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If you’re an aspiring nature photographer, you may have found it difficult composing interesting shots in lockdown over the past few weeks. But with social distancing restrictions easing, you can start to explore new locations; even if that just means your local neighbourhood, park, beach or a nearby patch of bushland. The beauty of these nature photography ideas is that you don’t need to travel far and wide to achieve them.
Sure, you probably still can’t go on a safari or photograph the wild Amazonian rainforest. But you can refine your nature photography skills closer to home, and on a much more affordable budget! The best part about nature photography is that it is so accessible, whether we’re photographing a single flower, a lone dragonfly or a bee buzzing through our backyard.
9 Inspiring Nature Photography Ideas
To get motivated and start exploring your local area, read on for our top creative nature photography ideas to inspire you and help you create some of your best shots!
1. Get equipped
The advantage of not leaving your backyard is that you don’t need to lug all your equipment with you. However, if you’re venturing to your neighbourhood or even further afield you might need to take a photographer’s pack with all the essentials.
Firstly, dress the part. If you’re going to be outdoors for a few hours, wear comfortable shoes, a hat, a spray jacket and don an outfit you can move in easily. Wear sunscreen or bring wet weather gear if the weather is looking like it could be wet.
A camera bag with extra batteries and memory cards is essential. A tripod can also help. Tripods are fairly affordable to purchase but will help enormously when it comes to perfecting your nature photography skills. Your tripod should be sturdy enough that it won’t get blown over by a light breeze but not so heavy that you’ll regret lugging it around everywhere.
Luckily, flowers are readily available in most local neighbourhoods. Experiment with different lighting conditions and different angles. Backlighting can create an interesting effect when photographing flowers, as this creates a three-dimensional effect for your flowers. The detail from the back of the flowers becomes obvious including the stems and veins of the flowers, giving added detail to the shot.
There are even flowers that can be found in the wintertime, or you can experiment by shooting seed pods or colourful berries; whatever catches your eye.
3. New rainfall
When we think about interesting nature photography ideas, our thoughts immediately turn to the exotic; large wild animals or dramatic landscapes. But smaller-scale nature photography gives you an opportunity to show off your creativity and sharpen your skills. Heading out just after the rain has fallen is a great time to shoot in nature.
Use a wide aperture to really focus in on the smallest raindrops sitting on a leaf, falling off a twig or clinging to a man-made object like a table. This will blur other erroneous details.
4. Photograph the stars
If you’re staying out of the city (or even if you’re not), you might be lucky enough to spot stars lighting up the night sky. If so, astrophotography is a beautiful form of nature photography and can make for some captivating photographs, especially with practice.
Although night photography is arguably of the more difficult nature photography ideas, with practice, you can sharpen your skills over time with practice and some patience. It can be difficult to achieve sharp.
5. Tree canopies and leaf litter
Another nature photography idea is to photograph tree canopies from below or leaf litter from above. Experiment with a variety of angles and take note of any interesting patterns you can create in nature. For instance, trees growing close together often push upwards to compete for the sunlight, creating some interesting shapes.
Try making one tree the sole focus of your shot, the same way you would in a portrait shot. Trees can also be used to frame a wider landscape shot looking out into the distance.
6. Experiment with sun haze and sun flare
Playing with different effects of the sun can make for interesting shots. The best part about this nature photography idea is that you don’t even need to leave your backyard! Experiment with the light at different times of day; sunrise, sunset and even when the sun is high in the afternoons. Try shooting with and without a lens hood for a different effect.
7. Try wildlife camera traps
If you haven’t yet experimented with wildlife camera traps, now is the time! If you have your own garden, you can set up a DSLR camera and record what happens in your garden at night. Once it’s all set up, all you need to do is keep changing the batteries and memory card, and stop to check the footage every now and then.
This way, you can capture some interesting footage without having to sit in front of a camera all night.
8. Time lapses
A time lapse can provide some incredible footage and is simple enough for anyone to shoot, no matter your level of expertise. A time lapse can even be shot from the windows inside the house.
Your time lapse could involve natural events like a thunderstorm rolling in or the solar system twinkling at night with planes flying by.
9. Crop cleverly
Never underestimate the power of the crop tool! Crop your nature photography shots closely to narrow down the focus according to what you’re trying to highlight. In nature, this could mean anything, from leaves on the forest floor to a hummingbird’s beak to the tiny detail on an insect’s wings.
For more advice on cropping, see our blog on cropping photos like a pro.
Once you have created your beautiful nature photography prints, why not turn one of them into a high-quality canvas print, metal or acrylic print? To get started, check out our range here and start the process of creating your prints.