OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHY RESOURCES
Welcome to the Outdoor Photography School Resources Section!
I highly recommend the resources below to help you grow your photography and outdoor skills, whether you are at the beginner, enthusiast, or advanced level. These are a carefully curated collection of gear, accessories, tools, podcasts, and books that I have found to be indispensable (or inspirational!) to my outdoor photography career. If you have questions about any of them, please reach out via the Contact page. I hope you find these resources as helpful as I have!
First, an important disclosure:
Some of the links below are for completely free resources and others are affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. This commission is at no addition cost to you, and it helps support this website so that I can continue to create great content for you. I have experience with all of these resources, and I only recommend them because they have helped me on my outdoor photography journey. I’m continually adding to and updating this page, so be sure to check back again soon.
Click the button to jump to that OPS Resource section.
ESSENTIAL PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR
All of the photography gear and accessories that I currently use in my landscape and nature photography are organized below on KIT.com. I have tested all of these products and stand by all of them. I continually try out new gear and as I find more tools that are useful, I will add them to the appropriate kits below. Click on any of the icons to see why I recommend these items or to purchase them from Amazon.
Photography Equipment I Currently Use
Photography Accessories I Can't Live Without
Stay Organized and Travel Well
Keep Your Gear Clean!
ESSENTIAL OUTDOOR GEAR FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS
Doing photography in the outdoors requires special equipment to work safely and comfortably, whether it is to protect you from the weather or keep you safe from harm. Regardless of whether you are in a remote location or in your local city park, some of these items might be worth having in your kit.
Working Safely and Comfortably
PLANNING APPS & TOOLS
Below are some of the apps, calculators, and other planning tools that I find super useful for planning photo shoots.
With Google Earth, you can search, plan, and view in 3-D any global location using Google’s extensive satellite imagery. Now available on the web (Chrome extension), mobile, and desktop, you can take a virtual field trip to your location of choice so that you can plan ahead for the images you want to capture. Combine the power of Google Earth with PhotoPills, and you can plan rare images years in advance!
Hands down, my #1 go to photography app is PhotoPills. Admittedly, it takes a while to get to know how to navigate around the app, but once you understand how it works, the possibilities for planning photos is endless. PhotoPills has been called the “Swiss Army knife” of photography apps, and with good reason. It is packed with tons of tools (called “pills”) and information needed for planning shoots. I’ve included some of their free calculators below, which are also included in the app.
I plan to create a series of instructional YouTube videos focused on how to use PhotoPills, so stay tuned.
PHOTOPILLS TIMELAPSE CALCULATOR
- Shooting interval: the length of time between each shot
- Clip length: the total desired time of the final compiled video
- Event duration: how long it will take your camera to shoot the timelapse
- Frames per second: the frame rate of your timelapse video
PHOTOPILLS HYPERFOCAL DISTANCE CALCULATOR
Hyperfocal distance is a useful method to figure out where to focus in landscape photography in order to get the depth of field you desire in your composition. It’s based on a somewhat complicated calculation, so using the table below to determine the hyperfocal distance is useful. It’s also helpful to just play around with the table to better understand how focal length and aperture affect the hyperfocal distance.
How to use the table:
- Select your camera body using the dropdown menu
- Select the units of measure you want to use
- Scroll through the table to find the focal length of your lens and the aperture you plan to use
- The number in the corresponding box on the table is the hyperfocal distance and that’s where you focus
CONFUSED BY HYPERFOCAL DISTANCE?
You’re not alone.
Grab the free OPS Hyperfocal Distance Made Easy ebook below and learn how to use it to get sharp images in your outdoor photography.
PODCAST EPISODES WORTH A LISTEN
I am a podcast junkie. I spend a lot of time doing outdoor projects around our property and taking care of our cows, and I listen to podcasts as a way to keep my mind occupied while I do these physical tasks. Below are a few episodes from some of my favorite podcasts that I think all outdoor photographers should listen to. Be sure to subscribe to the podcasts if you enjoy them! It’s a great way to support their good work.
