How to Take Good Nature Pictures

VD July 07 2021

Taking nature pictures is one of the most rewarding areas in photography. Nature fascinates with its incredible beauty and uniqueness. In nature, the person relaxes and rests both body and soul. In this article, you will get the best tips for taking beautiful nature pfotos.

Finding nature pictures ideas

The variety of plants, insects, smells, and patterns can quickly overwhelm you as a photographer. There are just too many beautiful objects! Instead of running around hastily and changing the object every second, you should group the photos a bit if possible. Take care of a few plants first, then move on. Look for insects and try to photograph a bee sipping nectar. Stick to the insects a little longer and then move on to the next object.

As a human, you too are part of nature and have incredible abilities to absorb information through the eye. This is extremely helpful in nature photography! You can let your eye wander over the horizon and you will automatically perceive beautiful motifs. Your brain is trained on beautiful things and just ignores the rest.

How to photograph nature

Trust your eyes, not the camera sensor. Detach yourself from the viewfinder. You will practically automatically decide on a great subject and then always have enough time to determine the optimal image section through the viewfinder. Let the camera dangle from the belt and give yourself a few minutes, until everything has had an optimal effect on your brain.

But you must choose the right lens for a particular photo. Your lens should meet the following two requirements (if you are only traveling with one).

Focal length

In general, a lens with a long focal length is suitable. For example, this could be a zoom lens with a focal length range of 18-140 mm (if you tend to shoot more in the macro area) or a 55-200 mm, if you also want to photograph somewhat more distant subjects such as wild animals. Everything is open towards the top. If you want to photograph ibex in the mountains, then you need a super-telephoto zoom with focal lengths of up to 600 mm.

Light intensity / aperture

In nature photography, you want to achieve an abstraction between subject and background in many scenes. You surely know the pictures with a razor-sharp motif and a blurred background. More on that soon. The maximum aperture is important concerning the lens. The lower the f-number, the wider the aperture can be opened and the more abstraction from the background becomes possible. Another advantage of a low f-number is the high amount of light that can fall on the sensor in a short time. This means that you don't have to expose so long and you get razor-sharp nature images. A lens that allows at least f / 1.4, f / 1.8 or f / 2.0 is ideal.

Nature picture photography tips

Be it a plant or an animal, you will get better results in nature pictures if you study your subject in advance. Here some examples:

  • Flowers: what time of year or time of day does it bloom? What colors can you expect and how can the color of the flower be photographed optimally with the surroundings?
  • Animals: when do they sleep? When do they go to feeding places? Do you find them more at the edge of the forest or in the open? When is the rutting season or the highest population density?
  • Mountain landscape: how does the sun fall at a certain point? Does the top still have snow? At what time could you photograph a sun star in a valley? Are there ways to find out about the weather in the region or even avalanche warnings?

As you understand things better, you can take better, more specific nature pfotos accordingly. If you know the habits of the object, then you can also predict your nature pictures.

Nature photography backgrounds

We, humans, orient ourselves very much towards the requirements of nature. It inspires us in various ways. In architecture, in particular, we repeatedly find patterns and shapes that are directly derived from nature. Some of the most interesting subjects are right in front of your nose. If you're photographing nature, just zoom in (if you're using a prime lens, just take a step or two closer) and take a close-up shot. Here are a few things to look out for:

  • Forest floor
  • The skin of a lizard
  • Structure on a leaf
  • Tree bark
  • Mouse fur pattern
  • Arrangement of petals

You will see a whole new world is waiting for you if you just take a closer look.

When taking nature pictures, try to capture everything in the picture in its natural setting. As the name “nature photography” suggests, this note is of fundamental importance. There is nothing wrong with just walking out of the house for a moment, walking across the street, and taking a picture of a bird on the power line. But this is not exactly nature photography.

Nature photo filters

To get the best possible nature pictures, you can use two filters in landscape photography.

  • Polarizing filters darken the sky and thus emphasize the blue tones in contrast to the white of the clouds.
  • Neutral density (ND) filters prevent too much light from entering the camera. This is useful on bright days when your camera does not allow long exposure times. You can also use it to photograph great effects such as gentle, flowing water. 

The right nature photography equipment

What camera equipment (besides camera and lenses) will help you make nature pfotos?

  • Tripod: Do you cover a long-distance or even climb a mountain? Today there are such light travel tripods that you hardly notice the weight. I always have mine with me, no matter where I go!
  • Backpack: Taking photos with a camera bag, memory cards, batteries, and lenses in a backpack is child's play. This is the absolute basic equipment.
  • Map and compass - you may not always have cell phone reception.
  • Clothing: As a wildlife photographer, you don't have to win a beauty award. But it should be practical and suitable for all weather conditions. So always plan ahead. Headgear, gloves (specially designed for photographers), and a variety of shoes could come in very handy; use old clothes as well. You shouldn't have to hesitate when it comes to throwing yourself in the dirt for a great snap!
  • A lens hood can be a great way to avoid glare in photos.
  • A plastic bag that you can pull over the camera when it rains.

And the most important tip - respect nature. You don't have to be a tree digger. But the protection of nature is always the top priority. No picture is worth destroying nature. Tearing out a flower or flattening the ground for a top position nature pictures are no-gos.

How To Take Amazing Photos: 7 Simple & Powerful Photography Tips


Taking good nature pfotos is not as easy as it seems. Experienced nature photographers can spend hours and even days planning for and taking the perfect shot. Use these tips to make stunning nature pictures.