Nature Photography – Tips and Tricks: How many of us have secretly yearned to have a picture printed in National Geographic magazine? Or wished to see our names in the credit line of a stunning image of a stark mountain range, or a candid picture of a tiger stalking its prey? Nature photography has infinite appeal, even to the amateur photographer, but it takes a very skilled and patient person to make a name in this field.
It might take only a moment to click a special picture, but that moment only comes after hours of waiting, crouching down in unsatisfactory conditions, or fighting your way into unfriendly territory. It’s not easy to be a nature or wildlife photographer, and a committed one will win the respect of the entire profession.
Time is of the essence in nature and wildlife photography. A good photographer has to be completely prepared before he sets off for a shoot, ensuring that all equipment is in working order. While he might have to wait hours for a perfect shot, the opportunity for a great shot might suddenly present itself, and he can’t waste precious seconds fiddling with his equipment. In a candid shot there is no room for error and no second chances. No chimpanzee is going to redo his swinging act for you, and if you tarry too long, chances are you might end up as prey for your subject. However, the thrill of capturing a once-in-a-lifetime shot is hard to beat and more than makes up for the interminable time spent in freezing rain or scorching heat.
A nature photographer has to abide by one simple rule to do no harm to his subject, be it an animal or landscape. Experienced nature photographers recommend that to take an exceptional picture, you must be able to feel some emotion for the landscape. A dispassionate photographer will never be able to take a picture that talks to the viewer. Drama is a prerequisite for creative landscape photography: A picture must tell a story.
While books and magazines are a good source of learning, the best way to improve your photography skills is to take more pictures and experiment with lighting and lenses. Beginners can hone their skills in areas where animals are used to humans, such as zoos and national parks. You don’t want to set yourself as bait for wild animals unless you know your way around a camera, and are really quick on your feet!
Tips for Nature Photography
1: Use Your Zoom – Don’t scare away animals – use your digital camera’s optical zoom to record detail.
2: Snap Quickly and Often – Snap plenty of digital photos to compensate for random animal movements.
3: Show Some Patience – The best things come to those who wait.
4: Use a Fast Shutter Speed – Compensate for fast animal movements with your digital camera settings.
5: Avoid Flash – Avoid flash with your digital camera whenever possible to keep animals from getting startled.
6: Don’t Smell! – Odors can give away your presence to animals, making digital photography more difficult.
7: Disable All Camera Sounds – Even the slightest beep produced by your digital camera may scare away wildlife.
8: Don’t Let Perfectionism Keep you from Shooting Any Photos – Don’t let the “rule of thirds” stifle your digital animal photography.
9: Don’t Just Focus on Animals at a Zoo – Digital photos of peoples’ interactions with animals can help tell a story.
10: Don’t Be Afraid of Blurring – When up against the right backdrop, a blurred animal might help make an attractive digital photo.
11: Talk to a Park Ranger – Looking to take digital photos of animals in national parks and wildlife reserves? Don’t neglect park rangers as valuable source of information on animal behavior.
12: Shoot at Different Angles – Varying the angles of your animal and wildlife photos can create interesting effects.