Nature photography encompasses a wide range of photos taken outdoors, and conveys natural elements such as landscapes, wildlife, plants, trees and flowers.
Whether you’re photographing sweeping natural scenes or close-ups of flowers, nature photography can be incredibly rewarding. Here are five tips for taking beautiful photographs of nature.
Focus on the foreground
Being out in nature can be incredibly rewarding. And not just for photography. The fresh air, the scenery, and the experience itself are all great incentives to head outdoors with your camera.
When capturing beautiful scenes in nature, your picture can benefit from a bit of foreground interest. When you find a magical landscape to photograph, do it some justice by including something interesting in the foreground. I see many nature photos showing empty landscapes and skies without any consideration for the foreground.
Don’t get me wrong. Nature images can look great with an atmospheric sky and inviting view. But adding a foreground will help make your image stand out. Throw in a rock or some flowers to your image, and the photo becomes much more striking. In this nature photo I included some dandelions in the foreground to accentuate the scene.
Balance the photo
Have you ever taken photos in nature and been disappointed with the images you produced? Returning from a photography outing with images that please you can be a challenge. So my next tip is to make your photos more balanced. Capture images of nature with careful consideration of what you include in the frame, and balance all of those elements.
For example, you maybe able to bring certain parts of the landscape together to improve your image, such as trees and mist. When you’re shooting outdoors, what things can you identify that would make a visually pleasing image?
Use the right gear
Depending on the subject you’re photographing, it’s important to choose the right gear to get the best out of your images. Close-ups of insects or flowers would be best suited to a macro lens, which lets you get nearer to your subject. When faced with a wide vista, use a wide-angle lens to record a greater field of view.
On the other hand, if you’re shooting wildlife, telephoto and zoom lenses are usually the best option as they can help you zoom in closer to your subject. These aren’t hard and fast rules, but rather suggestions on what generally works regarding lens choice.
For example, if you’re photographing animals in a zoo, a wide-angle lens may be better than a telephoto lens if you want to capture more of the scene than just the animal, or if you’re positioned close to them.
Capture different seasons
The advantage of nature photography is it can be done at any time during the year and in different seasons. Summer is a great time to document lush landscapes and green foliage when everything is in full bloom, whereas spring and autumn can provide blooming flowers, cooler climates, atmospheric weather and the occasional mist. The added benefit of autumn is the change in colours of autumn foliage, giving you opportunities for vibrant photos.
Winter is another wonderful time to capture the brilliance of nature. While it can be harsh and cold, it can also be strikingly beautiful. A sprinkling of snow can look good in any nature photo.
Snow can add contrast in landscape vistas. For example, the snow in this scene helps the dark silhouetted tree stand out. I also find that snow-capped mountains are wonderful subjects to photograph during the winter season.
Make the most of your natural surroundings
You don’t have to live in a beautiful and remote location to find amazing subjects of nature. You’ll find an abundance of things waiting to be photographed in your local area. I took this photograph five minutes from my home. Go outside and explore your own surroundings, and take photos in the best natural places close to home.
Capturing photos of nature can be truly rewarding, and a great opportunity to be photographing outdoors.
Whether you’re a landscape photographer or prefer to shoot plants or wildlife, try putting these tips into practice. And feel free share your images and any other comments or tips below.