Nature Photography

Whether you are a professional photographer or an aspiring hobbyist, nature photography is a challenging and rewarding area of interest. Not only does nature photography put you in beautiful scenery, but it also gives you the chance to learn about some of your favorite animals, insects and locations.

This article provides you with some tips that can help you make the most out of your experience photographing nature.

Being Prepared for Nature Photography Means More Than Bringing Your Equipment

As you explore nature to capture new, exciting shots, remember that you will be out in the elements. Be sure to bring some basic supplies and prepare yourself for the demands of your environment. While you plan what to bring, check the weather for the destination you are traveling to so that you can pack efficiently.

Here is a list of items to consider bringing:

  • a cell phone
  • a hat
  • a rain jacket or slicker
  • a small first aid kit
  • an umbrella
  • insect repellant
  • sunglasses
  • sunscreen
  • water and snacks.

Photographing Nature Requires Attention

Capturing photographs in the natural world is quite different than taking pictures in a studio. Unlike a studio in which all of the conditions are completely controlled and your subject sits in the pose you want, in nature, the lighting is always changing and your subjects are quickly moving. You will have to move quickly and keep your eyes open if you want to get perfect pictures.

As a result, you will have to take care as you compose your shots. Before you start photographing nature, do a bit of research to understand what lighting, camera angles, shutter speeds and apertures work best for different situations. For example, as the sun sets and you are taking a picture of a far away subject, what shutter speed and aperture will best capture an incredible sunset shot?

The best way to understand how all of these features work in different settings is to experiment with your camera. Through trial and error, you will figure out how to set your camera to capture the ever-changing landscape of nature.

Equipment for Nature Photography

Just like the setting and elements of nature photography differ from studio photography, so too does the required equipment. Necessary equipment to bring on a nature shoot includes:

  • a camera bag (to hold your extra film, batteries and lenses)
  • a tripod
  • camera with manual focus capabilities
  • extra batteries for your camera
  • extra memory cards for digital work
  • extra rolls of film (you may want to bring a few color and a few black and white)
  • lenses (ideally a telephoto for distance and a wide angle for amazing landscapes).

Depending on your proficiency and your preferences, you can also include a number of other camera accessories in your camera bag. Some of the less necessary, but still useful accessories you may want to bring include:

  • a close-up diopter (or eyepiece) to help with extreme up-close work
  • cable release bulb
  • filters (such as a warming or polarizing filter)
  • flashes
  • lens adapters.

As you include other accessories, keep in mind that you will likely be doing a lot of walking, meaning that you will have to carry everything you pack. As a result, carefully consider whether or not you plan to use these other accessories, as well as whether or not you want to drag them around with you.

If you are new to nature photography and aren”t exactly sure what is and isn”t worth taking, talk to experienced photographers or experts at your local camera shop. Similarly, you can do some online research. Many photography sites have detailed chat room resources, where photography professionals and serious hobbyists post candid comments on the efficiency and value of various pieces of photography equipment.

Composing Nature Shots

Here are some of the compositional aspects for you to experiment with as you set up your nature photos. Keep in mind that tinkering with one or all of these features can produce a dramatically different effect for the same subject:

  • camera angles
  • focal length (distance from the subject)
  • lighting
  • zoom.

Just remember, the most important aspect to becoming a seasoned nature photographer is to keep trying and learning from new techniques. After you master the basics and learn how to manipulate the essential equipment, you”ll be ready to take on the more complicated elements to create uniquely enchanting nature photos!