Nature photographer Gabby Salazar became a shutter bug at age 12 after her father gave her a camera. She has since traveled throughout the world to take photos. She passes along these tips to youngsters.
- 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.
- 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.
About the Author
Gabby Salazar is a conservation photographer and social scientist based in Florida. In 2021 she was recognized by the North American Nature Photography Association as the Emerging Photographer of the Year.