Nature Photography Tips   

Less Is More!


Nature photographers thrive on the wonderful diversity of the natural world - it’s what inspires us to get up early in the morning. There’s never a shortage of things to point your camera at, from birds to rocks to flowers to trees to bug to bats. From before dawn to after dusk. Well you get the idea. Sometimes I actually get frustrated trying to decide what to photograph. What a fantastic predicament to be faced with!

Although it’s easy to find things to fill your viewfinder, a greater challenge is deciding what not to put in the picture. All too often we clutter our images with extra stuff that doesn’t add to the photo. A picture can be too busy to its detriment.

Enter the concept: ‘less is more’. I find myself repeating this to myself often. Every time I take a picture these days, I’m thinking ‘less is more’. This concept is helping me to make stronger images that have impact. It’s made me think about what I’m trying to say with my photos. If a picture is worth a thousand words, do you know what those words are? Here’s some tips for making strong, simple photos according to the ‘less is more’ principle. 


1) Think concepts.
Photos that convey a concept, emotion or mood tend to have impact. Sometimes we luck out and nab a photo that achieves this, but more often it requires advance planning. Think about what you want your photo to say before you snap the shutter. Pro photographers like to shoot concept shots because they sell well.
2) Know what your subject is.
Do you know what you’re taking a picture of? Define your subject and make sure it comes across clearly in the image. I often sketch out a photo on paper before I pick up my camera to be sure I know what I'm trying to accomplish.
3) Eliminate extraneous elements.
If it doesn’t support your concept or subject, don’t put it in the photo.

4) Watch your background.
A messy or busy background can distract from your subject.

5) Isolate with a longer lens.
A longer lens allows you to narrow in on your subject and create clean, out-of-focus backgrounds.
6) Change your perspective.
Moving your camera position is one of the easiest ways to find a clean, strong angle that emphasizes your subject.
7) Check the edges.
Before taking a picture, do a visual lap around the edges of the viewfinder to check for things accidentally sneaking into the photo. Be on the lookout for hydro wires, stray branches, out of focus leaves, tripod legs, filter edges (vignetting) or your own thumb!
Next time you’re out exploring the natural world through your camera viewfinder, be sure to remember that often, ‘less is more’. Soon you’ll be creating powerful and inspirational photos that get ‘wows’ from your friends and make you smile with pride.
Happy shooting!



Attached Photos: 
1) Birch Tree Trunks in Meadow
Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario (September 2003)
Canon EOS 1N; EF 100mm/f2.8 Macro; Fuji Velvia
2) Moon over Lake Superior
Gargantua Harbour, Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario (October 2003)
Canon EOS 1N; EF 100mm/f2.8 Macro; Fuji Velvia
3) Burrowing Owl
Cape Coral, Florida (December 2002)
Canon EOS 1N; EF 600mm/f4 USM; Fuji Velvia

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