Nature Photography & Photography Tips

Spring & Nature Photography / Inspiration to Learn

Spring time is an ode to fertility that offers a magnificent window for flora lovers to engage in natural photography. The great variety of blooming trees during this season is the perfect motivation for photographers to get inspired and apply the photography tips they have learned in the past.

No matter how technical or empiric our photography knowledge may be, the awe inspiring beauty of nature during spring time is the perfect excuse to use our camera and capture amazing flower pictures, as well as other lovely details of nature.

In this article, I have used flower photos from my “Mexican Spring Nature Photography Collection” to illustrate several photography tips that may help you enhance your compositions and create more visually attractive pictures.


Jacaranda Flower Pictures

Jacaranda tree blooming during spring in Mexico; seed capsule close-up from the “Mexican Spring Nature Photography Collection" by Claudia Tello.
Jacaranda tree blooming during spring in Mexico; seed capsule close-up from the “Mexican Spring Nature Photography Collection" by Claudia Tello. | Source
Jacaranda tree blooming during spring in Mexico; flower  close-up from the “Mexican Spring Nature Photography Collection” by Claudia Tello.
Jacaranda tree blooming during spring in Mexico; flower close-up from the “Mexican Spring Nature Photography Collection” by Claudia Tello. | Source
Jacaranda flowers sprinkling the soil with magic.  From the “Mexican Spring Nature Photography Collection” by Claudia Tello.
Jacaranda flowers sprinkling the soil with magic. From the “Mexican Spring Nature Photography Collection” by Claudia Tello. | Source

Flower Pictures & Photography Tips

The blooming Jacaranda tree is one of my favorite spring time inspirations, for it sprinkles beauty all around: from the purple-blue tree tops splashing the landscape with happy gracefulness, to the gorgeous little beauty of its individual flowers and seed capsules, to the velvety carpets they lay on the ground when the tinny flowers fall and accumulate beneath the tree.

The Jacaranda Flower Pictures on the right are 3 examples of the natural magic that occurs when a little bit of nature photography applies to spring´s magic. There are three major photography techniques that were used in these compositions, which are precisely the elements that make them alluring to the eye:

  • In all 3 photographs, I played with a blurry background to isolate a specific detail of the Jacaranda tree. The blurry background gives depth and perspective to the image while enhancing the main point of interest in the composition. Even the third photograph (the one with the clovers), has a bit of blurry background, otherwise, the image would be flat, bi-dimensional, and much less interesting.
  • Colors are enhanced by working within the “chromatic depth range” of the focus scale, which allows brighter and fuller colors to be captured with the camera (no need to edit latter).
  • Elements of interested are located in strategic visual points based on the “Rule of Thirds”, which will be explain further on, and applies to almost all of my photographs.

So how does this work?


Understanding F Numbers

If you are not acquainted with F numbers and how the Diaphragm of the camera works, the following article explains, in simple and clear terms, all about F numbers, how/when/which to use, and the photographic effects one can achieve using the F scale:

Photography Tips: How to Use the Diaphragm & Work Depth of Field

Camera Settings

The Jacaranda Flower Pictures were taken with a shutter speed of 1/160sec, an ISO Sensitivity of 800, and a Focus number of F7.1, for the first two, and F11 for the third one:

  • The F number used in all cases is within the chromatic depth range (F7-F12), enhancing the beautiful Jacaranda colors in the image without the use of Photoshop.
  • The blurry background effect is enhanced by a combination of an intermediate F. No., a short focal length and the use of single focus mode (AF). The shot was taken from a very short distance, using the single focus mode, which means the camera focuses on a single coordinate within the frame.
  • The high ISO Sensitivity gives a lot of detail and texture to the photograph, even the tiny little hairs of the flower in the second photo can be seen (click picture to enlarge). The pictures were taken just before dusk and this allowed for the use of a large ISO Sensitivity without noise (no dark areas in the photo).

  • In these examples, priority is given to the F number and ISO Sensitivity, the shutter speed is left to a secondary role and is set to regulate the correct lighting.

In summary:


Photography Tips to Improve Composition of Flower Pictures:

  1. Use F numbers between 7 and 12 to enhance colors.
  2. Use high ISO Sensitivity values to increase detail and texture.
  3. Use smaller F numbers and short focal lengths to create a blurry background effect.


Flower Photos & the Rule of Thirds

“Wombs of Fertility”, blooming cactus from the “Mexican Spring Nature Photography Collection" by Claudia Tello.
“Wombs of Fertility”, blooming cactus from the “Mexican Spring Nature Photography Collection" by Claudia Tello. | Source

Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is a photography guideline that recommends certain strategic points in the photographic frame as the best place to locate the point of interest, or subject, of our composition.

