How To Take Better Hiking Photos

written by Johnie Gall, of Dirtbag Darling

Ever see a National Geographic photographer lugging two tripods and a case of lenses into the forest? Yeah, we’re not feeling that, especially when we’re trying to keep our day hiking packs light.

Not of all us have expensive photography equipment or the camera know-how to take stunning, magazine-worthy photographs. Still we all want memorable snaps of our favorite hikes. Here are four easy tips for taking more interesting photographs when you’re in the great outdoors.

1) Use your surroundings.

It’s easy to pose next to a huge boulder—but why not climb on top of it? Or pretend you’re stuck under it? Add some levity and depth to your photographs by using your surroundings creatively. Rocks, reflective puddles, tree branches and sheet of ice all lend themselves to endless setups. Sounds simple, but people too often forget to have fun with all of the unique features of nature.

2) Move away from your subject.

You’ll never get an epic landscape shot with your friend in it if they don’t back up. Try jogging a few behind them at the beach and capture their fading footsteps, or climb higher than them so you can capture the steepness of a hike. This helps provide some scale in your photos and will help you create unique perspectives.

3) Try a new focal point.

A popular pose among seasoned hikers? A point of view shot of their hiking boots. Perhaps it stemmed from being alone on the trail and wanting to add a human element to their photos, but these hikers are on to something. Take a shot of your boots in different settings throughout your hike and piece them together five frames at a time for a unique photo strip feel.

4) Take a jump shot!

You’ve been moving all day, so why stop for a photo? The jump shot, whether you time it from a standstill or take a running leap into a swimming hole, adds movement and excitement to the photo, and shows your appreciation for the great outdoors and that feeling of being alive. So jump for it…and don’t be surprised if your friends start posting their own jump shots online soon after.

What are you favorite ways to spice up hiking photos? Tell us below!



  1. I love the posts by Johnie Gall! It’s great to see Free People really embracing their love of adventure by having an outdoorsy, awesome blogger contribute — emphasizes the spirit of the company! Thanks :)

  2. Brace yourself when taking a photo. Brace yourself against a tree, a rock wall, anything that will provide support. If possible, use the camera viewfinder instead of the LCD, and take a few seconds to control your breathing before taking a shot.

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