The five P’s to better nature photographs

Wildlife and nature photography is often very rewarding but it does hold many challenges.

Here’s a list of the five P’s of photography that can help you improve your images. You can find a few versions of this list if you do a little online research, but few relate directly to the nature photographer and often exclude one or two or the P’s I’ll share with you this month.


Like many things in life, the opportunity to succeed at something is increased only if you’re truly interested in what you’re doing. Passion is the driving force behind shooting the subjects you’re interested in. Find out what subjects really get you excited while behind the lens.


Like the old saying goes, practice makes perfect and I really believe this to be true. Learn everything you can about your camera and lens. Never be afraid to experiment with different camera settings, exposures, apertures and shutter speeds. These days, digital cameras are powerful tools—get the most out them by reading the manual and looking to others for inspiration.


Learning everything about your camera and your subject won’t happen in a day. It might take you a little while to see how your camera responds in different lighting conditions or it might take several hours for that bird to come to the feeder.

Learn to enjoy the waiting game if you’re sitting around looking for that subject to appear. Observe your surroundings and you might see something else you’d like to photograph in the future.


You’ll likely find yourself in a situation where physical pain might try to creep up on you and spoil a good photo shoot. Nature photographers often find themselves in uncomfortable situations like kneeling down to get a wildflower or insect photo or simply sitting in a blind for hours or hiking over that next ridge to catch a sunset. I think someone should start a yoga class specifically for photographers!


More often than not, that great plan of waking up early in the morning and coming home with an award winning image is not going to happen. At least not right away. The reality is it’s going to take some persistence and repeated visits to that special location to get the photo you really want.

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