Top 11 Nature Photography Tips & Tricks

Ariel Canie | August 25, 2022 | 5 min read

How to Take Great Nature Photos

Have you ever attempted to take a quick nature shot on your phone, only to look through your camera roll and see that it didn’t turn out quite as you expected? Phone photography has always been tricky, but thankfully phones have evolved over time to have fantastic built-in cameras. While those cameras can help us achieve beautiful and sharp photos, they can’t exactly tell us what works and what doesn’t.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced phone-tographer, we’re here to share some tips on how to take gorgeous nature photos to capture beautiful natural scenes in the great outdoors.

Here are our best Nature photography tips to help you upgrade your photography game

dramatic tree

1. Add perspective

Including a foreground element, a middle layer element, and a background element will pull people in. A branch of a tree in the foreground, a lake in the middle, and a mountain behind the lake in the background is a good example of adding perspective to your snap!

forest at sunrise

2. Choose indirect sunlight

Try to take photos early in the morning or later in the day when the sun isn’t directly overhead. Also known as “golden hour”, this is the time of day when the light will be softer and warmer and full of interesting shadows.

beautiful forest

3. Adjust the exposure

Sometimes our phones will adjust the exposure automatically and subjects or landscapes will appear too bright or too dark. Be sure to adjust your exposure right before you take the snap! Tapping and dragging your finger up or down on the screen will usually adjust exposure. 

young woman photographing landscape

4. Stay balanced

Using a PopSocket can help you balance your phone while you’re on the go. Have a little more time to spare, or want to be in the photo? A phone tripod complete with a remote will help you get your perfect shot!

smartphone photo of flowers

5. Play with camera angles

The simple tilt of your phone can change the whole photo. It could fix lighting issues, get a better angle, or fit more into the photo. Don’t be afraid to take some extra time to capture a photo from different angles!

epic landscape

6. Practice makes perfect

Pick a specific subject to practice with. For example, if you love sunsets practice capturing and editing different sunsets from different locations. With plenty of practice, you’ll know the best spots to snap a photo of the sunset!

mountain sunrise

7. Use hashtags for location sourcing

Research local hashtags on IG or Tiktok to find new locations to snap photos, learn new tricks, and even make new friends. Most areas also have an #igers account. For example, Western Massuchussets is #igers413. 

bird in motion

8. Capture with burst mode

Most phones have a burst mode, which will allow you to capture multiple photos at once. This mode is great for quick-moving subjects like butterflies, birds or squirrels! Once you’ve captured your photos in burst mode, you can scroll through and pick your favorite.

trees field

9. Follow the Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is a simple composition guideline and following it is easy with most phones already having a built-in grid! This tip suggests placing your subject on the left or right side of your photo, leaving two-thirds open. 

frog in rainforest peru marlondag

10. Crop your photos

Use your phone’s crop tool to add more focus to your subject by cropping out unwanted people, animals, or objects. Just be sure not to overcrop and reduce the overall quality of your photo.

kids volunteer tree planters

11. Edit mindfully

Use editing apps rather than Instagram filters and be sure to edit mindfully! Don’t oversaturate your image or use too many filters all at once. Most of the time less is more and small tweaks can make a big difference. Our favorite editing apps include SnapSeed and lightroom for photos and Splice for videos. 

Using your phone to take photos of the natural world is a great way to capture memorable moments of the great outdoors before they’re gone. We hope these nature photography tips help you become a better nature photographer the next time you pull out your mobile phone to appreciate the natural areas around you! 

Now that you've learned how to take great photos, become a Tree Ambassador to share them with other nature lovers around the world! 

Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most

Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most

As the need for reforestation is global and ever-changing, we feature where trees are most needed now. For Treecember, we're planting trees that support a global forest fire recovery fund. Learn more

With your help, we will:

  • Reforest lands damaged by record-setting fires
  • Support healthy habitat for iconic biodiversity
  • Plant tree species that will help reduce future fire impact
  • This holiday season, we’re planting trees in areas around the world that have been severely affected by forest fires and aren't able to recover a healthy ecosystem on their own. The most common naturally-caused wildfires occur during droughts or dry weather, and under these circumstances, trees and other vegetation are converted to flammable fuel. Human-caused forest fires can be a result of various activities like unregulated slash and burn agriculture, equipment failure or engine sparks, and discarded cigarettes.

    After wildfires, reforestation is essential in areas where the fire intensity burned off available seed supply within the soil, and/or where there are not enough healthy trees still growing and producing new seeds nearby. Reforestation starts once professional assessments have been made to determine where human intervention would be the most ecologically beneficial. Help restore these vital ecosystems by planting a tree. 🌿
  • Every year, forest fires are increasing in size and severity, damaging vital ecosystems and creating a need for millions of trees. Some major consequences of forest fires include significant loss of wildlife, loss of vegetation, soil erosion, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions.

    With so much fire damage, reforestation is essential to catalyze the environmental recovery process. The trees are carefully planted to prevent invasive species from colonizing burn scars and restore quality habitat for native biodiversity. One Tree Planted is connecting with on-the-ground partners to establish viable reforestation projects when the recently affected regions are ready for planting. This fund will contribute to planting projects in British Columbia, Idaho, Ghana, Portugal, and beyond. Let's get to work! 🌲
  • A personalized tree certificate (see gallery) to say thanks for your donation. We'll also send you updates about this project, so you can track the impact your trees are having on the community and environment.
  • To maximize the impact of your donation, our partners on the ground will determine the most appropriate species of tree and shrubs. We only plant native tree species that will restore the local ecosystem, re-establish wildlife habitat, and reduce the likelihood of future fires.

Get Started Today

Sign Up Today and Be The first to know about new campaigns, project launches and exciting initiatives