How To Nature Portraits

Octagon Soft Box Nature Photography Guide

Waterfall

Hello Everyone.

I have been taking pictures for a while now and decided I would change things up a bit from the regular exhibition and portrayal of my work. Instead I thought I would provide a bit of insight as to how I go about creating my images. This How to Guide for nature Portraits will show exactly how I go about choosing where, what and why I shoot what I shoot. So, buckle up and get ready for an awesome quick guide about How to Create Great Nature Portraits.

Nature Photography GuideThis quick guide will cover 3 specific aspects of Nature Portrait Photography; Location, Equipment and Camera Settings.

Nikon D7000A photographers camera setting determine nearly everything about the shoot. This is not an in depth How to guide so I will not be covering several important settings such as shooting RAW, light metering and focal length. This will come in a later guide. To start, lets talk about sunlight.  Locations with to much light will cause subjects to squint and force lowers ISO settings along with increased shutter speeds. Depending on the type of photo you wish to create, this can be productive or harmful.

Shoot 1 Nature Photography Guide Lower ISO reduce grain in photos and higher shutter speeds help freeze motion. Locations with decreased light will force users to increase their ISO and lower their cameras shutter speed. These setting allow more light into the camera but can also force subject to hold a pose for longer. Incorporating a flash into the shoot offers photographers a change to completely redefine the image being captured. More about flash photography will be touched on in a later post. Another very important aspect of Nature Portraits is the consideration of lens aperture.

ApertureAperture setting or F-stop settings are counter intuitive. This means the smaller the F-stop the larger the amount of light let into the camera. The larger the F-stop number the smaller the amount of light permitted into the camera.  (100) and a shutter speed of 60th of second. Anything below a 50th of second becomes difficult to hand shoot. This means you will likely need a tripod or mono-pod.

Location Nature Photography GuideNext up is location. Every photographer knows that a location can make or break a shoot. In general, locations offering picturesque backdrops and vibrant colors can create some of the most beautiful shots. Locations can either accent a subjects natural attributes or dull the shots overall view. When searching for a location, I consider the popularity of the location along with the amount of areas offering shade and a scenic backdrop. As mentioned earlier. shooting in direct sunlight is general difficult and time consuming.

In the Falls Nature Photography GuideShaded areas offer more flexibility to both the photographer and the subject. Issues such as glare, sweat and eye squinting will not be as large of a factor. But every benefit also comes at a price. To create an illuminated and well lit image, photographers must incorporate either the use of a flash or low aperture “fast lenses” when shooting darker areas.

Nature Photography GuideLenses such as a 50mm 1.4 F-stop will do the trick. Large F-stops such as F-1.4 will allow the areas natural light to illuminate the subject. In general I tend to use an off camera flash which overrides the darkness caused by shaded locations and the areas natural light. This particular image was taken using my yongnuo 568EX flash and a large octagon soft box. In general, parks, parking garages and lakes make for great shoot locations.

Nikon and DiffuserThis brings us to the equipment portion of the guide.There are several different types of lenses, flashes, camera bodies and softboxes. Each type of accessory offers the user great flexibility.

Octagon Soft Box Nature Photography GuideOverall, the main purpose of Soft-boxes and diffusers are to spread light across the subject. Flashes are very powerful and may only illuminate a specific region of a subject. Diffusers and soft-boxes widen this focused beam of light and warm the subjects overall image. Regarding camera bodies, many users gravitate towards either Nikon or Cannon products. Sure there are tons of other makers and each comes with a very different price range but I believe Nikon and Cannon are the most common. For this shoot I used a Nikon D7000 and a nikor 50mm Lens.

FlashI also used my Yongnuo 568EX flash, polarized lens filter and 50mm lens hood.  By removing the flash from the top of the camera and placing it in various locations around the subject I was able to adequately light my subject.

Leaf In The Wind Nature Photography GuideI hope you enjoyed this brief guide to Nature Portrait photography. There are several other aspects to consider when deciding upon all of the right elements for your shoots but hopefully this quick guide has made the process a bit easier. If you enjoyed this guide feel free to leave a comment below. Also, if you have any questions do not hesitate to ask. Until next time, STAY BOUNDLESS!

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