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Nature Photography - The Basics

Nature photography is about capturing the natural world we live in; in the air, on land or sea, the heavens as well as natural subterranean areas. With nature photography, the focus can be on wildlife, colors, contrasts, patterns or anything that is naturally occurring, including weather phenomena including storms and lightning Each element of nature photography requires skill and experience to both capture the photos and the experience of a place while dealing with constantly changing light and conditions. Nature photography is often a race against time since each day only provides around 2 to 3 hours of perfect lighting to shoot and capture the most dramatic shots. These hours are often referred to as the "golden hours" and there are many shoots when a photographer will need to crawl out of a nice warm sleeping bag to get the shot. During a nature photography shoot, a good nature photographer is always adjusting for the light and cloud cover and on some days will need to travel hundreds of miles to get the right shot. One of the great things about nature photography is that it is right outside all of our doors and visually stunning nature photography images can often be captured without extensive travel - it's often surprising what a good nature photographer can capture in the natural elements all around, including dew on spider webs, frost forming on trees or a humming bird that stops by for a morning visit.

by Kim Ringeisen
Kim Ringeisen

Tips for Nature Photography


Find Your Style

Nature photography can be done on a small and on a grand scale. When selecting a nature photographer, look for someone who has shot similar images (perhaps even a similar place) in their portfolio - these helps ensure alignment of style and equipment (that great blimp shot you're looking for - if they've done it before, they can probably help you get it for your project).


Decide On Deliverables

Most nature photography involves large image files that will be delivered electronically or via a hard drive if there are a large number of images. Be sure to let your photographer know if you require the raw image files before the shoot.



The timing of nature photography is often determined largely what is being shot - much nature photography can only be adequately captured during certain times of the year or during specific weather conditions so it's important to schedule nature shoots far out from publication deadlines.


After The Shoot

Most nature pictures will be delivered digitally. If you use SmartShoot, you can use the image preview room to select your favorites. These are often touched up in post-production (where the photographer corrects lighting, color grades or removes blemishes, etc from the image).

by SmartShoot

How much does Nature Photography cost?

Pricing for nature photography is usually determined based on the type of photography required and the level of equipment and skill needed to get the shot for the client. Factors that will determine the price will be experience, equipment, travel, hazards, environmental elements and the client requirements. If the work is local and does not require a great deal of extra gear outside of a standard camera, lens, lights, tripods most projects are charged at an hourly or daily charge (and may require additional payment depending on the use of images - print, web, etc.). A good guide is a basic hourly price of around $250-$300 /hr and upwards to $1000-$1500 a day for shoots requiring a specific experience, skills and gear to get the shot, not including cost to hire boats, aircraft or guides.

Find a Nature Creative near you!

SmartShoot brings the power of professional photos and videos.

We help businesses and individuals find and collaborate with professional freelance photographers and videographers. Our creatives have delivered over 80,000 projects around the globe.

An example project

20 Editorial Nature photo images needed


Suggested Price: $800

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