Nature photography is one of the most common forms of photography out there today and in this article, I’m going to give you tips for creating more compelling nature photography…
Perhaps some of the charm and pull of nature photography has to do with the fact that it is free, easily accessible (depending on where you are), and there is never a shortage of subject matter, light or even creative framing – all elements that contribute to a stellar photo.
Nature photography doesn’t have to be boring or mundane. Nor is nature photography only images of dramatic landscapes in exotic faraway locations. Even your house plant or tree in your backyard can become compelling nature photography if done correctly. There are a few things you can do to take your nature photography from boring to amazing.
Focus on the subject
Look at any photography course, cheat sheet, or guide. It will talk about the importance of your subject as it relates to the overall image. The subject is everything. A subject can make or break an image, and I don’t say that to just sound dramatic.
Some photos have so much going on that we are confused about the message. On the flip side, some images use a shallow depth of field to focus on one element, yet nothing else gives context to what is going on in the image. We are often left wondering what the intention of the image is.
Don’t let that happen to you. Focus on the subject based on what story you are looking to tell. Ask yourself if the subject helps or distracts from that story.
If you want to photograph a tree in your backyard in the Fall, wait until all the leaves turn a bright red color to complement the story of fall colors. If you want to photograph a landscape at golden hour, figure out the direction of the sunset and watch the weather to see if conditions are right for a dramatic golden hour and sunset.
Understand what you are photographing and the story you want to tell. This will help you conduct the right kind of research needed for executing your shoot and the results you want.
Understand the light you are working with
If there is one thing I would shout from the rooftops as it relates to photography, it is about the importance of light in photography.
There is no such thing as bad lighting. Lighting is just different at different times of the day.
Not all lighting is the same in terms of quality of light. Light is just different at different times of the day. Sometimes the light is perfect – that warm, soft glow that translates beautifully in pictures. Other times, the lighting is harsh and strong. I wouldn’t say that type of lighting is always bad – it is just not the same every time.