5 Tips for Taking Beautiful Photos of Nature

5 Tips for Taking Beautiful Photos of Nature

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An example of taking beautiful photos of nature

Nature photography encompasses a wide range of photos taken outdoors, and conveys natural elements such as landscapes, wildlife, plants, trees and flowers.

Whether you’re photographing sweeping natural scenes or close-ups of flowers, nature photography can be incredibly rewarding. Here are five tips for taking beautiful photographs of nature.

Focus on the foreground

Being out in nature can be incredibly rewarding. And not just for photography. The fresh air, the scenery, and the experience itself are all great incentives to head outdoors with your camera.

An example of taking beautiful photos of nature

When capturing beautiful scenes in nature, your picture can benefit from a bit of foreground interest. When you find a magical landscape to photograph, do it some justice by including something interesting in the foreground. I see many nature photos showing empty landscapes and skies without any consideration for the foreground.

Don’t get me wrong. Nature images can look great with an atmospheric sky and inviting view. But adding a foreground will help make your image stand out. Throw in a rock or some flowers to your image, and the photo becomes much more striking. In this nature photo I included some dandelions in the foreground to accentuate the scene.

 

Balance the photo

An example of taking beautiful photos of nature

Have you ever taken photos in nature and been disappointed with the images you produced? Returning from a photography outing with images that please you can be a challenge. So my next tip is to make your photos more balanced. Capture images of nature with careful consideration of what you include in the frame, and balance all of those elements.

For example, you maybe able to bring certain parts of the landscape together to improve your image, such as trees and mist. When you’re shooting outdoors, what things can you identify that would make a visually pleasing image?

An example of taking beautiful photos of nature

 

Use the right gear

Depending on the subject you’re photographing, it’s important to choose the right gear to get the best out of your images. Close-ups of insects or flowers would be best suited to a macro lens, which lets you get nearer to your subject. When faced with a wide vista, use a wide-angle lens to record a greater field of view.

On the other hand, if you’re shooting wildlife, telephoto and zoom lenses are usually the best option as they can help you zoom in closer to your subject. These aren’t hard and fast rules, but rather suggestions on what generally works regarding lens choice.

For example, if you’re photographing animals in a zoo, a wide-angle lens may be better than a telephoto lens if you want to capture more of the scene than just the animal, or if you’re positioned close to them.

An example of taking beautiful photos of nature

Capture different seasons

The advantage of nature photography is it can be done at any time during the year and in different seasons. Summer is a great time to document lush landscapes and green foliage when everything is in full bloom, whereas spring and autumn can provide blooming flowers, cooler climates, atmospheric weather and the occasional mist. The added benefit of autumn is the change in colours of autumn foliage, giving you opportunities for vibrant photos.

An example of taking beautiful photos of nature

Winter is another wonderful time to capture the brilliance of nature. While it can be harsh and cold, it can also be strikingly beautiful. A sprinkling of snow can look good in any nature photo.

An example of taking beautiful photos of nature

Snow can add contrast in landscape vistas. For example, the snow in this scene helps the dark silhouetted tree stand out. I also find that snow-capped mountains are wonderful subjects to photograph during the winter season.

 

Make the most of your natural surroundings

You don’t have to live in a beautiful and remote location to find amazing subjects of nature. You’ll find an abundance of things waiting to be photographed in your local area. I took this photograph five minutes from my home. Go outside and explore your own surroundings, and take photos in the best natural places close to home.

An example of taking beautiful photos of nature

 

Conclusion

Capturing photos of nature can be truly rewarding, and a great opportunity to be photographing outdoors.

Whether you’re a landscape photographer or prefer to shoot plants or wildlife, try putting these tips into practice. And feel free share your images and any other comments or tips below.

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

Jeremy Flint is a UK based award winning travel and landscape photographer, known for documenting images of beautiful destinations, cultures and communities from around the world. He recently won the Association of Photographers Discovery Award 2017 and the Grand Prize in the 2016 National Geographic Traveller and F11 Your Vision competitions. His pictures are represented by 4Corners images and have been featured in National Geographic Traveller, Outdoor Photography, Digital SLR Photography and national newspapers.

  • roger Andout

    Lovely photos, no doubt, but little on the technical details. Of little use to this reader as it didn’t further my knowledge.

  • Jeremy Peter Flint

    Hi Roger, thanks for your comments, glad you like the images. This article provides suggestions to improve your nature photography and is more of an inspiration based article rather than technical. Thanks, Jeremy

  • John Sharples

    Hi Jeremy.
    The photos are fine but shots 1 – 6 – 7 & 8 are not “nature” shots as they all rely heavily on man made subjects. The rows of flowers, the delineated fields and the tractor treads are all man made, therefore not “nature”. These are quite lovely “landscapes”.

  • Crunch Hardtack

    Hi Jeremy, beautiful photography!
    But I must agree with Roger that it lacks in technical details. After all, the name of this site is Digital Photography School, not Digital Photography Inspiration.

  • Simon

    John, are you saying that humans aren’t part of nature? That they evolved separately from nature?

  • Lee

    What an odd comment. I think you need to look up the difference between nature and natural.

  • John Sharples

    Wih all due respect Simon, I suggest you read this definition of nature photography from the Photographic Society of America. This definition is accepted in most parts of the world, including the UK. https://psa-photo.org/index.php?nature-nature-definition and I did say “man made subjects”. According to the definition humans and human elements are not acceptable in a “nature” photograph.

  • David Gee

    The photographic Society of America is not the arbiter for dps content. I thought it was a most helpful article. It was not intended to be about technical details, but compositional skills – we get too hung up about this. The article was intended to help enthusiast photographers of which I hope to count myself among their number. It was most useful and thought provoking and not aided by pedantic comments about rows of flowers, tractor treads or lack of technical details. Why is it that some articles in dps bring pedants out of the woodwork? I recall the pointless debates about ISO 6 months or so ago.

  • sheila wood

    I take on board what others are saying re the technical detail, but sometimes a little bit of inspiration goes an awful long way – So thank you – they are truly lovely photographs, and speaking for myself, very inspiring.

  • Mark Miller

    In support of Jeremy, if you want technical, read a book, or your manual. If you want to learn photography, get out and take pictures. Learning other people’s settings will do nothing to further your own style.

  • Mark Miller

    First of all professor, the title of the article was “5 Tips for Taking Beautiful Photos of Nature”, not “5 Tips for Taking Beautiful Nature Photographs. And, honestly, I could care less what any photography society has to say, including, and especially the UK.

  • elle

    Jeremy, Thank YOU, I was “most inspired” by the sunlight in all your outdoor photos. Wow, I don’t know how I said that without mentioning the word: NATURE! (literally) 😉

  • Mark Miller

    Sorry if I hurt your feelings Crunch. I wasn’t trying to make it about you. I just feel that the article was more about smelling the roses, than their chemical composition.

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