How to Get Started with Nature Photography: 10 Top Tips
Nature photography is probably the easiest type of photography to start with. Chances are you are already a nature photographer. Have you ever photographed a flower or a natural scene? So, you have already tried nature photography.
Anyone can take a nature photo, but it takes hard work and courage to stand out. You should learn about the natural world, familiarize yourself with your equipment, and be prepared to try different techniques. More than that, you shouldn’t be afraid of failure.
That said, here are our tips for taking great nature photos.
1. Learn about the world around you
If you choose nature photography because you can shoot random flowers and plants, think again. To be a successful nature photographer, you need to be an expert in what you’re shooting. So take the time to learn about the flora and fauna in your neighborhood.
With nature apps like iNaturalist Where ImageThis, learning from nature is not very difficult. You can use these apps to identify plants and organisms. Then you can learn more about them and learn about their behavior and habits.
This practice will help you understand the best seasons and times to find a particular flower, plant, or animal.
2. Start with inexpensive equipment
When you don’t get great nature photos, it’s easy to blame the limitations of your camera. But the truth is, you don’t need fancy equipment to take nature photos. On the contrary, things like composition or time of day matter more.
Your iPhone or smartphone is a great tool for photographing the great outdoors. However, consider investing in a mirrorless or DSLR camera if you are serious about photography. Of course, you can buy a used one to start with. Here are some great reasons why you should buy a used DSLR.
The same goes for lentils. Again, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to buy a super zoom or an ultra-wide lens. The 50mm lens is a superb all-round lens, perfect for the outdoors.
3. Find a variety of topics
The beauty of nature photography is that you can start as a generalist nature photographer and then move into specialized areas like landscape, macro, and wildlife photography.
When out in nature, look for different types of subjects like flowers, birds, insects, animals, and landscapes. If you work with various topics, you will soon find a favorite. Then you can invest in a specific item like a macro or telephoto lens depending on your subject.
4. Know when to get out
If you know the basics of nature photography, you might have heard of the beauty of blue hour photography and golden hour photography. While it’s true that your chances of capturing beautiful landscapes, flowers, and animals are highest at dawn and dusk, midday is when the insects are active.
So choose the time according to your topic. Bring enough water and snacks with you to have the flexibility to stay longer if needed.
5. Learn various composition techniques
The way you compose your scene can bring out the usual landscape or flower shot. Therefore, take the time to learn basic composition techniques like the rule of thirds, leading lines, symmetry, and the golden ratio.
Adding layers to your composition can add depth and dimension to your photos. For example, separate your scene into three sections, foreground, middle, and background. And find visual interests in all three sections to take impactful photos.
Feel free to add a human element to make your composition more powerful.
6. Try different camera settings
Do you prefer automatic mode on your camera? Although auto mode works well when you’re a complete beginner, you’ll miss it if you keep using it. For example, if you want soft, dreamy bokeh, you should use other camera modes.
To get started, try Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority modes. Then slowly switch to manual mode, where all the fun is.
7. Go on the trails
Trying to take pictures in your neighborhood parks can quickly get boring. So find a nearby national park to hit the trails. Going to new places will help you see things differently and come back with lots of photos.
Don’t forget to download the official park app or try the All trails application. These apps will have maps of trails near you, so you won’t get lost in the forest. This is very important, especially if you are going alone.
It is also essential to follow park rules and adhere to the leave no trace policy.
8. Dress for success
You need to be comfortable when you’re on the go and shooting. It’s a good idea to dress in layers, so you can easily add or remove them. Wear proper hiking shoes and wear a hat or beanie, depending on the weather.
Be careful in cold weather, remember to keep your hands warm. Take waterproof bags when you are in the snow or in the rain.
9. Practice, Practice, Practice
Regular practice is one of the key things that will make you a confident photographer. Don’t give up even if your photos aren’t up to par. Try to take as many pictures as possible and figure out what worked and what didn’t.
You can also complete a photo challenge, 360 day challenge, take photos based on colors or themes, etc. Also join a photo club or forum to learn tips and tricks.
Contributing to a photo website is also a great way to improve your photography. You might not make money right away, but the review process will help you understand the technical requirements of a good photo.
10. Master Basic Photo Editing
This step is non-negotiable. You may not be ready to invest in photo editing software as a beginner photographer. But, you need to edit your photos to get a polished look. Watch YouTube tutorials and try free software like Gimp or Apple Photos to get started. Editing is sure to take your photos to the next level.
And get into the habit of shooting in RAW to have full editing control. In case you don’t know, here is the difference between RAW and JPEG images.
Develop your photographic eye with nature photography
Nature photography is fun, accessible, and doesn’t require expensive equipment. Plus, spending time outdoors is good for the body and mind.
You can start right away. Use it as an excuse to spend more time outdoors.