Fire Tower Trail - Amber Lake

Nature photography 101

Do you secretly wish you could produce photos that would take people’s breath away? There’s no better time than now to pursue your dream!

We chatted with Thunder Bay photographer Barry Wojciechowski and our own Natural Heritage Education & Marketing Specialist Barb Rees who shared these five tips for capturing award-winning nature photographs.

Tip #1: Buy a camera that suits your needs and budget

man walking trail with camera

There are three basic cameras to choose from: point and shoot (compact and portable, but limited zoom), bridge (great zoom capabilities with a fixed lens) and digital single lens reflex or DLRS (a variety of lens options for different purposes). All can produce stunning photos – if used properly.

You will also probably want to get a tripod or monopod which will help give you sharper images. An extra memory card and battery are also good investments.

Tip #2: Read the manual

man photographing flower

This may seem obvious, but so many of us skip this step. New photographers often keep the setting on “auto,” but if you want to take exceptional nature photos, you need to know what your camera can do.

Once you’ve read about all the functions, start playing with your camera. Get to really know it and what you can do with it. You can even save your manual digitally on your phone!

Tip #3: Take a class or workshop that focuses on nature photography

photography class

Some colleges offer photography classes, as do many naturalist clubs. Ontario Parks runs photography programs as well, including our popular half-day Buttons & Knobs workshop. You can learn so much from even a few sessions with an expert, and it will help you “focus” on what you want to capture.

Don’t forget to read up on your subject. Are you focused on close-ups of flowers and insects? More interested in sunsets and sunrises? Or are you hoping to capture birds and animals on film? The more you know about your subject, the stronger your photos will be.

Tip #4: Join a photo club

photo club

This is a great way to hone your skills. Most clubs have group outings and photo challenges where members review and critique each other’s work, which is very helpful.

Tip #5: Install a few key apps

two women looking at camera

A growing number of photography-themed apps help camera enthusiasts capture the best shots at different times of the year. They can help by calculating exposures, depth of field, time lapse, shutter speed, weather forecasts – even Northern lights predictions – and much more.

Practice makes perfect, so grab your camera and get outside! And let us know how it’s going — we’d love to see your masterpieces!