This composition tool divides the photographic frame in horizontal and vertical thirds, using two vertical lines and two horizontal lines, which represent the areas in which human vision naturally focuses.

The following schematic shows the lines with which we should imaginarily divide our frame to help us create an interesting image (some cameras have a rule of thirds setting that actually shows these lines in the frame, and makes it easier for the novice photographer):


Rule of Third´s Schematics

The "Rule of Thirds" applied to flower photos.
The "Rule of Thirds" applied to flower photos. | Source

Rule of Thirds Exercise

Observe how the Rule of Thirds was applied to each one of the Jacaranda Flower Pictures at the top of this page, draw the imaginary lines and try locating the points of interest in relation to them.

The Rule of Thirds recommends locating the subject along the horizontal and vertical lines shown in the picture, being the intersections between them (marked with a green dot) the best coordinates to locate the point of interest. This strategic positioning helps create more dynamic and attractive photographs for the human eye.

By locating the horizon along the upper or lower horizontal lines, we can also modify the depth of the picture.


Photography Tips to Improve Composition

4. Apply the Rule of Thirds to your composition: locate the point of interest at one of the 4 line intersections.

5. Experiment with the Rule of Thirds by modifying your frame and changing the coordinates of the subject.


Nature Photography & Cactus Beauty

“Inspiring Agave” from the “Mexican Spring Nature Photography Collection" by Claudia Tello.
“Inspiring Agave” from the “Mexican Spring Nature Photography Collection" by Claudia Tello. | Source
“Elegantly Striped Maguey” from the “Mexican Spring Nature Photography Collection" by Claudia Tello.
“Elegantly Striped Maguey” from the “Mexican Spring Nature Photography Collection" by Claudia Tello. | Source

Nature Photography: Cactus in Spring

Nature has definitely an incredible way of surprising the observer with the delicate and obvious beauty of its flower kingdom. Nevertheless, its exquisiteness isn´t limited to the reproductive organ of plants, it expands all through the unbelievable variety of patterns, textures and intricate details of the leaves, thorns and forms of all vegetation.

When a photographer starts to really observe nature, lots of curious details start popping up, he sees things that past unnoticed before. At this point, an opportunity to capture the unseen arises, great artistic work can come up as we express the alluring perfection of the natural flora through our vision.

The Cactus family is a very attractive world that shows rarely seen and impressive beauty, through its wide-ranging forms, figures, colors and complex thorn patterns, as well as its exotic flowers.

The photographs here shown are a sample of this cactus world I am describing (particularly during spring time) and the pleasant surprises that popped out to me during a photo shoot at Mexico´s City Botanical Garden.


Blurry Background Effect, Isolating Point of Interest

“The Beauty of Thorn Patterns in Cactus Plants” from the “Mexican Spring Nature Photography Collection" by Claudia Tello.
“The Beauty of Thorn Patterns in Cactus Plants” from the “Mexican Spring Nature Photography Collection" by Claudia Tello. | Source

Photography Tips

"Isolate the point of interest from unwanted background using small F numbers & short focal length"

Example:

Photograph: ““The Beauty of Cactus Thorn Pattern” (see image on the right of this text)

  • Shutter Speed: 1/500sec
  • F Number: F5.6
  • ISO Sensitivity: 200

Surprising Flower Photos of Blossoming Nopal Cactus

“Yellow Cactus Gem, Tough Frailty” from the “Mexican Spring Nature Photography Collection” by Claudia Tello.
“Yellow Cactus Gem, Tough Frailty” from the “Mexican Spring Nature Photography Collection” by Claudia Tello. | Source

Photography Format Survey

Which format do you use most?

See results without voting

Other Photography Tips

Horizontal, Vertical & Diagonal Formats

Another element to be considered in a photographic composition is the format of the image: how do we want to stage our picture? Horizontally? Vertically? Diagonally?

A general photography guideline (not a rule) is to choose the format according to the lines in the scene we want to capture:

  • horizontal formats for pictures having predominantly horizontal lines, and
  • vertical formats for pictures having predominantly vertical lines.

Notice that the apparent direction of the lines can also be modified by changing the camera´s angle (as in the picture above).

When we want to achieve a dynamic picture and give a sense of action or speed, we can go for a diagonal format or “dynamic” format.


Dynamic Action & Diagonal Lines

“Blossoming Cactus” from the “Mexican Spring Nature Photography Collection” by Claudia Tello. An example of a “Dynamic Picture” in which diagonal lines where created by changing the camera´s angle, conveying a sense of movement.
“Blossoming Cactus” from the “Mexican Spring Nature Photography Collection” by Claudia Tello. An example of a “Dynamic Picture” in which diagonal lines where created by changing the camera´s angle, conveying a sense of movement. | Source

Format & Lines: Characteristics

Horizontal

  • Gives amplitude and balanced distribution.
  • Conveys peace, tranquility and quietness.

