Photography Spots in Outer Banks to Capture the Colors of Spring

31 May 2024 |  Published By: Hotels OBX

When you think of the Outer Banks, most think of the beaches. However, you may be surprised to find many natural wooded areas throughout the Outer Banks. There are trails with different difficulty levels and some that are wheelchair and stroller-friendly. Walk along a forest trail or capture a sunset over the dunes. Get ready to capture flowers blooming and the scenery in your Outer Banks photography.

  • The Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo Nestled on Roanoke Island, the Elizabethan Gardens is a floral paradise featuring a stunning array of blooms, including tulips, daffodils, and azaleas.
  • Buxton Woods Coastal Reserve, on Hatteras Island Discover the magic of Buxton Woods Coastal Reserve, where diverse plant species come to life in spring, blanketing the landscape with vibrant blooms. The burst of color against the serene maritime forest backdrop offers a photographer's Outer Banks scenery dream.
  • Kitty Hawk Woods Reserve in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina Famed for its dramatic coastal vistas. The seashore comes alive in spring with beautiful wildflowers. Offering a striking contrast between delicate blooms and the rugged coastline.

The Best Lighting for Outer Banks Photography

Lighting is a pretty big deal in the world of photography. Spring in the Outer Banks offers some of the best natural lighting conditions. Here’s when to capture the vibrant colors of spring at their finest:

  • Golden Hour The golden hour, shortly after sunrise and before sunset, is ideal for capturing the soft, warm light that can make your Outer Banks photography magical. The sun's low angle creates long shadows and a golden hue. That enhances the colors of your subject.
  • Early Morning Early morning light is typically soft and diffused, reducing harsh shadows. Highlighting the freshness of spring blooms. Additionally, fewer people are around, allowing for serene and undisturbed shots. You’ll be able to focus on the Outer Banks scenery.
  • Late Afternoon Late afternoon light provides a warm glow like the golden hour. This time of day is perfect for shooting coastal landscapes as the sun sets. In our opinion, the best sunsets happen on the Outer Banks. You'll see beautiful reflections on the water, and the scenery will be illuminated with rich, warm tones.

Incorporating Unique Elements: Outer Banks Photography

To add a distinct character to your spring photos, incorporate the unique elements of the Outer Banks. Here are some tips:

  • Lighthouses The iconic lighthouses of the Outer Banks, such as Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and Bodie Island Lighthouse, make striking focal points. Place them off-center in your compositions using the rule of thirds to create a more dynamic image.
  • Wild Horses The wild horses of Corolla are an extraordinary sight and can add a storytelling element to your photos. Capture them grazing among the vibrant spring landscapes or silhouetted against the coastal dunes. The best time to see the horses is early morning or late afternoon. Coincidently also the best time for natural lighting. An experience truly unique for an Outer Banks photography trip.
  • Coastal Landscapes The Outer Banks' coastal landscapes, with their rolling dunes and pristine beaches, are perfect backdrops for spring blooms. Consider using polarizing filters to enhance color saturation.   By blocking certain light waves, polarizing filters help make colors stand out more, making skies look bluer, leaves greener, and scenes more dramatic.  This will make pictures look more colorful and have less glare from the water.

Photography Tips and Techniques

Here are some additional tips and techniques to elevate your spring Outer Banks photography.

  • Wide Aperture: Use a wide aperture (low f-stop number) to create a shallow depth of field, isolating your subject against a dreamy, blurred background.
  • Foreground Interest: Incorporate foreground interest into your composition to add depth and visual interest. This could be anything from a piece of driftwood on the beach to a blooming flower in the foreground.
  • Angles and Perspectives: Experiment with different angles and perspectives to showcase the varied textures and colors of the Outer Banks during spring.
  • Rule of Thirds: Use the rule of thirds to compose your shot by placing your subject off-center at one of the intersecting points on a grid. This creates a more dynamic and visually pleasing image than simply centering your subject.
  • Golden Hour: The golden hour offers soft, warm light that can make your Outer Banks photos truly magical.
  • Weather Considerations: Be mindful of the weather forecast and plan your shoots accordingly, as weather can dramatically change the mood and lighting of your Outer Banks photos.
  • Edit Mindfully: When editing your photos, avoid overdoing it with filters or effects. Enhance the photo's natural beauty rather than completely altering it. Less is often more when it comes to editing.

Outer Banks Photography with Your Smartphone

In today's digital age, taking remarkable photos of the Outer Banks with a camera phone is more achievable than ever. Modern smartphones have powerful cameras. To capture the essence of the Outer Banks, pay attention to lighting and timing—natural light is your best friend. Utilize the built-in gridlines to follow the rule of thirds, ensuring your compositions are balanced and engaging. Try different camera modes and settings on your phone, like panorama for wide beach shots or slow motion for capturing waves.

Apps like Snapseed or Lightroom Mobile can enhance your photos with just a few taps. Don't forget to experiment with different angles—sometimes, crouching to the ground or finding a higher vantage point can provide a fresh perspective.

Places to stay during an Outer Banks Photography Trip

As you begin to plan your Outer Banks photography trip, where you stay will be an important decision. Picking a central hotel close to the natural areas you plan to visit will be key. The Comfort Inn South Oceanfront is in Nags Head, North Carolina. You can walk out on the back deck at this oceanfront hotel and experience the sunrise and sunset. Another wonderful hotel in the Outer Banks is the Comfort Inn on the Ocean in Kill Devil Hills. This oceanfront property is centrally located. Guests enjoy complimentary breakfast at both hotels. When taking a break from taking photos, enjoy the outdoor seasonal pools.

The Outer Banks photography in spring offers vibrant blooms and stunning landscapes. Don’t just take our word for it. Plan your Outer Banks photography trip and experience it!

To start planning your photography trip to the Outer Banks, contact us to make reservations at the Comfort Inn on the Ocean or the Comfort Inn South Oceanfront.

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