#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.
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