Photographers come in all ages and experience levels. Even if you’re just starting out, you can take better nature photos by following a few basic tips. Here are a few to try.
- Focus on the eyes. When you frame your image, make sure that the animal's eyes are in focus. They capture a viewer's attention.
- Include the environment. Try photographing the animal in its environment instead of just zooming in close. Show the surrounding area to tell a story about the animal's lifestyle.
An American bittern blends into its surroundings at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia. (Photo: Gabby Salazar)
- Find a fresh perspective. Be creative. Get up high. Crouch down low. Move around to find a new angle.
- Look for patterns. Challenge yourself to find interesting patterns in nature. Get up close to find beautiful shapes in the veins of a leaf or the bark of a tree.
- Reflect on this. When trying to capture reflections in a body of water, visit on a day with no wind so that the water is still. Try tossing a small pebble into the water to create ripples and other patterns in your image.
- See what others miss. When photographing flowers, find a blossom that has a resident such as a small crab spider or a group of aphids. Focus on parts of the flower such as the petals or leaves. Wake up early to find dew or frost covering flowers.
- Be respectful of wildlife. Never get too close to animals. If your presence changes an animal’s behavior, back away.
From the Author
When I was 12 years old, my father put a camera in my hands and took me to a friend's backyard bird garden.
The camera opened up a whole new world.
I could see the details in the feathers of the bluebird on the branch across the way. I found lovely shapes on the underside of a leaf. Suddenly, the outdoor world became a place of discovery and artistic wonder.
You don’t have to travel far to take great nature photos. Look for opportunities in your backyard or local refuge.