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7 Best Hiking Photography Tips


Hiking and picture taking go hand in hand. But hikers knowing how to take good pictures?…that’s a whole other story. We’ve consulted local Phoenix photographers and compiled this list of the 7 Best Hiking Photography Tips

7 Best Hiking Photography Tips

Golden Hour

Have Camera Handy!

Scene Option in Settings

Rule of Thirds

Steady Yourself

Get on the Ground!

Add a Pet (or a Person)

Golden Hour

Photo by Tim Eiden on

Golden hour occurs two times a day; at sunrise and sunset. The sunlight becomes a soft gold color. This creates side angle lighting effect…which is the best lighting for taking hiking pictures.

In Phoenix, golden hour is a great time to take pictures while hiking near the chollas cactuses. Especially the teddy bear cholla. The way the soft golden sunlight shines through them, make their needles look so soft. You know, like a Teddy Bear.

Although, all hikers have been there.

The early morning alarm goes off and for one reason or another…we end up on the trail later then we anticipated. In other words, golden hour is no longer a hiking photography tip that really…does you any good, right?

Missed Golden Hour?

Not a problem. We still have more hiking photo tips below.

Have Camera Handy!

Have your camera on you and within your reaching distance. Most hiking day packs will have a pocket on the side, for camera sized objects. If using an actual camera then a strap is good to keep it around your neck or wrist.

Another option is a hiking fanny pack or a vest. Both of these options allow you to be hands free but also still have your camera on you.

Scene Option in Settings

For #3 of our hiking photography tips, go into your camera settings and see if your device offers you an outdoor or mountain scene. If so, try using that setting. If not, perhaps experiement with other settings and see how they look in the viewfinder.

Bonus Hiking Photo Tip: Use portrait mode for flower taking

The worst part about this tip, is that it can be hard to remember to change the setting before stepping onto the trailhead. If forgotten, most photo editors will have an option to change the picture into the best settings.

Rule of Thirds

There’s a lot more to the Rule of Thirds but this is the main takeaway.

Never center your subject. Instead place it on either the right or the left. It is also helpful to add vertical elements into the picture.

For more information and examples about the Rule of Thirds, check out Photography Mad explanation.

The reason for all of this particular hiking photography tip, is that  this makes the photo feel better to the human eye. We don’t look at things dead on in the center. Therefore we don’t want to take our outdoor pictures like that.

The best way to accomplish this, is to turn on the grid option. Place your subject where a vertical line intersects with a horizontal line.

Grid Option

By having a grid on the viewfinder, a photographer can line up the subject of your photo. This option will usually be found on your device’s setting.

Steady Yourself

The slightest movement made by the photographer can create a blurry and unfocused picture.

For this reason, try to steady yourself.

Whether it is found by leaning against the side of a boulder, a tree, or whatever else you can find. Some hikers prefer to use a tripod. They make lightweight one’s that are specifically made for the outdoor hiking photographer!

Get on the Ground!

Get a better prescriptive by trying different angles. Now, don’t get all crazy and accidentally get poked by a cactus! But, look around and find some safe options where you may be able to get a better shot.

In this hiking photography tip, you really get to try different ways to let your creativity shine through. Just don’t push it to far end up in a dangerous situation. No need to put yourself in harm for a picture!

Add a Pet (or a Person)

By adding a pet, person or any other object into the scene it adds depth. In landscape photos, It’s hard to comprehend the size of something, until you see it in perspective.

In other words, seeing a huge cactus next to a person allows the viewer to comprehend the dimension and scale.

Plus, we like looking at pictures of faces and objects. It more fun for the eye to view.

Hiking with a dog? Check out our Pet Safety Tips

Since you made it down this far…..shhh….

Here’s a little BONUS hiking photography tip for you…

Bonus Hiking Photography Tip!

Wear Bright Colors

Wearing bright colors makes a hiker “pop” in any landscape photo. Bright colors reflect better outside and show up better in a picture.

Try to think of contrasting colors. If you are in the Grand Canyon where the landscape is red and orange, then wear something green or blue.

The Worst Color to Wear for Hiking Photo’s?

              Black and White


Photographers take hundreds of pictures before they are able to take the perfect one. It takes a lot of patience and practice to get better at camera skills. With these best hiking photography tips you should be snapping good pictures in no time!

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Phoenix Hiking Essentials

Over 200 hikers a year have accidents along the Phoenix hiking trails. The desert is a beautiful wide open space but with that also comes a bit of danger that all hikers need to be aware of and be prepared for.

To give you the best hiking experience be sure to bring these following essentials with you on your Phoenix hike

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