Landscapes, animals, hikers in action… there is no shortage of photo opportunities when hiking. To ensure your snaps are as beautiful as possible, François - in charge of images at Quechua - will teach us the basics of photography in the wilderness.

How to take beautiful photos in the mountains - title

"François, what are the basics you need to know to take a great photo when hiking?"

"You can take some very beautiful hiking photos using a simple compact camera. The camera settings are quite basic so you need to follow certain guidelines on how to frame the scene. First of all, the most important thing is to keep your camera close by so you're ready to react when the landscape is at its most beautiful. A case, attached to the shoulder strap of your backpack, can be very useful for this."


"Then, when framing a scene, it's important to respect the so-called 'rule of thirds'.For example, 2 thirds sky, 1 third mountains or vice versa. To do this, just imagine that the photo is divided up into 3 parts horizontally and vertically forming 9 identical sections. The focal points of the photo should fall where these vertical and horizontal grid lines meet.So, if you're thinking of photographing someone, position him or her to the right or left of the frame in such a way that he or she is facing inwards."

How to take beautiful photos in the mountains - rule of thirds framing


Animals can often be spotted in the wild but how do you photograph them properly?

"Undoubtedly, the easiest animal to photograph in the mountains is the ibex. You could even say that it's the photographer's friend! They can be spotted almost everywhere and you sometimes have the feeling that they are deliberately posing for a photo.

The chamois is more difficult to photograph. It is a much more private animal. Encountering a chamois is a particularly special, albeit brief, encounter because it is such a shy animal. If you want to take a photo of a similarly wild animal, you can try a blind, like the ones used by hunters. But hiding, setting up one's equipment and waiting takes a lot of time and commitment.

A marmot leaving its burrow in the morning can produce an interesting shot. To capture this, you can set up your equipment early in the morning, close to a hole that you've previously identified, and then wait for the animal to wake up.It's worth noting that it is easier to photograph animals in national parks and nature reserves. They are protected in these areas which means they are less afraid of human beings.

In the forest, depending on the time of day, you'll encounter squirrels, deer, stags, wild boar, badgers and foxes etc. On the coast, you'll find no shortage of birds, depending on the season and migration patterns."

How to take beautiful photos in the mountain - animals


What do I need to do to take a photo of hikers in action?

To take a photo of a hiker or group of people you can use the hiking path and the direction of the path as a focal point. This will allow you to experiment with the landscape and the light.~A quick tip: if a hiker is walking across a firn, then the firn can be used as a natural reflector. It will illuminate the people walking on the snow; and produce beautiful backlit photos. Light-coloured rocks will produce the same reflective effect.

Finally, a hiker in the foreground of a photo lends a sense of scale to the mountain scenery in the background."

How to take beautiful photos in the mountains - person


What about individuals interested in getting into mountain photography?

"First of all, mountain photography requires certain logistical tools.

A good shot begins with the rule of "getting up early and going to bed late". The morning and evening light are more conducive for taking beautiful photos. Sunlight between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, particularly in the summer, is too strong for taking photos, and tends to flatten any geographical features. Autumn and spring are the best seasons for mountain photography because the light is always softer at this time of year.

It's also worth noting that a clear blue sky is not always a photographer's best friend. An turbulent sky with clouds, whether before or after a storm, creates a much more interesting atmosphere. However, in order to capture such an image, you must be confident about your hiking ability, stay well informed about the weather and have an escape plan.

Finally, when choosing your location and hiking destination, you need to consider the site's orientation. It would be a shame to find yourself in a beautiful valley when it is in the shade. It's much better to decide on which side of the mountain based on the time you're going to set off.

Tip: a hike along a ridge is simpler from this point of view as well as providing a multitude of different viewpoints."

How to take beautiful photos in the mountains - landscape
hiking banner - backpack

"In terms of equipment, I personally prefer keeping the camera and lenses in a good hiking backpack that provides suitable protection rather than a camera bag that is not always suited to walking in the mountains.

Naturally, you should always take warm and waterproof clothing with you, as well as a headlamp with batteries.


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