In this post, I will share with you 10 tips for nature photography. Taking amazing nature photographs can be an incredibly fulfilling experience. We all see captivating nature photographs online that seem to always draw our attention. Images like landscapes, beautiful plants, animals in motion, and even something as little as insects and water droplets. They look so incredible because someone stood behind a camera and took a shot. That way, things that you otherwise might have ignored is duly appreciated.
One great thing about nature photography is that you don’t have to travel all around the world to take great pictures. Like me, you can simply step into your backyard and find the right things to capture. If nature isn’t being particularly friendly, you can choose to stage the scene and create that perfect image for yourself. Follow my 10 tips for nature photography and you would be surprised to see how amazing your pictures would look.
Nature photography is an art that is truly inspiring and there are many nature photography enthusiasts in the world. If you’re like me, and you love taking those inspiring shots, here are a few tips on how you can take great nature photographs.
Below are my 10 tips for nature photography:
1. Use the right lens when shooting photographs of nature
Some people say that a camera is only as good as its lens. This can be true sometimes. It is important for any photographer to know the right type of lens to use for the right image. If you want to shoot landscape, a wide-angle lens will be the best option. If you want to take close-ups of highly elusive animals like birds and other creatures, you can use a telephoto lens. For macro images, use a macro lens. I use a 113 mm zoom lens for my macro shots. But regardless of the type of lens you use, you can still take captivating nature photographs.
2. Take a tripod along
Using a tripod isn’t particularly necessary. You can take amazing shots without using a tripod stand. But certain images require the use of a lower shutter speed. In such a case, your tripod stand is crucial to avoid any shake that can make your image blurry. Also, there are instances when the wind isn’t very favorable. Often times when I want to shoot a water droplet on a leaf, the wind gets in the way making the leaf sway. In such an instance, my tripod comes to the rescue. I can simply mount my camera on the tripod, and use my free hands to hold my subject steady.
3. Use the appropriate depth of field
What is depth of field?
Depth of field helps you isolate your subject by blurring out the background. Because I major in macrophotography, my images are never lacking in depth of field. This is because the closer your lens is to the subject, the blurrier the background gets. It’s just like the eye. If you place a finger directly before the eye, the background is considerably blurred. The farther the finger is from the eye, the more the focus blends with the background.
You can control the depth of field of any image by using the F stop or aperture. The wider the aperture, the more blur you get to your background. Aperture varies depending on the camera. The widest aperture in some cameras could be f/1.8 or f/2.5, while the narrowest could be as little as f/13. But you need to be careful when using the aperture. The wider your aperture, the more light enters into the camera, and that could leave your image over exposed.
4. Shoot in Manual Mode
Unless you are dealing with highly elusive creatures, it is advisable to shoot in manual mode. When your camera is set to manual, you are able to control the settings. For instance, if the sun is too bright, you might want to increase your shutter speed or reduce your ISO, with respect to the position of your subject. But if your camera is on auto mode, you might not be able to get a shot in the exact way you want. It could be a tad bit over or under exposed.
Also, when your lens is on autofocus, there’s always a good chance that you’ll miss your target, leaving your image slightly blurry. This can get quite frustrating especially when shooting tiny objects. Manual focus gives you full control over your camera’s focal length and gives you exactly what you want to capture.
5. Use Natural light in nature photography
Natural light is the best lighting for almost any type of photography. This is especially true for nature photography. When shooting outdoors, you’ll want to aim for the hours just after sunrise, or before sunset. This light gives your image a soft quality and prevents harsh shadows, leaving your images with stunning looks.
Shooting during these times is also advantageous to the photographer. There are usually great prospects to shoot around these times, and the environment will be less crowded helping you focus more.
6. Practice the rule of thirds for your nature photography
This is a very common rule in photography. The rule of thirds generally involves you placing your image at a corner of your camera screen. The screen is spit by two vertical and horizontal lines which divides the screen into nine equal parts. Focus on placing your images at the right or left corner of your screen instead of dead in the center. This gives your image a unique beauty and makes it more dynamic.
7. Be very patient when taking pictures of animate subjects
This is a key factor in nature photography. You have to learn the art of patience. This is especially true when shooting wildlife. Many times, when I want to shoot a dragon fly or a butterfly, I stalk my subject very carefully. But in the end, I end up taking at least 50 terrible shots before getting that one perfect capture. It can be very frustrating, but if you want fantastic images, you have to learn to be very patient. Try not to move around too much. Stay put in a strategic position and your subject will eventually come to you. If you must move, do so very slowly, so you won’t rattle out all your prospects.
8. Know your camera settings
If you want to shoot great quality shots, you have to know how to manipulate your camera settings. Shoot in RAW for better post editing. Try to master the exposure triangle. This triangle includes your aperture, ISO and shutter speed.
Lower your ISO as much as you can. Doing so will ensure your images aren’t too grainy and are of good quality. Also, a faster shutter speed reduces the amount of light that enters into the camera while a slower shutter speed allows in more light. The same rule applies to the aperture. Once you learn how to manipulate your camera settings, you are well on your way to becoming an expert.
9. Take useful camera gear when shooting outdoors
It is important to take with you useful gear you might need when shooting outdoors. Things like an extra lens, tripod stand and extra battery. Also, you might want to take gear that will help you stage your shoot just in case nature disappoints. Sometimes, I take with me a spray bottle, a bottle of water and even a flower just to stage my water droplet reflection shots. Also, ensure that you kit up properly for the weather. Wear boots for more comfortable movement, and you could also wear a face cap to guard against the sun’s glare.
10. Nature photography requires that you explore your surroundings
Every photographer wants to take amazing photographs. Many people travel around the world for spectacular landscapes and stunning wildlife. But instead of going that far, you could simply explore your surroundings. All my photographs were taken either at my backyard, or while taking a stroke around my house. While traveling is an excellent way to get amazing shots of landscapes, wildlife and other beauties, you could also explore your surroundings. Nature photography also encourages you to pay attention to the details in your environment.
There are many photographers out there that shoot stunning photography. Learn from them, and be sure to practice. Shooting nature can be a really rewarding experience. Nature offers some of the most amazing sights. Nature photography is about taking in these sights and conveying them though the lens of your camera for all to appreciate. If you follow these 10 tips for nature photography, you would be shooting great pictures in no time.