Capturing the best photos with a camera or smartphone

MDC Regional Education Supervisor A.J. Hendershott shares some tips and tricks on how to get the best nature photos with a camera and a smartphone.
Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 10:35 AM CDT
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(KFVS) - Happy National Nature Photography Day!

Every year, June 15 is the day for hobby and professional photographers to shine with their beautiful outdoor photos of wildlife, landscapes or both.

Whether you use a smartphone, a camera with removable lenses or a digital camera, it is possible to take some beautiful snapshots.

Missouri Department of Conservation Regional Education Supervisor A.J. Hendershott suggests using whatever type of camera you are comfortable with and to try using some compositions elements to achieve the best results.

He said composition elements such as the rule of thirds, leading lines and the contrast of light and darkness can make all the difference.

Hendershott explained the rule of thirds as imagining a grid of three horizontal and vertical lines over the subject, placing the main object on one intersection of the lines and having other subjects at the other intersections to attract your eye.

“It also allows your eye to travel around,” said Hendershott. “If I’m gonna do a landscape, I might use the upper third or the lower third to put the horizon line on and that makes the photograph more interesting.”

Leading lines is a similar concept in attracting the eye. These draw the viewer in a specific direction and can lead their eyes to a particular part in the frame of the photo. Having subjects intersect, such as in an ‘x’, is one example to attract the eyes to a specific focus.

With outdoor photography, the time of day can also make a difference when it comes to light and darkness.

Hendershott says for softer light and not as harsh shadows, photographers will want to take their photos during the morning and evening hours.

The time of day can also be key in photographing wildlife. Some are more active and skittish during certain times.

No matter what your subject is, Hendershott says to be careful and to enjoy the outdoors.

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