What is Nature Photography?
The photography genre that successfully exhibits the essence of the natural world is known as Nature Photography. Everything including stunning landscapes, beautiful flower photos and nostalgic beach photographs are a part of this genre. There are a lot of other sub-genres in nature photography, like Wildlife and Landscape Photography that a photographer can focus on. This genre can also be seen as a way to document the seasonal changes and the environmental issues that we, as citizens, need to be concerned about. But most of the time, photographers do nature photography to focus on and showcase the beauty of the world that we live in.
16 Easy Tips For Great Nature Photography
While going for Nature Photography, just like any other genre, you need to keep certain things in mind which will help you drastically improve your photos as well as their viewer experience. Hence we here at Spyne are here to let you in on some of the best and most effective tips and tricks for Nature Photography.
1. Capture Movement of Water
As a Nature Photography, you will frequently come across water bodies and sometimes even waterfalls. So to capture the very beauty of the scene, you can either freeze the movement of water with fast shutter speed or you can click a more smooth and calming photo of the water with slow shutter speed.
2. Create a Mirror Effect With Water
This is another great way to make your nature photos more exciting. For this, you'll need a water body big enough that it will reflect the whole scene adjacent to it. This creates a great mirror effect. However, you'll be needing a tripod for this shot as most of the time, you need to smooth out the water's movement with a slow shutter speed so that you can get a clear mirror image of the scene in the water.
3. Emphasize On The Subject By Cropping
While photographing nature, you are bound to get a lot of unnecessary elements in the frame. So to make sure that your main subjects get that whole attention, you need to crop the image, eliminating the distracting elements as well as any other non-relevant aspects.
4. Give It A Human Touch
When you are doing Nature Photography, do not forget to give it a human touch. This basically means involving a human into the frame. This extra effort associates the image with Travel Photography, and who among us is not a fan of travel photography? Travel Photography gives the viewer a sense of adventure that is good enough to catch their attention.
5. Maintain Your Distance
You should always maintain your distance and do not get in the way of the natural order of things. You should always try and capture the image from afar so that you do not create problems for the wildlife. Plus, you also have to "Leave Only Footprints", as littering or harming nature in any way is the last thing you want to do as a nature photographer.
6. Make Good Use Of The Natural Light
Nature Photography is usually done in the natural light of the sun. But you have to see to it that you make the best out of that light. Natural light is the best light for any genre of photography as with plenty of light, you get much more freedom while clicking pictures in the manual mode.
7. Pack The Right Lenses
When you are stepping out for Nature Photography, make sure that you have all the appropriate lenses. And when it comes to what all lenses you should carry, a Wide Angle Lens definitely makes the list. When you are close to your subject and even when you want a wider field of view, a wide-angle lens is a great option. In Nature Photography, you can either be too close to your subject or too far. Hence, you also need a Telephoto Lens. The long focal length lenses will allow you to take pictures of animals and birds from a distance without actually disturbing them in any way.
8. Prefer a Cropped Sensor Camera
In Photography, we know that a full-frame camera is most of the time the right choice. But here, a cropped sensor camera can be of more help. And the reason we say that is, the cameras with a cropped sensor gives you a 1.6x magnification with every lens. And this comes in handy when you are shooting a subject that is far away. While using a cropped sensor camera, your lens's focal length gets multiplied by 1.6. So, if you are using a 50mm lens with a cropped sensor camera, the 50mm automatically becomes 80mm.
9. Shoot Animals In Their Natural Habitat
As we already discussed above, it's best not to disturb the natural order of things for a photoshoot. Hence, as a nature photographer, you are advised to not interfere with the wildlife, instead shoot the animals in their own habitat. Not only is this good for the animals but with this, your photos also turn out to be more authentic.
10. Shoot At Golden Hour
We have talked about this several times in our previous blogs. The Golden Hour is the best time for most of the genres of photography. The light is just perfect for landscapes, wildlife and even portrait photos. And if you are not familiar with the Golden Hour Photographer, read our detailed blog on the same to fully understand Golden Hour Photography.
