“In photography, there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.”
– Alfred Stieglitz, American photographer
Photography is, by and large, a genuine reflection of the world that we live in. It captures moments, inspires imagination, preserves memories, and helps document life’s journey in an extremely engaging, aesthetic, and purposeful way. Both an art and a science, photography offers a considerable amount of influence and visibility to those who possess artistic knowledge and creative vision.
Although there are numerous forms of photography currently being practiced across the world, the one type that has gained the most prominence is – nature photography.
What Is Nature Photography?
Nature photography is essentially a subset of regular photography which primarily deals with capturing the beauty of natural elements in their original setting. These elements may include wildlife, flora, landscapes, gardens, water-bodies, weather phenomenon or any other natural scenes clicked in their native environment. Nature photography provides people with a unique opportunity to explore the natural world in its most primitive and wholesome form while helping them enhance their photographic skills.
As a budding photographer, if you want to learn the intricate details of this widely revered discipline, here are a few ideas and tips to help you click amazing nature photos –
1. Pick a Good Camera
In the earlier days, it was often believed that clicking nature photos without a DSLR was impossible. This is to say that possessing a DSLR was simply a must if you intended to click the best nature photos. However, with changing times, every feature that made DSLRs stand out is now available in regular Android or iOS devices.
Therefore, if you are carrying any device which provides features like optic zooming, small apertures, and dual lenses, you don’t have to worry about picking a good camera. You can start with whatever you have in hand!
2. Gather Proper Gear
As the locations for nature photography are almost always outdoors, it is imperative to gather the proper gear before venturing into a sea of unknown. You obviously need to carry the necessary equipment like memory cards, camera batteries, camera bag, tripods, and lenses. N onetheless, this is not the only gear that you can rely on.
You will also need to carry different sets of camouflage clothing so that you can easily blend into the environment, without scaring away your subject. Also, remember to get a map or compass for tracing your way around the habitat.
3. Shoot in Natural Light
The best nature photos always tend to be shot in natural light. Light from natural sources like the sun or moon possesses a rare, atmospheric quality and lends a deep emotional overlay to your pictures. This type of light is softer and more illuminating as compared to its harsher, artificial counterparts. But this does not mean that you can click nature photos anytime during the day!
The best time to click amazing nature photos is either sunrise or sunset. This is because, during these times, natural light is quite even and balanced. As a result, your photographs will turn out to be brighter and sharper.
4. Use a Long Lens
In generic photography, the use of a lens entirely depends upon the type of shot being planned. But when it comes to nature photography, it is only a long lens that can give you the best results. A long lens, with its large focal length, an incredible zoom feature, and a wide aperture can indeed help you capture some amazing nature photos.
This is because a long lens keeps its focus on subjects in the distance, thus allowing you to capture animals, landscapes, water bodies, sunsets or sunrises in a clear and precise way.
5. Have an Eye for Detail
Nature, unfurled in its full glory, consists of many colors, temperatures, patterns, sights, and sounds. It hosts subjects in almost every corner, thereby turning its very existence into a nature photographer’s delight! However, in order to identify and capture such moments, a nature photographer needs to possess a keen eye for detail.
In fact, the best nature photos are taken by people who are quick on their feet. They use magnification as a tool to enhance a shot’s details, as a result of which the quality of their images remains sharp and distinct.
6. Understand Your Subject
One of the biggest assets that a good nature photographer can possess is a deep understanding of the subjects in question. For example, knowing when a lion would approach a pond to drink water or when a plant would awaken in full bloom can prove to be quintessential for capturing their natural essence.
In other words, knowing a subject, its habits, movements, and quirks can easily help you click the best nature photos.
7. Keep the Setting Natural
Nature photography, as a primordial rule, should always be undertaken in a natural setting. Although you can juxtapose elements of man-made structures to make a point, it is much wiser to keep the context as natural as possible.
This is because nature photos, in their original settings, make a remarkably powerful impact. When shot in its cradle, even a simple leaf can stand out of the crowd.
8. Experiment With Perspectives
The best nature photos are usually clicked with the most unconventional perspectives. Therefore, as a budding nature photographer, do not limit yourself to the already tried and tested angles or shots. Experiment with a wide variety of perspectives instead. Swim against the regular flow and develop your own nature photography style. Coordinate colors, shoot wide angles, or just indulge in something different for a unique style of photography.
9. Separate Foreground From Background
While you are free to choose a specific nature photography style for yourself, it would be smart to go for pictures where the foreground is separated from the background. The distance between both these elements and their placement with regard to each other will add innovative value to the overall tonality of your picture. More so, your subject will become more prominent, and your photo will gain better visibility.
10. Respect the Environment
Last but not least, as a nature photographer, it is your primary responsibility to respect the environment that you are shooting in. Nature doesn’t just need to be captured – it also needs to be preserved. Make sure that you carry only biodegradable items with you. Leave nothing in the pristine area but your footprints. The more sensitivity that you treat nature with, the more amazing nature photos you will be able to click.
The Way Forward
As per a recent estimate, nature photographers across the globe are clicking about 1.2 trillion photos with each passing year. This means that nature photography is slowly beginning to breach the boundaries of aesthetics and is starting to enter the domain of vocation.
In the future too, nature photography is expected to serve as a medium of gaining fame, developing credibility and generating income. It is also likely to find a wide-ranging audience worldwide, that appreciates the basic tenets of well-clicked nature photos.
In case you want to know more about nature photography and its various professional aspects, you can register for Shaw Academy’s comprehensive photography course. This course won’t just help you capture the best natural photographic visuals, but it will also enable you to unleash your full creative potential.
So, what are you waiting for? Enroll here and explore the limitless possibilities of nature photography now!