Nature photography is a wide range of the photography industry, focusing on pictures taken outdoors. Devoting time to displaying natural elements such as landscapes, wildlife, plants etc . There is a grey area between this and the fields of wildlife, underwater , botanical and other types of photography. In this article we will discuss why it is such an enticing career choice. We will then go on to things you should keep in mind if you want to do nature photography.
Some of the reasons people pursue nature photography as a career
Nature photography is a very popular field. That’s no surprise, it gets you outdoors and seeing our planet in a way that others don’t. Other perks are:
- the street cred of being published in nature, wildlife and travel magazines
- traveling to remote and exotic locations to take pictures
- adrenaline of having to do extreme activities like mountain climbing, scuba-diving and hiking to get to the photograph locations
- to address environmental issues by using their pictures to tell important stories that can only be truly appreciated visually
- an over all love for animals and the great outdoors
Lets look at some of the most important things to keep in mind if you are looking at a career in nature photography.
Ethics is the cornerstone of a career in nature photography
Don’t make an animal angry or scared
Don’t get too close, make sure both you and the animal have an escape route.
Learn about your subject BEFORE you go out and shoot
Familiarize yourself with the signs of distress in an animal. I like to use the example of a puffer fish. Many photographers will get up close to one to capture this fish inflated -but its a sign of distress!
Don’t leave behind any litter
Passion is important
You have to stand out
You have to be brave
Storytelling is your main job in nature photography
.. and planning that story is important
Persistence is key
Some not so obvious tips in nature photography from NatGeo
Learn to appreciate overcast days. Their diffused light can make for increased color saturation in your images. Raking angles of early or late sun usually reveal texture
When photographing birds, try for a natural background without man-made objects. Game animals blend into the landscape, so be careful about your background. Wait to shoot a deer, for example, until it is outlined against the sky or a distant light-colored field. The best lens for bird photography is a telephoto with a focal length of 400mm or greater. A 70mm-to-300mm zoom works well for birds that can be approached closely.
When you decide what makes you want to photograph a place, think of adjectives to describe it—and include a detail in your photograph that conveys that adjective.
Use a shallow depth of field when photographing wildlife for close-ups to blur out background distractions
Be sure to watch your step when photographing wildflowers. Some of your subjects may be endangered species. Never uproot or cut wildflowers, and be careful not to trample the plants.
When photographing details, try different angles—above, below, from the side—to find the most interesting composition. Don’t meter the sky. It’s usually bright and will cause you to underexpose the rest of the scene.
Take advantage of sunsets when photographing wildflowers. The soft, golden light will make a meadow of wildflowers glow.
If there is lightning in the scene, you’ll have to be patient as well as lucky: You never know where lightning is going to strike.
When photographing plants, look for a mass of them to add drama.
Nature photography is a dream career for many and with a little persistence, patience, passion, professionalism and pure heart you can most certainly make a living off of it.
What nature photographs are you most excited to take? Personally, Macro photos that show lots of detail in tiny spiders are my favorite. If you are considering a career in nature photography then check out our wildlife and travel photography program. It’s a great place to start because you leave with a fantastic portfolio of work that you can use to make a name for yourself.
Feel free to discuss nature photography in the comments below. I love to hear your different perspectives. Also, if you have any questions that you think I could help with let me know. I’m always happy to help where I can.
Have a happy day!
Blogger Profile - Robyn Green
Robyn brings with her a serious passion for people and animals alike. She also teaches a workshop called Social Media and the Independent artist. The workshop is aimed at helping freelance photographers, writers and film makers build their online presence.