Whether you’re planning a vacation to Montana or you're a local looking for an exciting family photo session, adventure photography is a fun new trend sweeping the world of portrait photography. Instead of the stiff, boring old poses that have decorated mantels for decades, the photos from adventure sessions truly capture emotions and come with unforgettable experiences, too! 

But there are a few things this Glacier National Park Photographer thinks you should know before booking your next adventure photography session. So, take a look through some of my top tips, and let me know if you have any more you think I should add to the list!

#1 Wild weather is your friend

So, you might be tempted to sigh in frustration if you wake up on the morning of your photo session and see clouds. But let me turn that frown upside down! 

Firstly, cloudy skies actually make for some of the most flattering photos. The way a blanket of clouds diffuses light reduces pesky shadows and evens out contrast. And as for windy days or stormy skies, just imagine a photo session packed with wild waves, colorful sunsets, and windswept hair! As long as you’re working with a photographer who knows their stuff (cough like me cough), wild weather can add an additional layer of magic to your adventure photography session. 

#2 Embrace the power of a good zoom lens

Zoom lenses aren’t just for snapping far-away photos. They are game-changers during outdoor portrait sessions, too! 

If you’ve ever tried to take photos with mountains in the background, you know firsthand what a struggle it can be to document the sheer enormity of breathtaking mountain ranges. In person, they are showstoppers. But in photos, they can look kinda...wah wah. This is where the zoom lenses come in! If I zoom in on my subject (a.k.a you!) using the correct lens, the background (a.k.a those jaw-dropping mountains) compresses, giving it a magnified appearance in your photos! 

Glacier National Park Photographer

woman in red puffer jacket standing on frozen lake McDonald in glacier national park during the winter at alpenglow

#3 It’s OK to run out of daylight

For photos that will blow your mind, plan to drive home from your session in the dark. Why? Well, you’ve probably heard about golden hour, but when’s the last time you heard someone mention “blue hour?” Blue hour, or those first 30 minutes post-sunset, is probably my favorite time to take photos! As the light slowly fades from the sky -- and if the weather decides to cooperate, of course -- we can capture colors unlike anything you’ve ever seen before in portrait photography! 

I very carefully schedule my sessions around the sun, stretching photography from the final 30-minutes before the sun goes down, through sunset, and into blue hour. This makes for a gallery with a variety of looks, tones, and emotions!

#4 Sunsets and sunrises are entirely different

You might be tempted to believe that whether the sun is on its way up or on its way down, the look in your images will be pretty much the same. And this could not be further from the truth! 

If you’re a fan of diffused, soft lighting (and you don’t mind an early wake-up call), book a sunrise session. However, if you enjoy moody, rich colors and deeper shadows, aim for a sunset session. The mountains also respond differently to the morning and evening light depending on the location, so make sure you do some research in advance to find the perfect time for the look you hope to achieve. 

#5 Safety really does come first 

As a Montana adventure photographer, safety is always my most important concern. This is why I recommend booking a local photographer specializing in outdoor adventure photography anytime you hope to trek into the wilderness for photos. 

With bear spray and a first aid kit always on hand, I ensure that we arrive in any location prepared for anything. Nicks and cuts might happen, but I’ll be ready to patch you up right away! I also keep an eye on the weather, wildlife reports, and safety advisories so you can enjoy your session worry-free. 

Montana Family Photographer

#6 Letting a local lead makes all the difference

Finally, inviting a local along for the ride helps you branch out from the typical tourist spots for photos! While some of the tried-and-true spots are among my favorites, the best images usually come from stepping outside the box. 

As a local photographer, I can safely and quickly escort clients to unbelievable locations you’ve probably never seen in photos. Whether inside Glacier National Park or out, there are all kinds of hidden gems just waiting to be explored!

Did you learn something fun in those 6 things about adventure photography? I take pride in having the knowledge to help guide a session in some of the most epic places Montana has to offer. As a Glacier National Park Photographer, I come with years of experience and working with 100+ families, couples, and seniors per year. If you're interested in booking a session in Glacier National Park, or another adventurous locations (yep, I know more), please fill out my Contact Form and I'll be touch to help you start planning your epic adventure!

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