“Neature” Photography

by Abbie Blank-Libra

So, you want to take photos? Outside? Well, you’re in luck, because I have a few tips for this kind of thing! We’ll call it outdoor photography—creative, right? 🙂

Whenever I travel, I view my journey as an opportunity to capture the scenery through my camera lens. This way, I can look back at my photos and say—well, that was pretty neat!

Whether you are on vacation or taking photos of the flowers in your backyard, here are a few tips that may help you achieve the photos you are looking for!

Don’t just point and shoot! Taking a photo is similar to shooting a gun (you know, just not  as dangerous). The shooter has to take time to aim the gun, or camera in this case, at the target he or she would like to shoot. And just as with hunting, it takes practice. Most people who try hunting or shooting a gun for the first time do not hit the bulls-eye on their first attempt, and that’s okay! You don’t have to be a pro right off the bat.  Same goes for photography. As a photographer, you may not get the shot you want on the first, second, or third try! Or maybe you will and you could give me some tips!

These are the tips I have for you:

  1. Look for color! Color brings emotion into a picture, and can make it more enjoyable to look at 🙂
  2. OR: Take a photo in black and white. You may appreciate this new perspective!
  3. Find a fun texture (like bark on a tree) and get a close up.
  4. Use natural lines to lead a viewer’s eye—like a trail or a bridge.
  5. Frame your subject using the branches or leaves on a tree! The subject could be your friend, a bench across the pond, or maybe a deer in the field.
  6. Shoot from a different perspective. Lie on the ground, step on a ladder, or create an angle you may not normally see!

Now if we want to make things a bit more technical, keep reading!



Rule of Thirds (above): Rather than placing your subject straight in the middle of the photo, move it to one of the intersection points on the grid below. This makes the viewers’ eyes travel farther across the photo and gives them more of an idea of what may be surrounding your subject!


Think of it this way…

Aperture is also referred to as the f-stop. Imagine the pupil of your eye—it grows as your eye is exposed to less light. Therefore, a large f-stop lets less light in.

If your eye is exposed to bright light, the pupil becomes smaller. The smaller the f-stop, the more light it is letting in! You can see the lens in this photo acting like the pupil of an eye.


Think of it this way…

ISO is like the curtain during a play. As the curtain (ISO) gets higher, the more light you are able to see. As the curtain (ISO) gets lower, the less light you are able to see.


Think of it this way…

The shutter acts like your eyelids.  If you are blinking quickly, your eyes are letting less light in. As you slow down your eyelids, more light is able to come through.

If your photo turns out dark, it needs more light. You will have to “blink slower,” or slow down your shutter speed. And if your photo is too bright, do just the opposite!


If you made it all the way to the end of my post, way to go! I hope you learned a little something about photography, because it can become a lifelong passion! 🙂


Abbie is a recent graduate of Augustana University, currently on the lookout for a job as a teacher in the Sioux Falls area. Abbie has spent the past three summers working as a naturalist intern at The Outdoor Campus. She enjoys the archery and paddling classes the most!


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