Random Ramblings

Learn With Me: Photography Week 4

So I now have under my belt, my beginner’s tips, and lessons on perspective and light. I think I’m starting to get a feel for it, and I’m certainly really enjoying it, so it’s time for a lesson in a favourite photography subject of mine, nature. And it’s over to the lovely Charly, atPODCast grappling with a box of frogs, for her top tips….

beginner's guide to nature shotsNature

More often than not photographs that capture a small part of nature are more impactful than showing everything. With the depth of field (distance between the nearest and furthest objects) dropping greatly the closer you get, it’s all about getting the balance right.

Which camera setting?

Photographs of flowers and foliage are best taken with your camera on a macro or close-up mode. Try to get out of the habit of having your camera on auto, it will improve your skills and make for better photographs. You can take great nature close-ups with a standard 18-55mm lens. If you’re without the macro or close-up settings, you should get as close as you can without distorting the image quality.

What about flash?

Personally I prefer natural light to flash which can have harsh effects on your subject. Flash does have its uses however so it’s good to experiment with. For example you can create striking images by backlighting leaves to highlight their veins or use it to help control shadows in full sunlight.

What’s your focal point?

Before you take a photograph consider what you want to capture. A less is more approach is almost always most effective. It might be a single flower, a leaf or a few berries rather than an entire bush.

Learn with me (focus) - PODcast IMG_4123

What makes it interesting?

Once you have your focal point, think about what would make an interesting photograph. It might be the colour or shape – in this case it’s a Lily loaded with pollen. It could just as easily be an icy leaf, a berry with a raindrop dripping off it or a bee on a flower.

Learn with me (interest) - PODcast IMG_3309

Where do you need to be?

You can change the appearance of a photograph depending on where you’re positioned. The shape of this flower made a better capture from the side. The background was also more preferable.

Learn with me (location) - PODcast IMG_5959

Think about completely changing your perspective. This photograph of a beautiful red Acer was taken by lying underneath it.

Learn with me (perspective) - PODcast IMG_9913

What’s in the background?

Consider what’s behind your subject. The best place to photograph this Foxglove was from below looking upwards. This meant capturing the detail of the flower and the blue sky above it. It was a great way to frame the image too.

Learn with me (background) - PODcast IMG_3219 edit

How many options do you need?

With digital cameras you can afford to experiment by taking multiple photographs of a single subject. Use continuous mode if you have it and take as many photographs as necessary. Keep snapping and it won’t take long to discover your preferred style.

Learn with me (options) - PODcast IMG_4087

How to enhance your photograph?

You might need to enhance your image to achieve the desired result. Photo editing programmes (such as Pic Monkey and Ribbet) are a great way to crop or sharpen an image or indeed alter the exposure. This image had to be cropped to ensure the focus remained on the butterflies rather than what was going on around them. You can see more butterfly photographs here.

Learn with me (image enhance) - PODcast IMG_5898

Top tip

Find subjects that interest you and practice photographing them before purchasing any new equipment. I found a standard 18-55mm lens stood me in good stead initially – it’s perfect for taking nature close-ups.

Last year my passion for macro photography led me to purchase a 60mm lens. Just because getting that little bit closer to nature absolutely fascinates me!

Learn with me (macro) - PODcast IMG_6507

Charly Dove is a marketing and new business consultancy founder, blogger and award-winning amateur photographer. She writes at PODcast grappling with a box of frogs – a lifestyle blog focused on photography, the best places to visit and family life. 

Thanks so much, Charly! Beautiful photos and fabulous tips. As my chosen photography project is my garden, this one should help!

As always, I invite you to share your learns, so feel free to link up any nature posts this week, take a look at others’, and I look forward to seeing them 🙂



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6 Comments

  1. Jenny February 12, 2014
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  2. Lynda February 12, 2014
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  3. MummaG February 12, 2014
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  4. Pingback: Taking photos of nature | Let's Talk Mommy February 14, 2014

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