Kate Southall and Mark Eastment will be running a special nature photography walk at this year’s Bath Festival of Nature on Saturday, so we caught up with them to find out their five top tips on how to capture the perfect shot:
1) Get close
Whatever your subject, try to make it fill the entire frame. Macro lenses can be used to pick out hard-to-see details whereas telephoto lenses are useful for zooming in on far-away subjects (or small subjects that are close by) – this is particularly useful when photographing wildlife that may easily be spooked if you move towards them.
2) Take a step back
Yes, we are contradicting our first tip! Sometimes, however, you can create a much stronger composition for your image when you photograph your subject in its wider environment. This provides a sense of scale and displays how your subject interacts with the surrounding environment. By keeping an eye on the world around you, you might even spot a different image that you would have missed if you were too busy concentrating on the tiny details. The dog staring intently into the distance may have spotted a squirrel, or the blackbirds making an alarm call may have spotted a tawny owl in a tree.
3) Beat the wind
When shooting flowers and plants the wind can be a huge nuisance, especially when trying to capture a close-up image. The smallest gust of wind can play havoc with your focus and result in blurry images. To combat this, try and wait for a break in the wind. Alternatively you could use a piece of card or a bag to block the wind whilst you capture your image.
4) Use shutter speed to your advantage
On a windy day or when photographing moving objects, fast shutter speeds allow you to freeze motion capturing perfectly crisp images. Slower shutter speeds, however, can be used just as effectively. By panning with your subject as it moves or by letting your subject move in front of your lens you can capture a sense of movement in your image.
5) Be patient
This is often the difference between capturing a good image and a fantastic one! For plants and flowers it might be as simple as waiting until the light is just right. For moving subjects it might mean waiting until they move into the right spot or face in the right direction. Don’t rush – often you will be rewarded for your patience.
If you would like the chance to try out a few of these tips then why not join us for a nature-themed photowalk setting off from the bandstand at midday on Saturday 27th June. Don’t forget to sign up via the website here – its free to attend and no experience is necessary, simply bring along your camera and see what you discover!
All images (c) Kate Southall & Mark Eastment