Updated: Nov 18, 2018
Taking photographs of interesting things in nature is a wonderfully mindful activity. It brings us into the moment as we use all of our senses to find interesting living things to snap. Plus it's an awesome reason to get children active outdoors, explore and to be creative!
As educators, we tend to ban the use to electronic devices, such as smart phones, in outdoor learning. And rightly so most of the time! But there are times when we can use devices, like cameras and smart phones, to our advantage. The reason is simple: children find it extra engaging when they’re allowed to use their devices for wholesome activities, such as nature photography.
So I've put together my Top 5 Nature Photography Tips for children and educators interested in exploring nature through the lens! Nowadays quality shots can easily be captured on a smart phone or a simple point and shoot camera, making photography more accessible than ever!
1. Think Outside the Box
Thinking creatively pays big in photography. Look carefully for interesting colors, textures and angles in nature. Frequently the best shots are of mundane objects taken using an intriguing angle, zoom or focus. Try close-up photographs, or angles which draw the eye deeper into the picture. The key is - just experiment - the perfect shot is only ever a simple click away, and sometimes the best shots can be found in the most unusual places!
2. Find Incredible Moments in Nature
Nature is full of amazing surprises for those of us prepared to watch and wait. So look around and find some incredible wildlife moments! Very often it's worth the wait. So whether you want to get that perfect shot of a bird feeding, or find some worker ants carrying a leaf 100 times their size, it pays to be patient and observant of what's going on!
3. Get Down & Dirty
Quite often photography newbies make the mistake of focusing shots at waist height or above only. However, that ignores everything that's going on by our feet! If I had a penny for every time I've found an incredible shot by getting down and dirty in the mud, I'd be a very wealthy guy! So don't be afraid to crawl around and explore shots close to the ground!
4. Focus On the Object of Interest
Sometimes the object of interest is far in the distance (e.g. woodland) and other times the focus is in the immediate foreground. Encourage children to play around with the camera focus and zoom. Obstacles in the foreground like leaves and trees can provide more depth to the photograph and make it a more exciting to shot.
Vice versa, sometimes bringing focus to an object in the foreground with a natural landscape set in the background can provide an attention-grabbing shot. This can work equally well and add greater depth to your snaps, especially for close-ups.
5. Rule of Thirds in Photography
Composition is how the elements in the photograph are arranged, and a good guideline for composition is the ‘rule of thirds’. The rule of thirds works by splitting an image into thirds both horizontally and vertically, so you end up with nine sections.
In many good landscape photographs, you'll see the photographer places the horizon in the top third of the photograph, while the landscape takes up the bottom two thirds of the shot. This composition is pleasing to the eye, as it replicates what we expect to see in nature and it’s a simple concept to explain visually to children.
And there we have it. My Top 5 Nature Photography Tips for getting children outside and in nature. Let’s get outside. Explore. And enjoy nature photography!
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