Tips on Nature Photography
31 Dec 2012
Tip # 1 Preparation, If you're going to be shooting in the forest or a very rural area, tell someone where you will be and what time you expect to be back, also make sure you have permission from the land owner. I prefer a written permit signed and dated by the landowner, because even if the owner knows you have permission to be there, their neighbors won't. It sure is handy to have that signed permit to hand to the police officer!! Trust me on this. It is not safe to be out unless you have a few survival items in the gear bag such as bottled water, mosquito repellant, compass, and Swiss army knife.
Tip # 2 Turn off your cell phone! It is so frustrating to get a great shot set up on an animal and then your phone scares it away. Have it with you, just turn it off or to vibrate mode.
Tip # 3 Lighting, Sunny days are the best for shooting outdoors. Nothing can bring out the color like sunlight. When I am shooting on a sunny day I use the flash also, the more light you can get the better. It is very rare that I capture an awesome shot on a cloudy or overcast day.
Tip # 4 Have multiple lenses, as with anything the more tools you have with you, the many more shots you'll be able to capture. A wide-angle macro lens for flowers, and a zoom lens for a hawk for example.
Tip # 5 Experiment with camera modes, many cameras today have different modes for different situations, figure out what works best for you, you can delete bad images.
Tip # 6 Angle, I can't tell you how many times I tried something just because the thought entered my head and for it to pay off in the end. I have taken shots from ground level, from above and from every other conceivable place, and you'd be surprised at what brilliance unfolds!
Tip # 7 Natural settings, Try your best to capture subjects in their natural surroundings and without them being alerted to your presence. Telephoto lenses and camouflage can play a big role here.
Tip # 8 Maintaining a clean lens, Check your lens at least once per hour while out shooting and properly clean if necessary. I keep my little air blower bulb handy in a pocket at all times, remember you do not want to wipe your lens with your hand. Blow or brush debris away if possible, most smudges will need a micro fiber lens cloth.
Tip # 9 Don't use the screen, I find that I get better images using the viewfinder as opposed to the digital screen. (I don't know why?) This will also extend your camera's battery life quite a bit.
Tip # 10 Editing, Most of my editing is cropping, Use this to remove unwanted items such as telephone poles, power lines, trash or anything you do not want in the shot. Remember to keep your subject centered, as best as you can while removing other unwanted areas. Keep framing in mind while doing this. I also watermark my images to keep others from taking credit for my work.