Through the Lens of Nat Geo: Best Outdoor Photography Tips

Charles Stovall

by , Public Relations Manager

It’s National Photography Month – and we’re celebrating with a new series!

Regular readers of the Disney Parks Blog know we’re dedicated to showcasing exciting, innovative photography and photo tips like Instagrammable locations around our parks and “Behind the Camera” looks at some of the breathtaking images taken by our professional photography staff.

For National Photography Month, we’ve asked our colleagues at National Geographic and National Geographic Kids – who have provided audiences around the world with awe-inspiring, spectacular photography for more than a century – for tips to share with you and fun profiles on some of their famous photo heroes.

Our first set of tips – Tips for Outdoor Photography – come from Nat Geo Explorer Gabby Salazar, a nature photographer from Greensboro, North Carolina. When Gabby was 11 years old, her father gave her a camera and she was hooked in just a few short minutes. Since that time, Gabby has traveled throughout North America and to over 40 countries to create outdoor photographs. In 2004 Gabby was named BBC Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year; and in September of 2008, Gabby was recognized by Glamour Magazine as one of the Top 10 College Women in the United States for her work with children, photography and the environment – just two of the accolades Gabby has accumulated throughout the years.

Gabby’s advice for taking great outdoor photography:

Photo by Gabby Salazar

·   DIFFERENT TAKES – Look for new and exciting ways to photograph your subject. Look up and look down. You can’t always move your subject, but you can move around your subject to look at it from a new angle. Don’t be afraid to get down on the ground to get a different perspective!

Picture of a gecko by Gabby Salazar
Photo by Gabby Salazar

·   LEADING LINES – Use lines in your composition to lead the viewer’s eyes into your image. You could use a road going off into the horizon, a fence that leads up to a deer, or a line of trees that lead your eye to a barn. Move around and look for different elements that create this effect—diagonal lines work particularly well.

Photo by Gabby Salazar

·   SHOOT AT EYE LEVEL – Instead of photographing a squirrel or your baby brother from above, get down at their eye level so that they’re staring directly into the camera. Images are more compelling when the subject is looking directly at you.

Photo by Gabby Salazar

·   SHOW YOURSELF IN NATURE – Think of creative ways to photograph your outdoor adventure. You could show your friend silhouetted against the sunset or looking off into a meadow. You could also focus on smaller details, like your friend’s hands planting vegetables in your garden or your sister’s legs running through a field of wildflowers.

Photo by Gabby Salazar
Photo by Gabby Salazar

·   EXPERIMENT – A lot of books and manuals will tell you the rules of photography. Rules can be helpful, but it’s OK to break them and experiment. Digital photography allows you to take countless images—this means that you can experiment with different angles, lighting, and techniques. Be creative and have fun!

For more stories, tips and travelogues from around the natural world, check out and And stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for more explorations into the world of photos.