probably to smile straight at the camera. Let’s change things up a bit and try turning to the side or away from the camera. Looking into the distance is an easy way to pose, and perhaps it might feel less awkward. These type of photos also make people feel like they are in the scene. If you look back at these photos, you might feel the same and be brought back to that moment.

This is a situation where having a tripod with bluetooth control on your phone helps a lot. You can first frame the shot, then capture the photo with a self timer. This gives you time to put your phone away which looks more natural.

Use Different Camera Angles And Distances

Besides a selfie shot, you can use your tripod to experiment with different point of views. For example, if you see a pool of water you can place your camera near the ground to capture its reflection. You can also try walking to or away from the camera and take a series of shots. This is also achievable by the Burst mode on the iPhone.

Putting your camera further away also helps to capture a wider view of the scenery. With a gorilla pod, you can also attach the tripod to a tree branch or railing. You can take your time to adjust until you find the right angle that is flattering.

How To Take Hiking Photos When It Gets Crowded?

If you are hiking alone, you can always ask for help and then return the favour later. You can take a few test shots so that they know how you want the photos to be taken.

There’s no need to feel shy about it because you might not see these people again. Everyone is there to enjoy the outdoors, and they would wish it for you too. They might even give you a few posing tips and help to get a better angle.

We just need to be careful that we are not obstructing or putting anyone in danger just so that we can get a good photo.

Take A Video Instead

We’ve said so much about taking good hiking photos and posing for them, but sometimes videos of candid moments are more precious. With videos you can hear the sounds and see the movement of things around you. Unexpected things also happen sometimes, and its awesome when it gets captured.

These videos can be stitched together to form a video diary, and you can even post them as Instagram stories or reels. Try taking some vertical videos of yourself walking, or just sitting down as you enjoy the view.

There are also some computer software that lets you save photos from videos. Alternatively, if you don’t mind the lower photo quality you can take a screenshot from the video.

Janice, a California-based travel writer from Singapore, discovered her love for hiking and camping during her studies in Los Angeles. Through her blog, she now shares detailed itineraries for adventures in California, Asia, and beyond. She also talks about gear recommendations and tips for beginners, hoping to inspire them to explore the great outdoors with confidence.

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