Ten tips to improve your skills in nature photography
Nature Photography refers to all nature in its many many forms: the earth and its amazing landscapes, the sky in all its beauty at night, all animals and wildlife.
You can become a pro in nature photography if this is a field that appeals to you. All it takes is a little dedication, study and practice.
Capturing wildlife, birds and animals of the earth, as you can imagine requires a specific skill and that is to be able to shoot moving subjects. There are many factors to consider when shooting nature, it is a dynamic process, it involves a lot of elements, subjects, background, and of course light. You want to be prepared for this new experience in order to achieve the desired results.
A wise nature photographer needs to understand the different factors that participate in the picture in order to capture those great nature moments.
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Nature photography is also an adventure and you will need the necessary things such as your bag with all your photography equipment (camera, tripod, protective camera cases, different type of lenses, filters, batteries, memory cards, remote release and so on) but also some personal stuff and depending on the kind of trip perhaps a tent, food, and appropriate clothing. Make sure you have everything required to travel safely and to protect your gear from the weather.
Before you jump in the experience make sure you have all the information about the area you are visiting and if there are specific rules to attend to. The more prepared you are the more you can concentrate on the nature photography when you are actually there.
Let’s take a look now at the 10 tips about nature photography that will be a huge help during your wildest adventures.
These are guidelines that will give you an opportunity to improve your photography skills:
1. Rise early and get out late.
Some of your best nature images will turn out to be the ones taken during sunrise or sunset. Because of the light, of course. Nothing can compare to the warmth of the golden hour. Everything glows in the warm and magical tones of gold, red and orange. You will want to take advantage of the midday hours for scouting locations and then prepare to shoot early in the morning or around sunset and even at night. The starry sky in the country is an amazing subject to choose for your nature photography.
2. Get down low and drop to eye level.
This is a general rule for every nature photographer, when it looks like you are at the same height as the animal you automatically produce an impact on the images and the sensation of getting drawn into the picture. So if you look through the viewfinder and it doesn’t appear that you are close to the animal drop a little lower. Always do whatever you can to get as close as possible to reach the animal eye level (but remember: safety first).
3. Watch the background.
The background is just as important as the subject itself. Everything in your image needs to be carefully studied and planned. That’s the difference between a photographer and an amateur. A photographer aims at total harmony and balance in the entire frame. Everything in your image has to contribute in telling your story and convey your emotions in front of a given subject. Look around, move around your subject and watch it from different perspectives before you shoot. Nature photography changes in one second, so keep your focus at all times.
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4. Always respect your subject.
Every wild animal has its own safe distance. Some will allow you to get closer, others will stay away and move away as soon as you start moving in their direction. In both situations, be very careful not to make sudden gestures.
5. To get closer, look distracted.
The best way to get into wildlife is to ignore them. Take your time and keep the animal in the perimeter of your vision but don’t maintain eye contact. Once you get into a good range take the shot.
6. Burst mode or continuous shooting and silent shooting.
The burst mode, also referred to as continuous shooting, allows you to have a sequence of images of the moving subject, from which you will choose the best ones. Many digital cameras give you the possibility to set a silenced burst (S) to attenuate the shutter noise, however this mode decreases the number of shots per second that the SLR is able to record. Decide, depending on the various situations whether to use it or not.
7. Know about your subject.
Understanding the behavioral routine of the animal will help you anticipate when a potential shot is coming. If you know about the subject you are shooting, you will able to predict movements, spot when a particular behavior might take place and not relying on luck for every shot.
8. Fast shutter speeds for shooting nature.
You can freeze the action and the movement of the animal, avoiding the blur by using fast shutter speeds. As a general rule, keep in mind the focal length of your lens and set an exposure time of the same order of magnitude. Example: let’s say you are shooting with a 400mm telephoto lens, use an exposure time that is not less than 1/500.
9. Use AF points for composition.
You can create the composition in your viewfinder first and move the AF point to the eye of the subject or as close as possible to the eye, that way as a subject moves it’s easy to relock the focus on his eye, so you don’t need to move very much to recompose and get your shot. The same principle applies to moving subjects only now you need to anticipate where your focus point is going to be as the animal runs or flies through your viewfinder.
10. Close-up photography.
If you like to take close-ups of nature (flowers, bugs, animals) consider a macro lens. It will help you achieve the desired results. These optics allow enlargement to be achieved at actual size, and usually have excellent image quality. There are macros of various focal lengths, from 50 to 200mm.
Nature photography requires quality equipment to better appreciate the characteristics of the animal and plant species photographed. In fact, some detail and good color rendering are required. But don’t be discouraged, you don’t have to do everything right away. You can get excellent results, to start with, by making a selection of the subjects to which you would like to dedicate yourself and get the basic needs to proceed. As you practice and get better you can add other accessories to your photographic equipment that will grow as you grow in your photography skills.
If you find these tips interesting and useful, please write your comment below. It’s always nice to share the same passion.