Do more with less – backyard photography tips

Written by : Team Subaru with SURF2SURF


Subaru owners are 'doers.' In fact, the spirit of Subaru is 'do' and usually we're advocating for you to "do extra," road tripping around the country, however the current COVID-19 situation makes this rather challenging! So we've flipped this idea, and instead of encouranging you to "do extra" we'd like to help you get the most out of life in lockdown with some ideas on how to ‘do more with less.’


We are all faced with being at home, with less people to interact with, less equipment/facilities to keep us active and less places we can go. However, Subaru is fortunate to have ambassadors/sponsors scattered throughout New Zealand and they have a range of interests from rally driving to surfing, plus they come from a variety of backgrounds, including business, professional sport and farming. They have helped us come up with some clever, creative ideas to share and help you to do more with less.

Our friends at SURF2SURF have a few strings to their bow, and when they are not surfing at New Zealand's amazing beaches, they're being creative with their cameras.  The Surf2Surf team are keen photographers and with the change in what we can do at the moment, they are enjoying getting out and taking photos of nature. Their top tip: "The key to all photography is to take a ton of photos, then go through and edit - 90% will be probably be a bit average, but you’ll get the odd gem that will surprise you. This is what I love about photography.”

So, they’ve shared with us some handy tips to help you build up some skills while you’re at home and looking for something new to try, and you can do this at home using something many people already own - a smartphone!

Some of us are finding ourselves with more time to get outside and enjoy some fresh air and experience a bit of nature on a walk in your neighbourhood (remember #staylocal) or in your own back yard. You might not have ever noticed the shape of the leaves on the tree in your backyard, or how many little creatures enjoy hanging out on the plants by your letterbox but looking a little closer can bring a lot of things into focus.

Now is a great time to get out with the kids and channel your inner David Attenborough as you explore what your backyard has to offer.

Grab your phone (which most ones these days have pretty good cameras) or a physical camera if you have one and take a slow walk around your section or around the block. See what you can find and what photos you can capture. You might be surprised as to what you find! It’s something that the whole family can get involved with, and if you really want to channel your David Attenborough, you can take turns narrating what you see!

It could be as simple as photos of ferns and plants, to trees or clouds in the sky. Or if you're not a nature buff, perhaps take some close ups of details on your Subaru. You can experiment with angles and light and going up really close to get tiny details in focus.

Getting outside and taking time to slow down and explore can help you live in the moment and engage with the environment around you, which is especially important during these challenging times.


Here are some other helpful hints from SURF2SURF for you to try when you head outside for a photography excursion in your backyard.


Tips for photography in your backyard:


  1. Photography is about capturing light on a subject and seeing how it interacts with the surroundings - See how creative you can get. Extra tip: The best time for photography is early mornings, and evenings. Use the golden hour which is the time just after sunrise or sunset when daylight is redder and softer.
  2. Think about the angle. Try lying down on your lawn to capture a flower or shoot up towards the sky to get something different out of the shot or capture something from a new perspective.
  3. Look at what is in the background. Colours and shapes in the background can help make your subject pop and bring more life into the image.
  4. Break the rules - Try aiming into the light and see how light travels through leaves.
  5. Get artistic with what you shoot. Take photos of clouds, textures, plants, birds, insects, shapes, reflections - this is a creative exercise! Try and focus on things you hadn’t noticed before or see in a different way when looking through a camera lens.
  6. Snap, snap and snap. Take as many photos as you can, you’ve got plenty of time! You might shoot 50 photos for that one special image. (Professional photographers shoot hundreds just for that one magic shot). You can then sit down and review them all to keep the best ones.
  7. Experiment - Most phones offer excelled cameras with very good macro options for zooming and editing tools. Macro is when you take close up photos of small things, like insects or flowers.
  8. Extras for experts. To go that one step further, utilise your phones editing tools. Make subtle tweaks to colour, vibrancy and exposure. Note: Try not to overuse filters - remember you are shooting nature.


More Subaru Stories