Wherever you live in the world, you are sure to have a local park near you. Parks are fantastic places to photograph and importantly practice parts of your photography that you may be weak in. Besides the array of fauna and flowers, there are also people to photograph, wildlife and even sculptures and art. The great thing about parks is that you will often find people interacting with each other and nature. There might even be some people playing sport. All of this can lead to some great photos. To help you on your way here 6 tips for photographing local parks.
Use the right light
Light is vital in any sort of outdoor photography. Parks are no different. To capture great photos of parks aim to take your photos early in the morning or late in the afternoon. The soft golden light will enhance shadows and give the scene a warm glow. If you really want to improve your park photos, learn how to utilise this light creatively by for example backlighting your subject or creating sunbursts. The other advantage of photographing early morning is that you may also get some mist which will enhance the scene further.
Know what the rules are
Some local parks will be clear about what is and isn’t allowed when it comes to photography. For example, in some parks, tripods or drones might not be allowed. Or some may only allow photos for non-commercial use. For example, some of the Royal parks in London allow photography for editorial use but not commercial. The majority of the time if you are not intending to use the photos for commercial purposes (i.e. they are just for yourself) you will be fine and should have no problem. But it’s worth checking the rules and also using common sense. For example, taking pictures of kids or people sunbathing might get you being asked some questions. Also, pay attention to things like opening and closing times. You don’t want to end up being locked a park.
Look for stories
Parks are a wonderful place to practice your storytelling photography. There are so many different situations happening that the possibilities are endless. It could be someone walking their dog or people enjoying ice cream. Including people in your photos is a great way to tell these stories. These photos can often give you the unique shots that will make your portfolio stand out from the crowd. They are everywhere to be seen, you just need to keep your eyes open to capture them.
Shoot a few great photos
One of the great things about photographing in parks is the sheer volume of subjects that you can capture. From flowers, trees, lakes and animals to statues, wildlife, bugs and even people, they all offer great opportunities for photos. Instead of trying to photograph everything do some research to try and find what that park is famous for. Then just focus on capturing that part of the park. You may not end up with as many photos, but the ones that you have will stand out much more. Remember it’s far better to have a selection of fantastic photos than a whole load of mediocre ones.
Don’t forget the details
Photography allows us to photograph and see the little things. Often these small details Are missed by the naked eye. So instead of always trying to capture the wide-angle views, step in closer and capture those small details that you notice from time to time. It could just be the beautiful bark of a tree or the leaves of a plant. Not only will these types of photos give you a variety for your portfolio, but they will also provide you with wonderful abstract images. So don’t be afraid to experiment by getting in closer. You never know, you might be surprised by the result.
Take your time
As with any form of travel photography, often you have to be willing to be patient and wait for the right moment to capture your shot. So if you spot a scene where you think it could be improved or the light isn’t right either sit and wait. Or come back later in the day. The key is not to cram too much into your shot list for each day so that you enough sufficient “waiting” time.
Parks are a great place to practice any form of photography you are interested in. Most often they are easily accessible and with the plethora of subjects on offer to photograph, it means it is easy to hone your skills. Just do your research beforehand and if time permits even scout the park out. Just make sure you pay attention to the rules.
Photo credits: Kav Dadfar – All rights reserved. No usage without permission. Dreamstime.