Take only pictures, leave only footprints. Unlike your parents, who went camping and snapped maybe two dozenhalf-focused, poorly composed pictures, your phone is a camera and you’re going to come home with hundreds of photos. So make them good ones.

With a few simple tips and tricks, the photos you capture can be memorable, well shot and fun to look through.

  • Don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re not Ansel Adams. Leave the big, sweeping landscape portraits to the wannabe photographer in the neighboring campsite. Set your sights on your kids or your companion, on your immediate surroundings and activities, and on the sites you find interesting. Grab photos that show the unique experience that is camping.
  • Keep the kid in the picture. The waterfall you hike to is breathtakingly spectacular, but your phone isn’t going to capture its majesty like you see it in person. So put someone in the picture. Years down the road, a photo of your child or spouse or best friend near the waterfall is going to be a much better reminder of your trip than just a shot of a simple waterfall.
  • It’s all about composition. Composing a good shot means you’re paying attention to lines, lights and shadows, colors, form and, of course, your subject. Good composition makes a good photo memorable. To help, use the rule of thirds. Imagine your screen divided into three sections horizontally and vertically and use that to guide how you capture your shot. Generally, you don’t want things centered right in the middle of your photo.
  • Use your environment. Camping and spending hours outside will leave you with plenty of opportunities to play with the unique lighting and the leading lines you find outdoors. Use that to your advantage. Snap photos in the early daylight and fading twilight. Use the vertical lines of a tree stand or the horizontal lines of a road, trail or even your camper to frame your photos.
  • Finally, take lots of photos. Your phone gives you an option your parents never had. You can play around and experiment to get the best picture with the look and feel you want without wasting film. Shoot a ton and delete anything you don’t like or that doesn’t work.
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