Photography is a great hobby or profession to have, and whether you do it for fun or for work, it’s important that you learn how to take the best possible photos.
Different subjects require different camera settings, angles and lighting. Just because you’re great at taking pictures of your kids inside your home doesn’t mean you’ll be an expert at shooting moving objects outside. If you’re interested in taking nature and outdoors shots, it’s important that you use the following tips in order to photograph like a professional.
Learn about lighting.
When you’re taking outdoor photographs, you’ll rely heavily on the natural light provided by the sun. However, some people think that they’re supposed to take their outdoor pictures in direct sunlight, and this is untrue. Direct sunlight will actually wash out your pictures and make your subjects appear flat instead of dimensional. If you truly want to take great outdoor photos, it’s best to take them in partial sun or on overcast days. Plus, without the direct sun, you will also avoid any harsh shadows that may occur and leave your picture looking faded or even strange.
Don’t be afraid to use your flash.
That’s right. It is perfectly acceptable, and actually recommended, to use your flash outdoors. So many people fail to realize this because they think it’s only used for darker indoor photo shoots. The light from the flash will help to add necessary and useful light to your photos that will make your nature photos look fantastic.
Play around with your angles.
Stop standing so far away from your subjects. Instead, get up close and personal and take shots that are unusual. Don’t be afraid to stand above your subject or even below your subject, and don’t feel as if your subject matter always has to be in the center of your shot. If you really want to encompass all the nature has to offer, you have to be willing to take the unusual shots. After all, not everything in nature is best viewed from 20 feet away.
Experiment with your camera.
Most people will default to using the auto setting on their camera, and while this can help you get the hang of taking pictures, it’s not the best setting for your nature needs. Take the time to truly get to know your camera. Play around with different settings, and actually read the manual. The more information you can learn about your camera and the more you can fiddle around with it, the more you will learn about which settings to use to take the best pictures.
Know how to take pictures of objects in motion.
Capturing running water or a moving animal only works well if you know how to take pictures of motion. If you don’t, you’ll end up with blurry pictures. If you want to take professional nature pictures, you need to learn how to take pictures of objects in motion. Try to use a shutter speed of at least 1/250. Auto-focus can help ensure the object is constantly in focus as it moves. Using continuous drive mode can help to take rapid-fire shots. It’s also a good idea to leave a little bit of space at the front of your photo to give the feeling that the animal is moving.
Don’t be afraid to edit.
Even if you become a great nature photographer, you’re still allowed to enhance the quality of your photos. Don’t overlook using tools like Adobe Photoshop in order to help the colors of your photos pop or to edit the look and feel of the photo. Sometimes a little editing can go a long way, and there’s no harm in a little touch up.
Learn about the history of nature photography.
In order to be an expert, it’s a good idea to have some basic knowledge of your craft. Learning the history of nature photography can help you see different shots that photographers took throughout the years in order to have better examples of the shots you should be taking. You can also see how they took their shots, what settings and lighting they used, and even what worked and didn’t work. The more you know about your craft, the more educated you’ll be on taking professional quality shots of your own.
Jayma Watson is an amateur photographer, freelance writer and blogger who spends as much time as possible capturing nature at its best.