Vertical

  • Communicates a sense of strength, rigidity, power.
  • Gives direction and determination.

Diagonal

  • Represents movement, speed, action.
  • Conveys a feeling of dynamic action even when the object is static.


Nature Photography: Cactus Up Close & Proxemics

“Flower-Punch #1” from the “Mexican Spring Nature Photography Collection” by Claudia Tello.
“Flower-Punch #1” from the “Mexican Spring Nature Photography Collection” by Claudia Tello. | Source
“Flower-Punch #2” from the “Mexican Spring Nature Photography Collection” by Claudia Tello.
“Flower-Punch #2” from the “Mexican Spring Nature Photography Collection” by Claudia Tello. | Source

More Photography Tips: Proxemics

Proxemics is a subcategory of the study of nonverbal communication that refers to the use of space in interpersonal communication.

In photography, proxemics represent an important aspect of the way any given individual relates and communicates with another object, or being, and has an impact on the kind of photography that particular individual will engage in. Some of us like to get very close to the object we are shooting; while some of us might feel uncomfortable doing that, and may choose to preserve our space shooting from larger distances.

Examples:

The cactus close-ups on the right are examples of pictures taken from a short focal length, which means the photographer got pretty close to the subject: “invading its space” and maximizing the textures and details of thorns, flowers and general plant structure.

In a different proxemic, the photographer might have taken the picture from a greater distance, maybe capturing the whole cactus, not just a detail.

There is no guideline in this respect, it is just a matter of personal choice and what the photographer wants to express.


Note: these photographs were also taken with a small F number (F3.5) giving the pictures a blurry background, and thus, great depth and perspective.


Using Photography Tips for the Perfect Composition

“Transcending Green Inspiration” from the “Mexican Spring Nature Photography Collection” by Claudia Tello.
“Transcending Green Inspiration” from the “Mexican Spring Nature Photography Collection” by Claudia Tello. | Source

Composition Photography Tips: Geometry & Perspective

Geometry and Perspective can give your composition that extra little something that makes a photograph so beautiful and attractive to the eye. Learn how to apply and enhance your compositions with these elements in the following article:

Photography Tips: Improve Your Photos Using Geometry & Perspective

Not every photography tip we have given in this article can be applied at the same time, all in the same picture.

According to our artistic vision, our own sense of composition and the things we want to express through our pictures, we will choose a few, or a couple of them, and make the most out of our priorities and choices.

In this final nature photograph (“Transcending Green Inspiration”), several photography tips were taken into consideration for the final composition; a brief description of the composition process follows, which can help as a last example of the workings of a nature lover and photographer in action:


  1. A blurry background effect was generated by choosing an intermediate F number (F8.0) and a short focal length. This choice gave the picture depth and perspective, which made for a much more interesting composition.
  2. Color was enhanced by choosing an F number within the Chromatic Depth Range (from F7.0 to F12).
  3. A high ISO Sensitivity (1000) was used to give lots of texture and detail.
  4. Rule of Thirds was followed placing the main point of interest at the upper-left intersection, following the left vertical line.
  5. A horizontal format was chosen for it conveys feelings that are closer to the composition´s theme (peace, tranquility and quietness, all related to nature) and gives a balanced equilibrium to the whole picture.
  6. Proxemics: subject´s space “invaded”, main focal point shot from a very short distance.


Flower Photos

Lear about macro photography and other flower photography tips (lighting, edition, gear, etc) with the work of nifwlseirff:

Flower Photography by nifwlseirff

Final thoughts…..

Photography tips and/or guidelines are a great tool that we can use to enhance our composition. The trick lies in learning them in theory and applying them in practice. Once we feel comfortable using them, we can mix and match, get creative with them, and start giving form to our own style.

The photography tips here given have the goal of expanding your photography world and opening up a source of infinite possibilities with which to experiment and have fun.

Happy shootings!!!


More Photography Tips / Different Author

More by this Author


Comments "Nature Photography & Photography Tips" 27 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

That was really very interesting and quite helpful for those of us who struggle with photography. Thank you for a great hub!


TrahnTheMan profile image

TrahnTheMan 4 years ago from Asia, Oceania & between

Wow Claudia. This the the most comprehensive photography hub that I've seen here. SUPER helpful! This is the basis of 5 classes! Voted up.


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico Author

Hi billybuc! I am glad these photography tips were helpful; I tried my best to explain them in an easy way for everyone to understand, giving nice nature photography examples. Thank you for dropping by and taking the time to give your feedback, thanks so much :)


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico Author

Hi TrahnTheMan! Nice to see you here again :) I am flattered by all your comments! Thanks for your interest and kind feedback, I really appreciate it.


