My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

Tips for Nature Photography – The Natural Way

Guest Post by: Sarah Scrafford

Trouble Bears
photo by mon@rch

If you’re an avid viewer of nature channels like the National Geographic and Animal Planet, you’re probably used to the sights and sounds of nature and wildlife in all their glory. You’ve probably seen them in their natural habitats, doing all the things that come naturally to them, not knowing or not caring that human eyes were being trained on them. And you’ve most probably wondered at the resilience and skill of the photographers and videographers who risked life and limb to bring you such beautiful images and videos. If you’re thinking of launching yourself as a nature photographer, here are the skills and attributes you need to possess:

Patience: This is one discipline where patience pays rich dividends. As a nature photographer, especially if you’re concerned with wildlife, you need to be extremely patient. Some photographers have been known to wait for days without making any large movements for their targets to behave in certain ways.

Speed: Wildlife photography and pictures that capture natural events like sunsets, cloudbursts, thunderstorms, typhoons, hurricanes, avalanches, landslides and furious seas are a success only when speed is involved. You need to move quickly and click furiously and accurately if you want to capture captivating photographs that translate what you’ve seen into timeless memories on paper.

Observation power: Nature photography is all about being in the right place at the right time. You need to be ready to shoot the moment the event you’ve been waiting for takes place. There are no action replays and retakes if you miss the first time round when it comes to photographing nature.

Technique: It doesn’t matter if you’re photographing still life or moving objects, you need the right technique either way. You need to know the best times of the day to capture the best natural lighting, and you need to be attuned to the vagaries of nature so that you don’t put yourself in harm’s way, especially when you’re shooting natural disasters and dangerous wildlife.

Care: Nature is extremely fickle, even when it’s at its best. You need to be extra careful when you’re in the wild or in the open with only your minimal crew and your camera for company. Stay in touch with the regular world so that you’re just a call away from help even if you’re under the high seas or on the tallest mountain slopes. It’s also best to visit remote and exotic locations with company rather than alone.

Equipment: Wildlife and nature photography require precision, skill, and speed, especially if you’re trying to capture the grace and beauty of moving targets with your camera. So make sure you invest in the right equipment and that all your gadgets are in working condition before you set out on a shoot.

This article was contributed by Sarah Scrafford, who regularly writes on the topic of Photography Colleges. She invites your questions, comments and freelancing job inquiries at her email address:

Sarah emailed me last week asking if I would be interested in a guest post . . . I thought she did a wonderful job on this post and appreciate the fact that she wanted to contribute something to the Mon@rch Nature Blog!

Thanks Sarah . . . . TOM

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10 responses

  1. Thanks, Sarah. Thanks, Tom.
    Sarah–great tips on getting good nature photos.
    Tom–once again, you are inspirational in helping to educate us all.
    And, the photo of the bear–wonderful. Ear tag and all.

    13 January 2009 at 7:39 pm

  2. Grace

    Isn’t this T-bone, the bear that stold the steak?

    13 January 2009 at 11:08 pm

  3. That’s a pretty bear. Great close up photo. Thanks Sarah for you tips.

    14 January 2009 at 2:46 am

  4. Marg

    Wonderful post Sarah!! and beautiful bear shot Tom 🙂

    14 January 2009 at 9:00 am

  5. Great post. I am thankful for the advice.

    14 January 2009 at 9:54 am

  6. Sherri

    Great post Sarah & Tom! I for one couldn’t manage the patience aspect – especially it meant laying in wait while being eaten alive by a variety of insects!

    14 January 2009 at 11:39 am

  7. Thanks for the tips. And yeah, I think you should also add in there experience. The person who has experience will be better off. 😀

    14 January 2009 at 12:36 pm

  8. Good post and helpful advice for all of us who aspire to be good nature photographers. Thanks to Sarah.

    14 January 2009 at 5:15 pm

  9. Thanks everyone and once again . . yes great job Sarah! Thanks for sharing this with everyone!

    14 January 2009 at 10:55 pm

  10. Great tips – and ‘Care’ has some special emphasis for me, as we’re heading to Arizona in late spring and will be out in the desert. Have to prepare for where you are going to be, too!

    25 January 2009 at 10:28 am

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