- 1 How to improve your skills in nature photography.
- 1.1 What’s the Best Time for Nature photography?
- 1.2 What Season During the Year is Ideal for Photography?
- 1.3 What Gear Should You Use for Nature Photography?
- 1.4 Importance of Post Processing in Lightroom or Photoshop.
- 1.5 Conclusion.
How to improve your skills in nature photography.
As a nature photographer, have you ever scrutinized some photographic works and marveled at how the artist found such beautiful sites? Would you love to travel to newer locations to do your nature photography but don’t know of any potential sites? Well, it takes an effort in finding such places, and you’ll have to go through a process. This post provides essential tips to help you improve your skills in nature photography.
So what is actually nature photography?
Nature photography is a very broad range of photography that covers more types of photography taken outdoors. Typical examples of Nature Photography are:
- Landscape Photography
- Wildlife photography
- Plants and flowers
- Close-up and Macro photography
- Bird Photography
If you want to be an expert and improve yourself in nature photography, the best way is to specialize. This is a golden rule not only in nature photography but in any kind of activity, job or hobby. I suppose everyone reading this article is a nature lover and you have to decide what kind of nature scenery is most close to your hart.
All types of photography begin with a unique subject which acts as the pivot of your photo. To capture incredible images, you must ensure that you focus your strength on topics you are most passionate about. Subjects may be insects, flowers, trees, birds, mountains, etc. If you want to excel in photography, do not photoshoot your subjects because you think it’ll be famous and attract more views, likes or comments. Thus, it's essential to be passionate about what subjects have to photograph.
Choosing Your Photography Location
Some tips to help you find great photography locations include:
Learn from the pros - take a look at the works done by other professional photographers in your industry. You can find such photographers on platforms like Flicker, Instagram, and 500px, etc.
Go out and explore – remember, curiosity is essential in helping you find great places to photograph, so, get out there and explore. You may have researched great places to visit, but until you visit them physically, you may never learn what lies at the next corner.
Bucket list all great locations – come up with a rundown of amazing places you intend to visit soon. There are so many places in this world you can visit and take breathtaking photos. Noting down these places is the best way to remember where you want to visit.
Personal vision – as much as it’s good to learn from the pros, you may be tempted to take photos in similar locations they took. You must broaden your vision and find unique places never photographed before. There is a lot in this colossal world to shoot, personalize your vision.
Try to get most of your location.
Many times the situation changes, and if you planned to shoot beautiful landscapes, it could quickly happen the weather suddenly turns, and the sky is grey, and there are no attractive landscape sceneries available to shoot. So in spite of the need for specialization, it is always good to be prepared for another option. So just look around and try to find some exciting close-ups. I am sure there are beautiful plants, flowers, or old roots details to shoot.
What’s the Best Time for Nature photography?
Depending on the weather on a specific day, you can choose photography at any time of the day. Some photographers love taking photographs early in the morning or at sunset. It all depends on how you want to capture certain elements.
Let us start with Landscape photography. Here are essential typical daytime periods for a photographer:
- Blue Hour
- Golden Hour
- Day time
- Nautical Twilight
- Astronomical Twilight
Best known is I suppose Golden hour, which could be just before sunrise in the morning and just before sunset in the evening. During this period there is a beautiful natural soft light. Also, the colors are very vivid, saturated, and most present.
When we speak about other types of Nature photography, it depends. Of course, when shooting birds, it will be better to shoot during the daylight unless you are specialized on night birds like owls, for example. Close-ups, macro or details will need natural light so the average daylight will be great. But also here would be better to capture the images during the afternoon when the light becomes softer.
What Season During the Year is Ideal for Photography?
Whether cold or hot, or a combination of all of these four seasons has its uniqueness. Thus, these seasons have a substantial effect on nature photography. Their distinctive characteristics create issues that should be addressed separately. From winter’s physical white snowy appearance into the fiery leaves in fall, there are different approaches while photographing nature. The following are the four seasons and how they impact on your photography.
Spring – this season marks an ideal opportunity for many nature photographers to get out to the open landscapes. Capturing a season’s ethos is typically about discovering landscape changes that take place at specific times in the year. As a photographer, however, the beginning of spring will be highly challenging for landscape and nature photography. Always remember that. Nature is slowly waking up and showing a ton of nature photography opportunities. Flowers are opening; everything become green and fresh. There are beautiful wild creeks with melting ice combined with fresh new flowers or plants near it. If you are a wildlife specialist, you can see a lot of animals and birds.
Summer – this season is characterized by bright, sunny skies and long, warm days. This season is quite kind to photographers, and its weather is perfect for outdoor photography. It presents a pleasuring natural desire to head outside the house and put your camera to the task. It's the ideal time to take bright images on a sunny day. For landscape specialists, there is an excellent opportunity to enjoy longer golden hours and sunsets. Summer is also a vacation period. You, as a photographer, can exploit any family vacation to capture new locations.
