portraits-6936.jpg

Photo by Scott Bourne

#1. Get off the couch. You can’t shoot nature photos indoors. You have to go outside. Don’t worry about waiting for the perfect moment. It will never come. Just go outside and find it. Don’t wait for it.

#2. Dress for success. If you plan to be outside, know what the weather is going to be like when and where you go, and then plan for contingencies. Always bring a spare pair of boots and socks in the car in case your feet get wet. Always have some minimal rain gear. Dress in layers and don’t forget sunscreen.

#3. Gear up for success. Nature photography is a contemplative artform, so bring a tripod to both slow yourself down, and to get steadier shots. Bring a level to make sure your horizons are in good shape. Bring lots of memory cards and backup gear. You never know when a body will fail. Have a spare. Also bring flash and/or reflectors and defusers.

#4. Avoid including the sky in your shots if it is gray or white.

#5. Tell a story. Don’t just set your tripod up at the first location you find and fire away. Approach your subject from several different angles, in different light and using different lenses.

#6. Go early and stay late. You’ve probably heard this before, but in case you haven’t, the best light is the hour around sunrise and sunset. If it looks good at 3:30 pm, it’s going to look great an hour before sunset. Wait.

#7. LUDA – Look Up, Look Down, Look All Around. Looking around and being aware of your surroundings will help you find shots you didn’t know you were capable of getting.

#8. Have a purpose. Don’t just go out shooting everything you see. Give yourself a project. Make sure you have a theme or a goal.

#9. Watch your horizons. Make sure you avoid putting the horizon dead center in your photos. Try to place the horizon in the top or lower third of the frame. Also watch out for merges. Make sure the horizon doesn’t merge with mountain tops, tree lines or other subjects in your photo.

#10. Look at lots of nature photos if you want to become a better nature photographer. Writers read to get better at writing and photographers study photos to get better at photography.

This post sponsored by Lensbabies.

Join the conversation! 34 Comments

  1. Scott!

    Your book made our list for “5 books every photographer should own.” Check it out: http://hyperphocal.com/?p=47.

    Also, great tips on nature photography! I love you guys, and it seems like every post/podcast is just more inspiration. I’ve never found nature photography super compelling, but after this I’m gonna have to give it a try.

  2. Scott!

    Your book made our list for “5 books every photographer should own.” Check it out: http://hyperphocal.com/?p=47.

    Also, great tips on nature photography! I love you guys, and it seems like every post/podcast is just more inspiration. I’ve never found nature photography super compelling, but after this I’m gonna have to give it a try.

  3. Great post. Fantastic image!! Where and when did you take that?

  4. Great post. Fantastic image!! Where and when did you take that?

  5. @Genuine 240 thanks – made this photo at Tipsoo Lake a few years ago on Mt. Rainier.

  6. @Genuine 240 thanks – made this photo at Tipsoo Lake a few years ago on Mt. Rainier.

  7. What an amazing shot, Scott!

  8. What an amazing shot, Scott!

  9. Some good info there and I really like that picture.

  10. Some good info there and I really like that picture.

  11. Great Top 10 Scott! I’d add – remember to close down your apperture a bit for DoF. If you want to bluer something, U always can in PS, it’s much harder to make it optically sharp.

  12. Great Top 10 Scott! I’d add – remember to close down your apperture a bit for DoF. If you want to bluer something, U always can in PS, it’s much harder to make it optically sharp.

  13. @sebcz that’s a good tip IF you want larger depth-of-field. There are lots of times when I am shooting nature that I do not.

  14. @sebcz that’s a good tip IF you want larger depth-of-field. There are lots of times when I am shooting nature that I do not.

  15. @Scott – of course! I was rather thinking of landscapes rather than general nature (animals and their surroundings for example – BTW – your stock photos are just amazing!). How many times I saw a good landscape photo which was simply unsharp in bothe foreground and background cause it was shot with f2.8…

  16. @Scott – of course! I was rather thinking of landscapes rather than general nature (animals and their surroundings for example – BTW – your stock photos are just amazing!). How many times I saw a good landscape photo which was simply unsharp in bothe foreground and background cause it was shot with f2.8…

  17. I think it’s also important to mention the use of portrait orientation shots as well, just as you have done here, Scott! It helps mix things up a bit and otherwise give a perhaps more pedestrian shot some added spice. (Admittedly, I’m a bit slack at this myself)

  18. I think it’s also important to mention the use of portrait orientation shots as well, just as you have done here, Scott! It helps mix things up a bit and otherwise give a perhaps more pedestrian shot some added spice. (Admittedly, I’m a bit slack at this myself)

  19. The best time to make a vertical is right after you make the horizontal!

  20. The best time to make a vertical is right after you make the horizontal!

  21. Great post here – I especially like #7: LUDA. A corollary to that is to go low, go high. The header image on my blog was the result of going low and then looking up at the sky “from the bugs perspective.”

  22. Great post here – I especially like #7: LUDA. A corollary to that is to go low, go high. The header image on my blog was the result of going low and then looking up at the sky “from the bugs perspective.”

  23. Great post! These type of simple yet to-the-point tips are really helpful. You should get everyone on the show to post tips for their own area of expertise.

  24. Great Tips, but I still could not shot a good nature shot if my life depended on it. A man’s got to know his limitations.

  25. Great Tips, but I still could not shot a good nature shot if my life depended on it. A man’s got to know his limitations.

  26. Scott,

    I like the mindset of getting away from the term landscape and portrait.

    After a quick Google image search for Tipsoo Lake, I found that almost all of the images were shot “landscape”. Your tip of taking a vertical right after a horizontal sure paid off!

    I have taken quite a few horizontal portrait’s and in the future will take more vertical landscapes.

    Ernie

  27. Scott,

    I like the mindset of getting away from the term landscape and portrait.

    After a quick Google image search for Tipsoo Lake, I found that almost all of the images were shot “landscape”. Your tip of taking a vertical right after a horizontal sure paid off!

    I have taken quite a few horizontal portrait’s and in the future will take more vertical landscapes.

    Ernie

  28. What a great image !!!

  29. What a great image !!!

  30. [...] Week in Photography has 10 Quick Nature Photography Tips and a Quick Tip on Using Digital [...]

  31. [...] Week in Photography has 10 Quick Nature Photography Tips and a Quick Tip on Using Digital [...]

  32. Awesome shot! The color is simply incredible.

  33. Awesome shot! The color is simply incredible.

  34. Some good Nature Photography advice!

Comments are closed.

Category

Shooting

Tags