5 Things to Avoid in Nature Photography

Guest Post from John Stuart, on behalf of Tusk Photo. Tusk Photo is a leading wildlife photography tours and safaris.

It falls short but it’s all you have.

Can images really show the beauty of wild animals or the colors of an African sunset? Exceptional photographs give you a glimpse of nature. But even these excellent images don’t show all that’s out there. We can simply try our best.

How do your photographs measure up against the original product? My skills started out mediocre. Looking at my images I often wondered what it was I tried to capture.

Luckily skills can improve. Though it will never be the real thing photographs remind me of special moments I experience surrounded by natural beauty.

By avoiding these mistakes I transformed the outcome of my photos.

1. Bad Backgrounds
Calm yourself.

I know you’re excited about the subject of your photograph. But the subject is surrounded with other features.

If you don’t take them into account you’ll regret it.

A busy background can attract attention. Whoever views the image may not even notice what you want him or her to see.
Make sure branches and grass don’t steal attention away from your subject. Because of positioning it may seem as if a branch is growing out of a lion’s ear. That’s not what you want people to focus on. Adjust your position or distance so your background complements the rest of the image.
2. Impatience
If you don’t have patience yet animals will help you discover it.

Wildlife models follow their own schedules and minds. You can’t tell them what to do.

Patience links with expectation. If you think you’ll capture the perfect image you’ll often be disappointed. The greatest photographers know it takes time.

You may have to camp out if you really want an exceptional photograph. Pitch your tent and wait for:

  • The perfect sunset
  • The animal feeding a baby
  • The animal being killed
  • The bird flying at an angle that gives you a great shot

Are you prepared for this much effort?

3. Lack of Respect
Humans have a responsibility to look after nature. Not all of us take up that responsibility.

As a photographer who uses natural spaces you should respect your outdoor office. Make sure you don’t leave residue such as litter or other garbage.

Your choices determine whether others can enjoy the same beauty in future.

4. Being too General
People won’t love a picture simply because it’s about nature. You have to show them why the image has value.

There are various techniques you can use

Your subject should be in the foreground or mid ground or it will get lost in the background detail.
Make sure the subject isn’t obscured by shade or the sun reflecting on the lens.
Try taking a photograph from a unique angle instead of eye level.
The Horizon
Many nature photographs incorporate horizons. How do these lines accentuate the pictures? Placing the horizon low communicates that the top part of the photograph is important. Is it? When large parts of a photograph is covered by sky it can seem a bit boring even if it’s beautiful.
Viewers want to know what captured you when you took the picture. Help them see what you saw.

Lack of Knowledge
Professional photographers study their subjects. It’s the only way to showcase the best features. This applies to children, food and buildings.

If you want exceptional wildlife photographs you must know what’s coming.

Animal behavior is unpredictable but you can learn traits and general features:

  • Which animals love sun bathing?
  • What time of the day do animals feed?
  • What trees attract the most birds?

These answers tell you where and when to sit & wait—yes patience—for the perfect shot.
This may also save your life. If you’re not accustomed to working with wildlife you may take too many risks. Wild animals’ unpredictability may result in dangerous situations.
Do you know:

  • What a safe distance is
  • How animals act when they’re frustrated
  • What they will do to protect their young

Make sure your lack of knowledge doesn’t bring harm to you or others.

What about Mobile Photos?

So you’re stuck in the perfect photographic moment. And you only have your Smartphone with you.

Be glad.

Today’s mobile devices are remarkable. Your Smartphone camera is probably strong enough to take excellent photos. You’re used to handling it. This familiarity already makes you a better photographer.

Remember these tips to improve your images even more:

Clean the Lens
Make sure the lens is clean. Smartphones are handled a lot. Don’t let oil or dust ruin an excellent photograph.

Remember to adjust your settings. Use high resolution and picture quality features.

Don’t be tempted to use your flash all the time. This flash is not as sophisticated as your normal camera’s. The Smartphone flash may alter colors instead of enhancing the image.

Now you can be a pro no matter what device is in your hand. Maybe your images will feature on an upcoming National Geographic cover.

John Stuart is a content marketer working alongside Tusk Photo, providers of incredible wildlife photography tours. Their tours are carefully created to ensure that keen wildlife photographers get the opportunity to photograph some of Earth’s rarest creatures.

You can follow Tusk Photo on their FaceBook and Twitter.

Here’s more amazing photos compliments of Tusk Photo.

Image Courtesy of © Tusk Photo

Image Courtesy of © Tusk Photo

Image Courtesy of © Tusk Photo

Image Courtesy of © Tusk Photo

Image Courtesy of © Tusk Photo

Image Courtesy of © Tusk Photo

Image Courtesy of © Tusk Photo

Image Courtesy of © Tusk Photo

Image Courtesy of © Tusk Photo

Image Courtesy of © Tusk Photo

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Cooper Neill

Great shots! Time to go find a place for a nice hike!

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