• Daragh Casey

Nature Photography Tips for Beginners

Most people are drawn to photography by one common theme, nature. Nature provides us with many subjects to shoot, whether its landscapes, mountains, waterfalls or flowers.


Even your back yard can offer many different opportunities for photos.


Here are tips to teach you how to make the most out of what you have available.


1.Plan Ahead


If you want to take a great photo, you'll need to make a great plan.


Planning well will let you know where you can take your photo from, what the best time of day you should take it and how sunlight will affect it.


You'll also need to do research for the specific location. If you're going into the woods, you'll need to know what kind of animals live there and you'll need to stay near the path so you don't get lost.

If you're going to the beach you'll need to do research on the tides. This information will help you make a great plan and you'll take a great picture as a result.


2.Equipment


This could be put in with planning but I think it deserves its own section.


If you've just bought a camera, it would have come with something called a kit lens. A kit lens is the lens all manufacturers send out with their camera kits. While you can start taking pictures with this lens straight away, it may not be the best for what you want to take pictures of.


If you have the extra money, you should consider buying an extra lens to go with your new camera. Since you're probably interested in landscape photography, you should consider getting a wide angle lens to capture as much of the scene as possible. I'm not saying the kit lens isn't good enough for landscapes but a wide angle lens will definitely capture more of the scenery.


The image needs to be sharp and for that to happen you'll need a tripod. Using a tripod will eliminate any camera shake and your picture will come out nice and sharp.


3. Use the semi-auto modes


This might sound like sacrilege to a lot of photographers but hear me out.


While manual mode gives you complete control over the aperture and shutter speed, it can be overwhelming when you are just starting out, especially with the constantly changing light conditions. In my opinion, you're much better off using either aperture priority or shutter speed priority.


Aperture priority lets you adjust the aperture and the depth of field, while the camera works out the best shutter speed for you. With shutter speed priority, you set the shutter speed while the camera sets the aperture.


The subject of your photo will determine what mode you use. If you're taking a picture of a flower up close, you'll use aperture priority. If you want to take pictures of something moving like an animal or water, you'll use shutter speed priority.


If you want to know more about these modes, check out my other blog post by clicking here.


4. Shoot In RAW


If you've never heard of RAW before, then you've probably been shooting JPEG images.


JPEGs are the default camera setting but the issue with them is they are compressed versions of the original photo. RAW files are uncompressed with virtually all the detail captured on the cameras sensor. However, the file size is bigger because of this.


It would be best practice to take the image in RAW and then save it as a JPEG after you edit it.


5. Placing the horizon


This piece of advice mostly applies to landscapes and sunsets which is why it's last on the list.


When you're trying to figure out where to place the horizon in the picture, there is one rule. Don't put it in the middle. You have to decide whether the subject of your photo is the sky or whats on the ground.


Imagine the sky is covered with clouds and doesn't look interesting at all. In this case you can put the horizon in the upper third of the image and focus on the landscape itself.


Imagine the sun is setting and the clouds are being lit up by the glow. In this case, you may want to put the horizon in the lower third to bring as much attention to the sky as possible.


Make sure the horizon is straight when you're taking the picture. You might be able to make it straight during the editing process but you lose a lot of the image by doing that.





So there you have it, 5 tips for nature photography. Photography is a skill and it takes time and practice to learn. So use what you've learned here and go take some amazing photos.




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