We shoot many adventure tours/excursions here in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica and other areas in the country. We shoot horse back riding tours, ATV tours, parasailing tours, surf lessons, waterfall tours, catamaran whale watching tours, mangrove kayak tours, you name it! Here we share our top tips for when you are the tour photographer in order for you to have a great time and get the best shots of the action!
Check out our Vlog from our last adventure tour shoot we did!
Wear the Right Clothes
Depending on the tour you are shooting, you should dress accordingly. As funny as it looks, we tend to go for the safari adventurer look. This includes a big hat, sunglasses, long pants, shirt, flannel, and closed shoes.
Bring Mosquito Spray and Sunscreen
Whether you are shooting an ATV tour or Waterfall tour, these are types of nature tours which will for sure involve swarms of mosquitos and being under the hot sun. Be prepared for this by bringing insect repellent and sunscreen of at least 30 SPF.
Bring a Dry Bag for Camera and Gear
The last thing you’d want is for your gear to get wet! A dry bag is a must during these kind of jobs.
Bring a Change of Clothes
You never know what’s going to happen on these kind of jobs (especially if you are doing them in Costa Rica)! The obvious is that it could rain on you in the middle of the tour. You could also have a chance to actually do the tour rather than be an observer which will involve getting wet.
Bring Snacks and Water
Whether you are the official tour photographer that is there all day taking photos of clients or shooting models doing the tour for marketing purposes, you will be there for a while and thus bringing snacks and water is very important.
During the Shoot:
Position Yourself to Be Ahead of the Tour Group
The best place you can be is waiting somewhere where the group will pass so that you can get that action shot capturing the adrenaline in the right moment. If you are where the tour group is, you can only get shots in front or behind you which are not as good as side and diagonal shots.
Shoot on a Tripod
This is extremely important if you need these photos to be as clear and focused as possible, for example if they are going to be blown up and made into promotional slideshow type videos or billboards. This can be done when you position yourself as we stated above. This is not so necessary if you are shooting clients doing the tour and simply capturing their vacation memories.
Direct Your Models to Smile and Appear Natural
If you are doing this type of photography to get these photos on brochures and up on billboards, get as many natural appearing shots as you can. Tell the models to smile but not to look at the camera. If they need more guidance, tell them to look at their surroundings. If you are shooting clients doing the tour a simple “Smile!” or thumbs up will suffice.
Get Your Settings Right
Shoot using a mid Aperature (3.5-6.3 f/stop), highest shutter speed possible (to capture still shots in motion) and ISO of 200 or below to prevent grain if the photos are meant to be used in brochures, billboards later. If the photos are for clients doing the tour we recommend shooting with the ISO set at Auto due to unpredictable light and the fact that you will most likely be turning in the photos as they are, without any post production changes.
Use the Right Lens for the Job
If you are shooting parasailers from the ground, use a telephoto lens such as the 70-300mm Canon Lens. If you are shooting the models or clients from not much of a distance, such as during a horse back riding tour or ATV tour, a standard 18-55mm lens will do the job just fine.
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