Outdoor Photography and Camping Safety: 10 Essential Tips Every UK Photographer Should Know

Exploring the breathtaking landscapes of the United Kingdom while capturing stunning photographs is a passion shared by many outdoor enthusiasts and photographers. Whether you’re a professional or an amateur photographer, combining your love for photography with camping can lead to incredible adventures and unforgettable imagery.

Outdoor Photography

However, it’s crucial to prioritize safety while embarking on these outdoor expeditions.

Once things go wrong on an outdoor expedition, things can go from bad to worse faster than you can say “I should have thought of that”.

You only need to watch one or two episodes of I Shouldn’t Be Alive to see just how dangerous the outside world can be. And even the relatively mild and safe English countryside has its dangers. From freezing cold conditions to rough seas, the UK isn’t always as cute and cozy as it’s made out to be.

Let’s see what precautions you can take to ensure a safe and successful photography mission when traveling across the pond.

Research Your Location

Outdoor Photography in Yorkshire, UK

Before heading out to a new photography spot, conduct thorough research on the area. Understand the terrain, weather conditions, and any potential hazards or restrictions. Yes, I know it’s the UK, and there are no bears or rattlesnakes. But there are steep cliffs, protected areas, and weather that can chill you to the bone.

Familiarize yourself with local regulations, wildlife, terrain, protected areas, and permissions required for photography, particularly in parks or sensitive environments.

While thorough online research might feel like a tedious process, you must remember that as an outdoor photographer, you’re acting as your own producer. In commercial photography, the producer creates and manages the environment in which creativity can take place.

If you want to capture breathtaking moments, you want to know you’re in the right place at the right time, or as close as you can get. You also want to ensure that you and anyone who comes with you are safe and have all the necessary information to keep the perils of the great outdoors at bay.

Plan Your Trip

Outdoor Photography Golden Hours

Create a detailed itinerary for your photography and camping trip. Identify the best time to visit, keeping in mind the golden hours for photography. Consider factors such as sunrise and sunset times, tides (if you’re photographing the coast), and moon phases for astrophotography. Plan your camping spots and ensure they are safe, legal, and easily accessible.

That said, the UK’s outdoor conditions can be unpredictable. Your itinerary should be exhaustive, including backup measures for when things don’t go according to plan. If you arrive to find your campsite is flooded or unusable, you should have planned for other locations that’ll still work in the context of your journey.

Check Weather Conditions

Outdoor Photography - Stormy Weather in UK

The UK is known for its unpredictable weather, so monitoring weather forecasts is essential. Sudden changes in weather can impact photography conditions and safety. Prepare for various weather scenarios, pack appropriate clothing, and always carry waterproof gear to protect yourself and your equipment.

Inform Others

Inform a trusted person or a family member about your itinerary, including the locations you plan to visit and the duration of your trip. Share your expected return date as a safety precaution. This ensures that someone knows your whereabouts in case of an emergency.

Pack Essential Safety Gear

Outdoor Photography UK Hiking Safety

When camping and photographing outdoors, it’s crucial to carry essential safety gear. These include a first aid kit, a map and compass (or GPS device), a whistle for emergencies, a headlamp or flashlight, a multi-tool, a fully charged mobile phone, extra batteries, and a power bank. Additionally, pack enough food, water, and warm clothing to sustain yourself in case of unexpected delays.

Respect Wildlife and the Environment

Outdoor Photography Respect the Wildlife

As a photographer, it’s vital to respect wildlife and the environment. Keep a safe distance from animals to avoid disturbing their natural behavior and habitats. Familiarize yourself with the UK’s wildlife laws and guidelines for responsible wildlife photography. Leave no trace by minimizing your impact on the environment and always take your rubbish with you.

When it comes to capturing the perfect shot, it’s easy to forget just how sensitive and fragile the ecosystems around you are. You should always be ready to change your plans if they will in any way endanger the plant and animal life around you.

Be Mindful of Tides and Coastal Hazards

Outdoor Photography in Cornwall, UK

If you’re photographing along the UK coastline, pay close attention to tides and coastal hazards. Research tidal patterns and take note of any dangerous areas, such as cliffs prone to erosion or rapidly incoming tides. Familiarize yourself with coastal safety guidelines and always maintain a safe distance from the water’s edge.

Dress Appropriately

Old Man of Storr in UK

Wear appropriate clothing and footwear for the outdoor conditions you’ll encounter. Dress in layers to adjust to the changing weather. Opt for waterproof and breathable materials to stay dry and comfortable. Consider wearing bright colors or reflective gear if photographing near roads or during low-light conditions for increased visibility.

Stay Hydrated and Nourished

Hiking in Wales, UK

Maintain proper hydration and nutrition throughout your outdoor photography and camping trips. Carry an adequate supply of water and regularly replenish your fluids. Pack nutritious snacks and meals that provide sustained energy for long days in the field. Avoid relying solely on foraged food, as it may not be safe or sustainable.

Trust Your Instincts and Be Prepared

While exploring unfamiliar locations, trust your instincts. If a situation feels unsafe, trust your intuition and move to a safer area. Prepare for emergencies by acquiring basic knowledge of first aid and understanding the lay of the land. Where is the nearest town, the nearest hospital, the nearest shelter? These are questions you need to have answers to before embarking on your journey.

A Final Word

Now that you know the necessary steps needed to get that perfect shot, you’re almost ready to go out and capture the magnificent landscapes and natural beauty of the UK.

But before you do, make sure to make contact with other, more experienced outdoor photographers in your area. They’ll likely know the landscapes like the back of their hand and will be willing to give you information that you’re unlikely to find anywhere else.

Now stay safe and start shooting!

Sara Terrell

Sara Terrell is a globetrotting photographer with an insatiable wanderlust. Through her captivating imagery and compelling storytelling, she transports viewers to breathtaking destinations, igniting a sense of wonder and curiosity in their hearts.

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Categories: Europe, Europe Photography, Guest Post, Photography, Travel, United KingdomTags: , , , , , , , ,


  1. These are great tips. I think it’s essential to research sunrise, sunset, as well as the direction your spot faces. Is it an ideal spot for sunrise? Or is it more productive to aim for sunset?
    Thanks for a great post!
    ~ Christine

  2. Thank you that are very useful tips!

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