11. Shoot In RAW
You might not understand the significance of shooting in RAW when you are actually clicking the picture, but once you sit on your editing desk, you'll know that the RAW format offers a lot more freedom and flexibility at the time of editing. A RAW image also doesn't lose its quality at the time of editing as JPEGs do.
12. Try Out Different Angles and Perspectives
To keep your photography from being boring and monotonous, you have to try out different Angles and Perspectives so that you capture the best frame possible. Most of the best shots come from experimenting. And this is what you should also do. Practice, till you get the right shot.
13. Understand Your Subjects
When you are photographing a particular subject like a plant or a tree, you have to know what are the angles that can work best for such a subject. You can take help from the internet by looking at different inspirations and ideas.
14. Use Lower F/Stops For Shallow Depth of Fields
No matter what genre you are shooting, Shallow Depth of Field always creates some amazing and stunning images. So when you are packing your lenses, make sure that you also have a lens with a wide aperture opening. Not only this allows you to shoot at faster shutter speeds, but it also results in majestic images.
15. Use ND Filters
When you are shooting outdoors, the natural light can most of the time be too harsh. This results in your images being overexposed (Brights being too bright) at a few spots. So to keep this from happening, you can use ND (Neutral Density) filters. They make your whole image evenly exposed, without any underexposed or overexposed areas.
16. Use Rules of Composition
While shooting, you can always use composition rules like the Rule of Thirds. This drastically improves the framing as well as the composition of your image. So if you would like to know more about The Rule of Thirds and improving your composition, go through our latest Blog on What is Rule of Thirds? to understand composition better.
What Are The Best Camera Settings For Nature Photography?
There is no literature value for the best camera settings for Nature Photography. You need to change your camera setting according to the end result that you want to achieve. And as you have plenty of natural light, you get much more flexibility and freedom while choosing the camera settings.
In case you are clicking landscapes and sceneries, you need a higher f/stop number so that you can capture even the smallest of details. But if you are looking to get shallow depth of field, keep your F/stop as low as possible.
You need a faster shutter speed, at least around 1/60th of a second if you are capturing birds and animals. But if you are clicking pictures of water bodies, you need a relatively slow shutter speed, somewhere around 2-4 seconds.
And as you already have the help of the Sun, there is no need to increase the ISO beyond 200. This will get you some really sharp and high-quality images.
Equipment You'll Need For Nature Photography
Every photography genre is different from the other. Hence for each and every one of them you need a specific set of equipment. And here is the list of equipment that you will need for Nature Photography.
As we already discussed, you'll be needing a cropped sensor camera for your nature shoot. And not only because it can give you a magnification of 1.6x but also because these cameras are compact when compared to full-frame cameras and are easy to carry too.
Everything about Nature Photography is spontaneous. So it is better to be fully prepared. And for that, you'll need a Wide Angle Lens (When you are close to the subject or want a wide field of view), Prime Lens (When you need a shallow depth of field to differentiate you subject form the background) and a Telephoto Lens (When you are far away from the subject)
3. Bean Bag
Nature Photography is all about trying out different angles and new perspectives. But sometimes, your tripods don't allow you to be too close to the ground. Hence you can use a bean bag to click all the images from the ground up. The low angle is pretty effective and almost works every time.
4. ND Filters
To save your photo from getting overexposed or underexposed at few areas, you need to use ND Filters. They also save your lense from the harsh sunlight.
Whenever you take a long exposure shot or a photo with slow shutter speed, you have to place your camera onto a Tripod so that there are no camera shakes and the images turn out to be crystal clear.
6. Lens Hoods
When you are shooting in natural lighting, you need lens hoods. They can help you avoid the unnecessary Lens Flares.
7. Extra Memory Cards and Batteries
You never know when your battery is going to be out of charge or when your memory cards are going to be short on storage. Hence, you always need to carry Extra Memory Cards and Batteries.
This genre of photography is a great way to spend time and connect with nature. Most of the time, you already have plenty of light, all you need to do is experiment with different perspectives and angles so that you can get images that are really innovative and out of the ordinary.
In this blog, we covered most of the things that you need to know before heading out for a nature shoot. We talked about some of the most important tips, the best camera settings and all the equipment that you'll need for the journey.