Fall – why is fall so unique to you as a photographer? Well, the simple answer to this question is color. Every season indeed impacts an unprecedented change in the natural environment. However, fall is the most obvious where the vibrant green of the summer welcomes the barren landscapes of winter in colorful splendor.
The top opportunities are colorful leaves, trees, or whole forests. Primary color tones here are reds and Yellows, so it is good to plan your shooting with beautiful deep blue sky for color contrast.
Winter – snow can be familiar to you, but unheard of in other places. However, regardless of where you reside, it’s somehow innately inbuilt in our collective mentality as a sure sign of winter closing in. If you're still in doubt, input “winter” in your Google search bar and hit enter, the results will be mostly pictures featuring snowy backgrounds or elements.
During the winter ski vacation is always a good idea to bring your gear with you and take beautiful snowy images.
What Gear Should You Use for Nature Photography?
First, you need a good camera with a powerful lens. Figuring out the perfect type of lenses you require for a specific kind of photography can be challenging for newbies. Your goals may be quite different for particular shots too.
As we already mentioned, the gear type will depend on your specialization. So landscapers will prefer wide-angle lenses. If you plan to deal more professionally with the landscape nature photography, I would choose prime lenses. Useful are 14mm, 16mm, 20mm lenses from manufacturers of your camera body. Nowadays there are also third-party manufacturers producing top clas lenses as well as Sigma or Tamron. But I would prefer native lenses for your camera body. For Bird, but also for general wildlife photographers are vital the telephoto lenses. This kind of gear is quite expensive, so you have to decide whether to invest in such glasses.
The camera itself is a separate topic. But in my opinion not so important as the lenses. Today you can even choose between DSLR and Mirrorless. Suitable starting parameter is the size of the sensor, which should be at least 24Mpixels. A perfect feature in today’s mirrorless cameras is in-body stabilization that prevents your images from being shaky or blurry, primarily if you shoot just by hands and using slower shutter speed.
As a serious photographer, you will also require a camera bag to keep your camera. This bag can contain extra gears such as batteries, cards, and several lenses. It helps prevent dust and other harmful weather elements from damaging your camera. Especially in the case of mirrorless cameras, you will need more batteries because mirrorless cameras consume more energy, mainly due to using the EVF - Electronic viewfinder. On the other hand, mirrorless cameras are lighter comparing to traditional DSLRs.
A tripod is another accessory you can’t afford to miss, especially when venturing in remote locations. For such areas, never forget to wear appropriate shooting gear (warm jackets, hats, proper shoes, and gloves). These simple accessories may be the most vital wildlife photography tips for inexperienced newbies.
A good rock-solid tripod is a must for nature photographers. Just think about the situation you are shooting the sunset and even using the very fast lenses you have to set quite a slow shutter speed due to the low light conditions. Without a good tripod with a rigid ball head, you won’t be able to make a sharp image.
Finally, carry a good map and compass that will help you in navigating the terrain. Never rely on your phone's GPS as it can go off or get lost while in deep remote locations.
I would also mention great mobile apps that will help you to plan your shooting specifically to your location.
Lumos is a mobile app that allows you to find the sun or the moon. Even there is a cloudy sky.
You just move with your phone, and you can see the trajectory of the sun or the moon during the day or night. Additionally, you can plan what will be the position of the sun or moon in the coming hours so you can prepare in detail the composition of your image.
Photo Pills is another very complex app allowing you to plan many details for your shooting. For example, you can accurately plan when the gold hour starts and ends in the morning as well as in the evening. You can find there what is the current position of Milky Way in the night. Photo Pills helps you to calculate such detail like Exposure, Depth of field, Subject distance, Star trails. There is a very well designed and powerful Timelapse calculator.
Importance of Post Processing in Lightroom or Photoshop.
As a photographer, you have to take advantage of the power of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to enhance your pictures. There are also other manufacturers of editing software. I prefer products from Adobe.
I strongly suggest shooting in RAW format. If you want to achieve a really outstanding result, you should go for RAW and then apply the postprocessing workflow. You can use the Lightroom as well as Photoshop. Always think about the final image usage. Would you use it just for social media? Or do you plan to make a fine art large format print? Or you plan to sell the image to a stock agency? In each case, you should choose different approaches during the postprocessing workflow.
Are you a nature photography aficionado, or maybe an upcoming newbie? Well, we hope this post has helped you learn essential tips for improving your nature photography skills. I want to emphasize the importance of specialization here again as te nature photography has an extensive range application.
Don’t forget the main reason for taking nature photographs and it is our beautiful mother nature and does not forget to protect the environment.