F-STOP COLLABORATE AND LISTEN
In this episode, host Matt Payne and I have a great conversation about my journey into landscape photography, the importance of connecting with nature, how to get the younger generation involved with the protection of natural resources, and much more. I hope you enjoy checking it out!
Episode 100 - Round Table Discussion
In this episode, host Matt Payne leads a wide-ranging, round-table panel discussion with landscape photography leaders David Thompson, Alex Noriega, Eric Bennett, Sarah Marino, Colleen Miniuk-Sperry, Michael Shainblum and Joshua Cripps. Get insight into their creative processes and their opinions on the role of photographers in the preservation of wild lands.
THE LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY PODCAST
Episode 43 - Live From Out of Moab
This is a fun, live recorded episode featuring Nick Page, Erin Babnik, Ian Norman, and Joshua Cripps at the 2018 Out of Moab Conference. It includes a Q&A with the audience.
Episode 37 - Beyond the Iconic Shot With Thomas Heaton
In this episode, Nike Page interviews landscape photographer and YouTuber, Thomas Heaton, to discuss what it means to photograph more than the iconic or obvious landscape shot. Learn how to find new and original compositions from Thomas and Nick and why it is important to do this to better your photography and creativity.
NO NAME PHOTO SHOW
BOOKS WORTH READING
I’ve found the following books to be inspirational and/or instructional in my outdoor photography journey. Many of them focus on the importance of connecting with nature, which I think many of us understand intuitively, but few of us really take the time to do it. Other books are how-to references to help guide you in preparing for camping or hiking trips in terms of what to pack, wear, how to stay safe, etc. I hope you enjoy!
For the first time in human history, we spend the vast majority of our time indoors, so much so that we are becoming known as the “indoor generation”. What effect does that have on our mental, physical, and spiritual health?
The following two books dive into the science of the impacts of nature (or lack of nature) on our well-being and creativity. If you ever need a reason to prioritize spending more time in nature with your camera, you will find it in these inspirational books.
HIKING & BACKPACKING: A Complete Illustrated Guide
If you are just getting started in hiking and backpacking, then this terrific guide is for you. In twenty, photo-packed chapters, it covers everything from gear, clothing, food/water, navigation, hygiene, wildlife, weather, and having zero impact on the environment. I still refer to this guide from time to time as a refresher before trekking out.
THE WINTER CAMPING HANDBOOK
Interested in doing some winter photography? Take your camping skills to the next level with this Winter Camping Handbook. Camping in the cold months is no joke and it is even more important that you are prepared and know how to handle seasonal dangers, such as hyperthermia and avalanches. This handbook reviews what you need to know from planning to gear (including several checklists), sustenance, safety, and travel (skis, snowshoes, etc.).
CAR CAMPING FOR EVERYONE
If roughing it in the backcountry isn’t your thing, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy camping. Road trip, anyone? This photo-packed how-to guide covers everything from what to pack to menu planning, camp setup, campfires, safety and first aid, day hiking, and enjoying all of these activities with kids and pets. If you’ve never been camping before, this is a great place to start.
The articles below have been published elsewhere from professional landscape and nature photographers. They speak to the importance of respecting nature and wildlife and how to boost individual creativity in your work.
by Melissa Groo
I am a huge admirer of Melissa Groo‘s wildlife photography. If you have yet to discover her, I highly recommend you check out her website and follow her on Instagram. What I appreciate more than the stunning images she creates is how she weaves into her stories lessons on conservation and respecting nature.
In my opinion, this article by Melissa recently published in Outdoor Photographer is a must-read for wildlife and nature photographers.
by Erin Babnik
Another photographer whom I greatly admire is Erin Babnik, who was recently named one of the top 25 landscape photographers in the world. In this article published on the Photo Cascadia website, Erin describes how connecting with the land, opening your senses, and experiencing nature contribute to original and creative shots that tell a story beyond a given location. She also offers seven tips on how to find personal expression in your photography.
If you are looking to take your landscape photography to the next level, take to heart what Erin describes in her article.