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 4 years ago from Vermont, USA

This is an exceptional tutorial for aspiring photographers. You have managed to say so much in such a limited format, combining an engaging narrative with revealing examples of your own work.

I look forward to reading more of your Hubs.

CP


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico Author

Hi Christopher,

Well, I don´t know what to say except thank you very much for your flattering feedback. I really take a lot of time to write, put together, give format and edit my hubs, and I am certainly very glad you appreciate it. Writing has been a learning curve for me and every time I publish a new piece of work it is hopefully better than the last one.


nifwlseirff profile image

nifwlseirff 4 years ago from Villingen Schwenningen, Germany

I love the cactus details, although I don't think I'd be brave enough to get that close - I'm too much of a klutz and would probably fall into the spikes! Beautiful pictures and great explanations. And I'm honoured that you've linked to a couple of articles of mine - thank you so much!


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

A fabulous tutorial with lots of interesting tips and advice, well detailed and explained - I know I will certainly find it useful.

Thank you and voted up


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico Author

Hi nifwlseirff! Glad you noticed the back links. I found your photography hubs quite nice as well and thank you for writing interesting hubs for me to be able to use this Hubpages´ tool.

I appreciate your comments and feedback, thanks.


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico Author

Hi Movie Master! I am glad you found these photography tips useful, the more you apply them, in nature photography or otherwise, that doesn´t really matter, the better you´ll get at taking beautiful, interesting pictures. Thanks for your comments and input :)


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

This is an excellent hub! Your pictures are awesome and your information is excellent! You explained everything in a very easy to understand way. I have linked this hub in with "nature photography" as the anchor in my Nature Photography in Your Own Backyard hub. I am happy to reciprocate! Excellent job here! Voted up, useful, beautiful and would like to ask if I may share on my blog: http://sheilasthisnthat.blogspot.com/. Have a wonderful day! :)


irka winniczuk 4 years ago

the comments above say it all


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico Author

Hi sgbrown! I am deeply humbled by your very kind comments and feedback, thank you very much! Thanks for the backlink as well, it is great to link back to one another in something we both love so much: the beautiful art of photography :) I´d be honored if you posted this hub in your blog, please go ahead!


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico Author

Thanks Irka, I appreciate your support :D


LetitiaFT profile image

LetitiaFT 4 years ago from Paris via California

What a beautiful & helpful article! I just got back from Lisbon where the jacarandas filled the air with their fragrance and petals and your agaves and cactii make me homesick for San Diego. I'm sure saving these tips!


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico Author

Hey Letitia, how lucky you could visit Lisbon while the jacarandas were blooming, they must have added such beauty to the city.....

I am very pleased you found this photography tips helpful. Thanks for your kind feedback, I really appreciate it, especially coming from somone who has such a good photographic eye.


ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Your hub reinforces for me that I have much to learn about photography. This is a useful guide and so I vote it up and useful. I will share too.


pinkhawk profile image

pinkhawk 4 years ago from Pearl of the Orient

Very field to appreciate things around us.. This is very useful, thank you very much for this lesson. ^_^


jennzie profile image

jennzie 4 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA

This is a very useful hub for beginner photographers such as myself. Voted up!


dghbrh profile image

dghbrh 4 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

useful hub .....I love photography just as a passing hobby. your hub indeed will be very helpful next time I go clicking. Thank you very much for the nicely explained ways. voted up...interesting...useful and shall share for sure.


Darrylmdavis profile image

Darrylmdavis 4 years ago from Brussels, Belgium

Well-written and very useful


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico Author

Darrylmdavis: thanks! glad you found this photography tips based on nature photography examples useful :)


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico Author

@ChristyWrites, thanks for your input and sharing, I really appreciate it :D; photography is indeed much larger than one initially thinks, hope you profit from this simple , yet powerful photography tips.

@pinkhawk, it is my pleasure to share this multimedia article with you, thanks for your interest and comments!

@jennzie, I am glad to be of service and share some photography tips I use and learned during my photography studies, nice to pass that on. thanks for the vote :), it means a lot.

@dghbrh, you are very kind, thanks so much for your kind words and feedback; I do hope you have great fun applying this photography tips to whatever kind of photography you enjoy doing. Happy shootings :D


Elias Zanetti profile image

Elias Zanetti 3 years ago from Athens, Greece

Nopal cactus rocks! Super hub, thanks :)


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 3 years ago from Mexico Author

Elias Zanetti: thanks for your input and enthusiasm!!!! I agree with you :)


mbgphoto profile image

mbgphoto 2 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

You have packed this hub with lots of great information. Thanks for all the advice.


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 2 years ago from Mexico Author

mbgphoto, thanks for your interest in this hub and your encouraging comment, glad you found it useful.

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