Photo Tips from Jeff Vanuga

Jeff travels throughout the world, to capture nature’s wonders and spectacular scenes. Here are tips for visitors hoping to capture some great photos.

Jeff Vanuga is a widely-published, well known professional photographer. He has been photographing wildlife and images of the West for more than 20 years and is a phenomenal photographer. Although he is based in Dubois, WY, near Yellowstone National Park and abundant wildlife and wide open country, he travels throughout the U.S., and world, to capture nature’s wonders and spectacular scenes. Here are some of his tips for visitors to the Zion National Park region hoping to capture some great photos.

1. Best time to shoot
Pre-dawn, mid-morning and late evening until after dark, in any season is the premier time to take photographs while in Zion National Park.

2. Remember the rule of thirds...
Have your subject occupy one third of your frame to achieve the best composition.

3. What lens to use
You do not need a big lens; 200 MM and below are enough unless you are shooting the dangerous animals. For dangerous wild animals in Zion National Park, it's recommended you use a larger lens and shoot from the safety of your vehicle.

4. For landscape photos...
Use a 17MM to 200 MM lens and put the subject in the capture the sense of place with the animal or subject in its environment.

5. Optimal summer conditions in Zion Park
In June and July, optimal photography conditions in Zion would be a blue sky with some clouds in it. If you're out early, when the light comes out, it creates the magenta sky with red and orange clouds.

6. Have patience
If you want to shoot photographs in the outdoors and in a natural wonderland like Zion Park and surrounding regions, patience is a must. It's a waiting game. Accept this and embrace it.

7. Pay attention to the lighting
Contrary to popular belief, do not shoot with the sun directly at your back. Doing so will make the light on the subject flat. Move so the light is at an angle and you'll get more texturing and shadows and a result, a much more interesting photo. Most great photos are either side-lit or have the light coming in from a different angle.

8. Make photography a passion before you choose to make it a career.
You have to shoot a lot of photos to really learn how to take great photos. It is an art form.


Photographers in Bryce Canyon National Park

National Park Photo Contest presented by Tamron

Love to take photos in national parks? Whether it’s a landscape, a wildlife pic, or a Milky Way shot, send it our way. You could win a Tamron camera lens!

2018 Photo Contest Winners Collage

Backstories of the 2018 Winning National Park Photos

Want to know how to get a winning shot? Read these behind-the-scenes stories on how our three first-place photographers captured award-winning photos.

Peak of Watchman in Zion National Park. Photo by Charity Hagen

Zion Photo Gallery from Contest Entries

Enjoy these photos of Zion that were entered in our Photo Contests sponsored by Tamron

Tamron Road Team

Photo Road Trip with Tamron Team Andre and Ken

The team gets caught in an unexpected rain and snow storm in Zion but comes away with some amazing photos.

2018 Photo Contest Winners Collage

National Park Photo Contest Winners - 2018

We received 3,000 spectacular photo entries to our 8th Annual National Park Photo Contest and the winners have been selected.

2014 Photo Contest Winners

National Park Photo Contest Winners - 2014

The winners to the 2014 National Park Trips Photographic Memories Contest are in. We had 553 entries in all. See the prize wining photos.

2017 Winners of the National Park Photo Contest

Behind the Shot: Stories About the 2017 Winning Photos

The three winners, Roger Twilley, Matt Meisenheimer, and Tony Prince, are all hobbyists—none is a professional photographer by trade—but their images were no accidents.

Grand Prize Photo Winner Amit Lamba

National Park Photo Contest Winners - 2015

2015 Grand Prize winner is Amit Lamba - A Storm is Coming! Grand Canyon National Park. Runners up are Stephen Goldschmidt and D Brent Young.

Shark and bird at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Photo by Kate Noll

National Park Photo Contest Winners - 2016

2016 Grand Prize winner is Kate Noll of wildlife from Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Runners up are Phill Monson and Sandeep Gali. + 56 Honorable Mentions