Into the Wild: capturing a wild summer on camera



We love producing and publishing photographic guidebooks – books that inspire adventure, exploration and a love of the wild moments and places all around. Best of all we love the fact that these days anyone can take photographs. We work with many people who have left their office jobs to pursue a journey or dream with their cameras. So for our next season’s books we are asking you all to help us. We would love to see some of your best photos, and inspire you to go out and take some new ones. There are some fantastic prizes, and we would love to talk to you about using your images in our next books too, or even commissioning a brand new book from you!

How to take a winning wild summer photo:

Magical light: Beautiful photos come to those who wait for the light, or who are where the light happens. Avoid the harsh midday sun – the shadows create deep contrast that can spoil a photo – but try to photograph before 10am and after 4pm, the magical ‘golden hours’. Shoot backlit sometimes, to create that halcyon, ‘Howies’ moment (remember their catalogues?) Try to get your friends out and about adventuring in these moments. That’s why (wild) camping is perfect for this photography, as you are out in the golden hour light. Sunset silhouettes of people can be beautiful too, as can picture that capture the essence of dusk and dawn, perhaps combined with firelight.

Unposed moments: make everything feel candid, by actually taking photos of real moments. Set the shutter speed high, to capture the action sharp, and prefocus so that your camera fires more quickly when you press the button. Capture joy and abandon of people laughing, climbing, jumping, exploring, doing. Move with your subjects, as you are walking along, and hold the camera low or high. Be like a paparazzi in the woods (in the nicest way) and never keep people waiting while you fiddle with your camera. You’ll often need to hold the button down and click many shots, but these days digital memory is cheap.

Engaging composition: Get low, high or to the side, to find an interesting angle. Get behind some foliage to frame the shot and give perspective. Shoot out of your tent, with some of the tent showing, to frame it too. Include other elements or details to give it context, and perspective: the campfire or some cookware, a paddle or some foreground flowers. When taking landscape scenes, try zooming in to an interesting detail, or go wide and include some foreground in the bottom third. NB the rule of thirds in composition means that you should rarely have anything in the middle – be off centre (but not wonky!)

The real key is to have an eye for a moment, a good feel for interesting composition, but more importantly to always have a camera to hand, and to get lucky with the light or moment in time. These are our top tips.

So what sort of things could you photograph and what are we looking for?

Wild Woods: we want to capture the mystic of ancient woodland for the next in the Wild Guide series series, particular those huge great veteran trees, all gnarled and twisted and hollow, but also fun in the woods: hammocks, tree swings, tree climbing and treehouses, den making and wild camping. Photos including kids free range in wild woods would be even more inspiring, as are woods with willow the wisps and in dawn mists.


Wild Water: dawn swims, amazing jumps, sunset canoeing, naughty skinny dipping – we are looking for the most inspiring images, that make you want to jump in, or get on the water! Beautiful light, amazing scenery, lovely people or some fun action are the key.


Wild Food: open fire cooking, foraged treats, cooking in the wild, cooking with kids – images that say yum and get you feasting in the forest. Try to capture the essence of the wilderness with your cooking – it shouldn’t look like a bar-b-queue in your backyard.


Wild Ruins: romantic relics, overtaken by the beauty of nature, hidden in the wilds, mysterious places to explore – ideally with people and children, ideally in the UK. Please make sure they are captioned with the name and location of the place, and whether they are on accessible land. Dave Hamilton (@wildruins on Facebook, @DaveWildish on Twitter ) is compiling research for his new book.


Wild Camping: evoke the spirit of camping in a wild place, perhaps at dawn or dusk, perhaps photographed from within the tent, or as a lone tent in a marvellous location. Whether a tarp, bell tent or under the stars… ideally in the UK. Here’s a picture we love from the front cover of the fabulous Ernest Jounal , taken by wild camper extraordinaire, Al Humphries.


Find out more and enter our #mywildsummer photo competition here. Please note we are looking for pictures from the UK and Europe only for our books. We can’t wait to see your shots… Enjoy a wild summer and good luck!


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