Posted on Guides

Do you want to capture original nature photos?

1. Use unusual lighting for surprisingly dramatic shots

For a long time, I felt like my images were frustratingly similar. I couldn’t find any new compositions. I couldn’t create the kind of magic I wanted. I felt like I had hit a wall.

Until I discovered the power of directional lighting.

Now, directional lighting is something that most photographers are familiar with. You get directional lighting when the sun is low in the sky – so that the light hits your subject from a particular direction.

If the light hits your subject from the front, it’s frontlight. If your light hits your subject from the side, it’s called sidelight.

But while frontlight and sidelight are nice enough, they pale in comparison to the power of backlight.

(Which is the type of light that completely changed my photography.)

Backlight comes from behind your subject. If you want a backlit photo, you should make sure that your subject sits between you and the sun – and then point your lens at your subject.

What’s so great about backlight?

Backlight allows you to capture intense, dramatic light. It allows you to create a contrast-heavy photo, one with a beautiful background and a detailed subject.

2. Shoot from strange angles for a completely new perspective

Shooting from new angles is a classic method for capturing original photos.

That’s because it works. Really, really well.

Of course, you don’t want to use the same new angles, over and over again. That will just cause you to fall into a cycle of creating similar photos once again!

Instead, try to find a new angle for every subject you photograph.

I’m a fan of getting down low, and I recommend you try it, too. Crouching, crawling, or even lying on the ground is a great way of opening up more intimate perspectives.

And more intimate perspectives can make for stunningly original images.

3. Apply creative techniques for unique takes on a subject

Another easy way to produce original nature photos is to add something new to your photography arsenal. Something you’ve never tried before.

One way to find these techniques is to look at photographers in other genres. What are they doing that you like? What’s creative about their work? Is there something that you can take from their photos and apply to yours?

I’ll mention just a few creative techniques here. These will give you a sense of the possibilities of nature photography. And they’ll also open up new shots for you, right now.

First, one of my favorite creative techniques is freelensing. This involves detaching the lens from your camera and tilting it in different directions for a tilt-shift style image.

Freelensing will give you some striking images filled with shallow depth of field, gorgeous bokeh, and stunning light leaks.

Second, I recommend trying intentional camera movement photos (or ICM). ICM photos are beautifully abstract and impressionistic.

To capture amazing ICM photos, simply set your shutter speed to something low (in the 1/2s to 1/20s range). Then experiment with moving your camera when you take the photo.

If you persevere, you’ll soon be taking some amazing images!

Third, you should try the ‘shooting through’ technique, also known as ‘cramming.’

Find a subject – then change your angle so that you’re shooting through something in the foreground. This is generally vegetation, but it doesn’t have to be.

If you can create a shallow depth of field, you’ll blow the foreground into a beautiful wash of color. And you’ll capture some highly-unusual nature photos.