photo by Jon Root via iStock
While a lot of other types of photography were hit really hard in 2020, nature photography became more and more popular. It is one of the only types of photography that you can do while being socially distanced and it also works really well for people who are looking to do staycations in beautiful parts of their home states.
For this reason, I think that nature photography is likely going to continue being super popular in 2021. But, this poses a lot of problems for people who have never tried nature photography, and they may have a lot of questions like what type of nature photography gear do I need and what types of nature photography techniques should I be trying?
If you’re looking for nature photography tips to get your new year started out with, then you’ve come to the right place.
photo by Vladimirovic via iStock
The moment you start paying attention to the natural world around you, you will start to see all sorts of interesting textures. Leaves can be fuzzy or spiky, flowers can be soft or bristled, and animals come with just about every texture you can think of. A porcupine is a good example of this, although I don’t know that I would recommend you getting close enough to capture a photo of it.
In order to highlight textures in your photos, you just need to start taking photos that are a bit closer to your subjects than you would normally take.
I love highlighting textures in my nature photography tips because some beginning photographers aren’t comfortable focusing on something this closely. It will even help you become a better photographer in other photography niches because attention to detail is a skill you need no matter what you’re photographing!
Understand the Science Behind Your Subjects
photo by Prostock-Studio via iStock
I hesitated to put this tip in my nature photography tips article because it has less to do with photography and more to do with research. But, I’m a strong believer that the better you are at research as a photographer, the better you become at photography.
You need to understand the science behind your natural subjects. For instance, if you’re planning on shooting sunflowers, then you would likely need to know what time of year sunflowers bloom so that you can capture them at their most beautiful.
If you are photographing a specific type of animal, on the other hand, then you need to understand that animal’s migration pattern (if it has one), it’s mating season, and it’s food and water preferences. All of this information will tell you when you’re most likely to actually find your animal and where you should camp out in order to do so.
I think this is likely why hunters make such great wildlife photographers. They inherently understand nature photography tips that most others don’t.
Equip Yourself with Good Gear
You can study as many nature photography tips as you want and still not be prepared to actually shoot out in nature if you don’t have good gear.
You obviously want to make sure that you’re dressed appropriately for the weather, or else you’re going to be miserable while you’re out shooting, but you also want to make sure that your gear is dressed appropriately.
What I mean by this is your gear doesn’t like being too hot or too wet in just the same way that you don’t. Cameras don’t operate very well in humid environments, especially if it just came from an air-conditioned room, so it’s important for you to know how to protect your camera from the humidity. Hint: you’ll need a plastic bag to prevent the camera from fogging up.
You’ll also need to prevent your camera from getting wet with rain, sleet, or snow. Traditionally, photographers used large plastic bags that looked a lot like those cheap raincoats you can buy at theme parks to keep their equipment dry. But, it’s now 2021 and you no longer have to do things the traditional way.
I recommend the Camera Canopy for photographers looking to keep their camera and lens out of the rain. The Camera Canopy is a rain shield for your camera that attaches directly to your camera’s hot shoe. It extends outward over your lens (up to 500mm!) and back over the rear of the camera so you can use the viewfinder without your face getting wet either.
While all of the nature photography tips on this list are helpful, making sure you have the right equipment is absolutely essential.
Choose Your Shooting Time Carefully
photo by Sourabh Bharti via iStock
While a lot of nature photography tips focus on things you can control, it’s important to remember that when you’re shooting in nature, there are a lot of things you can’t. For instance, you can’t control the sun and you can’t control other people.
For this reason, you need to choose your shooting time carefully. Make sure that you’re shooting during a time when you have good sunlight, like Golden Hour. Also, if you’re going to be shooting in a park that receives a lot of annual visitors, you need to make sure that you’re going either very early in the day or very late in the day so as to avoid the crowds.
Experiment with Angles
photo by foment via iStock
When you first start experimenting with photography, it can be really overwhelming. I think this is one of the reasons why people focus so much on following all of the nature photography tips to a detrimental point.
Sometimes, you need to throw all of the nature photography tips out of the window and just start experimenting with things you like.
One way to get yourself into a creative headspace like this is to start experimenting with angles. Try capturing plants and animals around you from an angle that nobody has ever done before. Sure, you may feel a little awkward rolling around in the dirt, but in the end it’s going to be so much more fun for you.
I hope that some of these nature photography tips for beginners were helpful for you.