5 Tips for Better Adventure Photos

5 Tips for Better Adventure Photos

Adam Nawrot is a filmmaker and photographer with a background in music and graphic design. His work has taken him around the globe and is driven by a lifelong passion for exploration and storytelling. An avid cyclist, paddler, climber and general jack-of-all-trades, his filmmaking and photography is never too far removed from the core of his adventurous spirit.

Here are some of Adam’s go-to tips and tricks for taking exciting and engaging adventure sport photos.

1. Foreground Elements

Foreground elements add depth to your frame and invite the viewer to inhabit the space of your photograph. Photos with defined fore, middle and background elements create immersive environments that make your images come alive.

Adding photographic depth with riverside vegetation at Raymondskill Falls in Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania. 

2. Particles

There are few things I love more than particles in my shots. Hit a little bit of dust, snow or spray with some back light and you've got a recipe for a dreamy shot. Because particles are always floating around in space, seeing them crystallized in a photograph helps give images a magical quality.

A beautifully dusty trail in Bend, Oregon. 

3. Subject background separation

Often times outdoor scenes can be very visually busy, so keeping your subject out of the mess is crucial. There are a few way to do this using color, light, composition and focus.

A shallow depth of field will separate a subject from the rest of the scene by smoothing out any potentially distracting visual information.

Taking the bike for a walk on the Doctor Park Trail near Crested Butte, Colorado.

Placing your subject on a solid background of a different brightness is a great way to create a defined silhouette and make your subject pop. Using the sky as a background is especially useful for images where your subject is in the air.

Exploring all angles of Pacific City, Oregon.

When dealing with generally monochromatic scenes, color can be used to separate your subject from the rest of the frame.

Complementary colors pop on a ride in Six Mile Run, New Jersey.

4. Compression

Ever come home to look at your GoPro footage at the end of the day just to be disappointed by how small everything looks on camera when it seemed so big in real life? The wide angle lens on the GoPro distorts proportion and makes things that are up close look huge and things that are far look really small. When trying to emphasize the scale of your subject, shoot from a distance with a long lens. This will compress the physical distance between your subject and the background and give the background more presence.

Going big in Mesa Falls, Idaho

5. Back Light

There are a few things to consider when working with light. Quality and color are important, but so is your position relative to light source. Shooting with the light at your back is a sure fire way to create a flat image devoid of shadow and contour because every surface you're seeing is being illuminated. To add dimension to the environment, shoot at an angle different from the direction of the light source. Back lighting is a technique I often use to create textural shadows and a bright outline on my subject to make them pop.

Exploring the depths of Norman Cave in West Virginia.

To see more great photography from Adam follow his adventures on Instagram

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