How to take photos while trekking? | Trekking Photography

Out in the wilderness, trekking becomes a canvas for your inner photographer. Trekking photography isn't just about taking pictures; it's about seizing those fleeting moments amidst nature's splendor.

In this guide, we'll navigate through gear selections, tricks to harness natural light, and the artistry of composing those breathtaking shots.

So, get ready to blend the thrill of trekking with the enchantment of photography as we embark on this visual adventure together!

Tip 1: Choose the right gear

Selecting the appropriate gear for trekking photography demands a delicate balance between functionality, durability, and portability.

Prioritize a camera that aligns with your skill level and the demands of rugged environments. Opt for a weather-sealed body to shield against the outdoor elements, ensuring resilience during unpredictable weather conditions.

When considering camera types, lightweight mirrorless cameras offer an excellent blend of performance and portability, while robust DSLRs provide sturdiness and exceptional image quality. Assess your preferences and requirements to make an informed choice.

Equally pivotal is the lens selection. For expansive landscape shots, a wide-angle lens is indispensable, capturing the vastness and grandeur of the surroundings. A versatile mid-range zoom lens adds flexibility, allowing for varied compositions without compromising image quality.

Supplement your gear with spare batteries and ample memory cards to avoid missing out on pivotal moments due to depleted power or limited storage. Investing in a reliable, comfortable camera backpack equipped with compartments for organized storage ensures safe transportation of your gear during arduous treks.


Tip 2: Carry the gear right

It is not a good idea to stop and take your camera out of your backpack each time you arrive at a photogenic location. You can use the camera strap, but as you trek for hours, the camera strap can cause you pain in your shoulders. We recommend camera clips that fit with your backpack or your belt.

You should prioritize comfort by selecting a backpack with padded straps and a breathable back panel. Additionally, adjustable chest and waist straps help in distributing weight and enhancing stability, especially on uneven terrains.

You must strategically position heavier items closer to your back to maintain balance and stability while walking. Secure delicate gear like cameras and lenses in padded compartments to shield them from impact or harsh weather conditions.

Consider using quick-access pockets or side pouches for frequently needed items like extra batteries, memory cards, or a lens cloth. This ensures easy reach without disrupting the flow of your trek. Don't forget to regularly reassess and adjust the backpack to maintain comfort and balance throughout the trek. 


Tip 3: Learn the basics

Try your camera before taking it to the trek trails. Learn about the features, paying attention to composition, lighting, and focus. 

One of the best ways to capture better photos is to use natural light properly in your photographs. Learn to leverage different times of the day, such as the golden hours around sunrise and sunset, when the light is softer and more flattering.

Additionally, you need to grasp the significance of framing and perspective. Utilize foreground elements to create depth and lead the viewer's eye into the scene. Experiment with different angles and heights to capture unique perspectives that convey the scale and magnificence of the surroundings.

Lastly, practice the art of patience and observation. Take the time to study the landscape, anticipate moments, and wait for the opportune instance to capture a scene that tells a story or evokes emotions.


Tip 4: Add life to your image

The landscapes that you capture remain cold and rather inanimate without a person in them. So, include a person in your photo, as it also provides a sense of the scale of the landscapes you are capturing.

Try to take candid shots of people interacting with the surroundings or capturing their reactions to stunning vistas can evoke strong emotions and create compelling storytelling.

Wildlife encounters, if safe and respectful, offer incredible opportunities for captivating imagery. Patience and observation are key here. Be mindful of wildlife behaviors, allowing them their space, and use longer focal lengths to capture intimate yet non-intrusive shots.

Another way to breathe life into your images is by incorporating movement. Experiment with long-exposure photography to capture the flow of a river, the movement of clouds, or the trails left behind by trekkers, adding dynamism and energy to your compositions.

Remember, adding life to your images isn't solely about including human or animal subjects—it's about capturing moments that resonate and stir emotions, transforming your photographs into compelling stories of your trekking escapades.


Tip 5: Choose your clothes wisely

When selecting attire for trekking photography to look great in your shots, opt for clothing that strikes a balance between style and practicality. Choose garments that complement the natural surroundings while accentuating your personal style.

Consider earthy or neutral tones that blend harmoniously with the landscapes. Avoid busy patterns or overly bright colors that might distract from the focal point of your images.

Layering can add depth and visual interest to your outfit while serving practical purposes. Mix and match different textures and materials to create a stylish yet functional look. A well-fitted jacket or vest can add a touch of sophistication while keeping you warm.

Accessorize thoughtfully with items like a stylish hat, scarf, or statement jewelry that complements your overall look without overpowering the scene. Sunglasses can also add a touch of flair while protecting your eyes from harsh sunlight.

Choose clothing that fits comfortably and allows ease of movement. Opt for well-fitted yet flexible pieces that enhance your silhouette without compromising your comfort during the trek.

Remember, feeling confident and comfortable in your chosen attire will naturally reflect in your photos. Balancing practicality with your personal style ensures you look your best while capturing those unforgettable moments during your trekking adventures.


Tip 6: Learn to use manual mode

For outstanding pictures, you must learn to use the manual mode of your camera. The three most important controls are.

