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Nature Photography 2

Monday, January 18th, 2010 by | Filed Under: Digital Photography

To get all your nature photographs right all you need is patience, perspective and a clear idea of what you want to convey to the viewer. Follow these simple tips and then you’ll have no looking back!

Draw the picture:
Lines, contours, shades, shadows, scale, symmetry, depth, brightness, patterns and balance are all factors that constitute the quality of your picture. If your message is unclear and your frame has too many stray elements, then the purpose is not served. Click such that your viewer will keep wanting to come back to the photo and getting the message. And that the message is never forgotten.


Keep it lucid:
A simple photograph says a lot more than one with too many subjects. Keep the snap simple and have a single strong composition in the photo. Go for the ‘subtractive’ approach rather than the ‘additive’ one. Analyze what you can remove from the photograph to keep it more objective. This is the subtractive approach. Capture a flock of birds, a meadow of sunflowers, or a setting sun and a tree. Squeeze and clutter unnecessary elements into your frame and you will trouble the composition. Turn a poor composition into a good one by fine-tuning with the viewfinder; settle with the subject and move the camera up, down, left or right with simplicity as the goal. This way you can turn even a barren or uninteresting landscape into blue skies, rocks, and shadows!


Stay Unruffled:
A photo that is clicked in haste is markedly distinct from that clicked after waiting for at least ten minutes. Patience does pay off. When you are photographing in the wild, be quick in clicking before you miss the subject or the characteristics of it. But in nature, the subjects change only slowly. Slow down your shoot and experience a meditative feel while focussing and also, improve your skills by thinking before shooting away. You’ll see the difference.

Use up your frame:
Does a painter leave any space on his canvas blank? You got the idea! Don’t leave any field blank in your photo. Make sure you fill up the frame completely. View the frame through the viewfinder and fill up the space. Get closer to the subject and cut out the stray elements hence strengthening your composition.

Use the lines:
There are lines everywhere when you place your camera and look through it. Use these lines by placing them judiciously and enhance your photograph. The lines may be diagonal, leading or curved. While horizontal and vertical lines have a static appearance in photos, it is the diagonal and curved lines that enliven them. Horizontal and vertical lines give a frame to the photo and create visual boundaries in the image.


Find leading lines in landscape such as riverbanks and borders between field, forest, and fallen trees. A leading line draws the attention of the viewer by taking it to the subject linking the foreground and background to give depth and continuity. It is the curved lines that add an aesthetic appeal to the photo. S-curves are particularly appealing. See them in winding rivers, curled tree branches, sinuous vines, swirling clouds, and slithering snakes.

Shift the subject off the center:

It is a habit to place the subject of a photo right at the center of the frame. Do this and your photo will appear rather static and might end up looking like a run-of-the-mill studio portrait. Place the subject away at the side of the frame by making use of the ‘rule of thirds’. The objective of this rule is to diversity your compositions by consciously positioning your photo subjects away from the center.

Do more verticals:

We tend to catch more horizontal frames than vertical and our snaps are more rectangular than square simply because the length of a frame of a 35 mm film is 50% more than its width. Look at it after slightly modifying your own perspective and you will see that there are several vertical elements around you like rivers, trees, and mountains; simply modify the elements that appear horizontal to you and you can see them as vertical. Stand high on a bridge and look at the river, it will appear vertical. Photograph a single flower, and its stem will be a vertical element. Choose the axis depending upon your subject. Best of luck!

~Zahid Javali

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