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10 Nature Photography Ideas to Get You Inspired

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photographer takng photos of nature

The ability to capture nature in all its glory is a true art form. It’s not hard to take nice pictures when you go on a hike or walk through the park. But to really capture nature, it takes practice and a photographer’s eye. 

Some people have a natural eye for capturing the perfect shot. In contrast, others need to learn different techniques and get ideas. Below we’ve compiled a list of 10 ideas to inspire you and a bit of information on the gear you’ll want to get started if you’re serious about nature photography.

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The 10 Nature Photography Ideas

1. Mountains and Valleys

Not much in nature can compete with the majesty of looming mountains and the valleys between them. There’s just something about capturing this vast expanse. If you have the budget, using a telephoto lens will allow you to capture a much longer distance and retain all the details. Take this picture for example, and notice how the photo captures the rolling peaks as far as the eye can see.

2. Leaves

Leaves are a classic piece of nature pictures. There is so much variety. Not only are there hundreds of species of trees with unique-looking leaves, but they also change throughout the year.

Looking for that perfect fall shot? The yellows, reds, and browns of the autumn leaves will capture that perfectly. Or, if you prefer the lush green of spring and summer pictures, catch the leaves after a fresh rainfall. This will offer some unique macro photography options.

3. Clouds

Another staple of the nature photographer’s toolkit is clouds. There are endless ways a cloud can look, and adding the factor of different lighting scenarios makes for some outstanding shots. The true test of taking pictures of clouds is being able to incorporate the rest of the landscape with it unless you’re trying to capture the clouds by themselves.

4. Man-Made in Nature

The fact is, humans have come along and added our footprint throughout nature. Depending on where you live, it can actually be a challenge to find somewhere that is untouched by us—at the very least, you might have a long drive.

Instead of focusing on keeping human invention out of it, try incorporating. Whether it’s a railroad track like this picture or you’re in a busy metropolis taking pictures of a flower that has forced its way through a crack in the sidewalk.

5. Different Times of Day

The same picture will look wildly different if captured at different times throughout the day. Take this incredible sunset scene, for example. If this picture was taken midday or even during a sunrise, you’d have different colors and lighting painting it.

Part of being an experienced photographer is knowing which times of the day will provide you with particular light or colors and being able to translate that into what will make a great picture.

6. Capture the Canopy

Sure, you can take pictures of leaves on the ground and capture a forest that spans for miles from a hill. But what about finding the thickest part of the trees you can and taking a shot up at the canopy?

Not only can you play with some really neat angles, but the dappled lighting through the treetops will give a unique look. Using a wide-angle lens for a shot like this will be a great way to capture everything. However, as you gain experience, you can experiment with different angles and lenses.

7. Add People to the Mix

Just because it’s a nature picture doesn’t mean that people can’t be a part of it. In fact, sometimes capturing an action shot can take a nice picture outside and turn it into a piece of art.

Take this picture, for example. Without the girl whipping her hair, this would have been a nice picture of a sunset over the water. But adding in the action shot of spraying water turns this into art that tells a story.

8. Capture Storms

There’s something about massive lightning storms that is both terrifying and beautiful. And capturing that one in a hundred shot of the sky lit up with electricity is amazing. Taking good pictures of storms takes some practice. Also, having higher-quality gear is important. For example, it’s basically impossible without a good tripod, and a manual adjustment option on the camera is also a must.

9. Nature at Night

Space photography is its own challenge, but capturing nature with the night sky is a treat for the eyes. To get pictures like this, you’ll need a camera with a very slow shutter speed to capture all the available light. You also need a stable tripod, so the camera doesn’t move through the process.

10. Macro Flowers

Pictures of flowers are rarely anything but beautiful. But with the rise of macro photography and high-quality macro lenses, some of the pictures that people can take are downright surreal.

Capturing all the tiny details of a flower adds another dimension to the finished result. Another type of prime candidate for macro pictures is bugs or insects. Being able to enlarge these small creatures is fantastic.

shutter camera dividerThings to Make Nature Photography Easier

If you want to take nature photography, you only need a device to take pictures. Whether that’s a cell phone or a camera, it doesn’t matter. However, if you want to take your game to the next level, some things will make it easier and allow you to capture higher-quality shots.

Here are a few things to step up your photography:

  • Editing software: Eventually, many people get to a level in their photography that they don’t need to edit very much. But when you’re first starting out, a good editing program on your computer or phone can help you turn mediocre pictures into incredible ones.
  • Good hiking gear: If you plan to explore for the best shots, you’ll want to invest in some good hiking gear. This includes things like comfortable hiking shoes, a good backpack, and breathable hiking clothes.
  • Weather-proof equipment: If the equipment can’t be weather-proof, at least keep it properly stored and invest in a raincoat for your camera to prevent water damage.
  • High-quality tripod: A sturdy tripod is almost a necessity for many types of nature photography. At the very least, it will make your life easier and increase the quality of your photographs.
  • Different lenses: There are certainly lenses that cover various types of photography. But having several different lenses like a macro or telephoto lens is useful. It allows you to try other things within the same scene. The downside is those good lenses are typically very expensive, so this is something you’ll get over time.
  • Extra batteries: There’s nothing worse than finally arriving at the destination you were planning on shooting after taking pictures along the way and realizing that your camera’s battery is dead. Batteries and memory cards are two things you can’t really have too many of.
male photographer using canon dslr

Image Credit: Samuel Rios, Unsplash

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Closing Thoughts

You don’t have to be a pro to take great pictures—some of the most incredible pictures floating around online were taken by cell phones. If you want to start, just start. If it turns out you’re passionate about the art or have a knack for it, you can always accumulate better gear over time.

Featured Image Credit: Jirasak JP, Shutterstock

About the Author Shea Cummings

Shea Cummings is a passionate content writer who believes that the power of words is immeasurable. He leverages years of experience in various trades such as carpentry, photography, and electrical to bring his articles to life. His goal is to provide his readers with information that delights and informs. When he's not writing you can find him spending time in the outdoors or playing some Minecraft on the Xbox with his wife and two sons.

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