  1. ISO: ISO darkens or brightens your photo. If you use a high ISO number, your photo will be brighter but come with some noise. So, avoid high ISO as much as possible. Lower ISO retains the details.
  2. Aperture: The aperture controls the amount of light hitting the image sensors and the depth of the photo - meaning the area of the photo that appears sharp. A higher aperture value means the focus will be on a greater zone of the picture. If you seek artistic pictures, you may use lower aperture values.
  3. Shutter speed: The faster the shutter speed, the less blurry the picture. Use a faster shutter speed while moving and a lower shutter speed for low-light conditions or to capture blurry images. The waterfalls look brilliant at lower shutter speeds. If you plan to take long-exposure pictures, you must pack a tripod with you.


Tip 7: The rule of thirds

If you want a good photo then understand the photographic rule of thirds. Divide your frame into thirds both horizontally and vertically, placing key elements along these lines or at their intersections for visually engaging shots.

The rule of thirds says you must place the object you are capturing in the left or right third of the screen. The other two-thirds should be open. Remember this rule.


Tip 8: Consider shooting in RAW

The RAW setting captures all the image data received by the sensor. The range of colors captured, the hues, and the tones will be more vivid, and you will have flexibility in editing these photos. You need to use the RAW setting for professional photos. If you are going to print the photos, use the RAW setting.

The RAW format retains more information, including details in shadows and highlights, allowing for greater latitude in post-processing. This flexibility proves invaluable when adjusting exposure, white balance, and recovering details in underexposed or overexposed areas of your images.

While RAW files are larger and require more storage space compared to JPEGs, the benefits in terms of image quality and editing capabilities are substantial, especially when shooting in diverse lighting conditions encountered during treks.

However, shooting in RAW necessitates post-processing to optimize and convert the files into more common formats like JPEG or TIFF for sharing or printing. This extra step in the workflow might require additional time and software expertise.


Tip 9: Avoid common pictures

To create compelling trekking photographs, challenge yourself to steer clear of common or clichéd shots. Instead, focus on capturing unique perspectives and lesser-known angles of the landscapes and subjects you encounter.

Rather than settling for straightforward landscape shots, explore different vantage points. Get low to the ground for an unconventional angle or find elevated positions for a bird's-eye view. Experiment with framing through natural elements like trees, rocks, or foliage to add depth and intrigue to your compositions.

Look for details and textures in the environment that tell a story. It could be the weathered bark of a tree, the patterns in a rock formation, or the intricate design of a leaf. These elements often make for captivating and unexpected focal points.

Seek out moments of interaction between people, wildlife, or even contrasting elements within the landscape. Capturing these unique connections can add depth and narrative to your images, making them stand out from typical trekking photographs.

Embrace spontaneity and creativity. Don't be afraid to experiment with unconventional compositions, abstracts, or minimalist shots that challenge traditional norms. By avoiding the common and striving for the unexpected, your trekking photos will possess a distinctiveness that sets them apart.


Tip 10: Capture the journey

Trekking is not just about the destination but also the journey. Capture the moments that tell a story – fellow trekkers, local flora and fauna, and the changing landscapes. These shots will add depth and meaning to your trekking album.

Don't limit yourself to only photographing the picturesque landscapes. Focus on the human element: the determination etched on faces during a steep ascent, the joy of reaching a summit, or the shared experiences of fellow trekkers. These moments encapsulate the spirit of the journey.

Detail the narrative by photographing the small, often overlooked aspects—a worn-out pair of hiking boots, a map crumpled from use, or a well-deserved break with snacks shared among friends. These elements tell a rich story of the trekking experience.

Capture the ever-changing mood and dynamics of the trek. Document the transitions between landscapes, the changing weather, the play of light and shadow. These elements contribute significantly to the storytelling aspect of your photographs.


Tip 11: Practice at home

As they say, practice makes a man perfect. If you want to take excellent pictures while trekking, you need to practice beforehand. Experiment with your gear before heading for the trek.

Experiment with the rule of thirds, leading lines, and framing techniques to enhance your compositions.

Practice shooting handheld, as trekking conditions might not always allow for tripods. Experiment with different shutter speeds to capture motion while maintaining sharpness.

Challenge yourself by carrying your gear in a backpack and practicing taking photos while walking or in slightly challenging terrains to simulate trekking conditions.


Tip 12: Let your trek friends take photos

You cannot capture yourself in the photos. So, you have to rely on your friends to be in the photos. Follow these steps.

  1. Adjust your camera and take the pictures of your friends first. 
  2. Show your friends the picture you just clicked and let them know in which grid, in the camera display, you want to position yourself.
  3. Then, hand over the camera to your friend for the shot. 



So, these are the top twelve tips for you on how to capture perfect clicks while trekking. We hope you enjoy taking trek photos. If you love it, consider taking photography classes. 

Nepal, with eight of the ten highest mountains in the world and amazing treks in the Himalayas, provides endless opportunities for photography. For a trek to Nepal, you can phone/WhatsApp/Viber at +977-9840055491 or email [email protected]

Paul Gurung

Paul has an extensive experience in the tourism industry. Through his blogs, he shares his deep knowledge about the stunning trek regions in Nepal, inspiring trekkers worldwide to explore these regions and enrich their lives. In addition to geography, his writings delve into the human side of the trek regions, including culture, traditions, religions, and etiquette, offering a comprehensive and enriching perspective on the Himalayan trekking and expedition experience.