Ranger Rick, Ranger Rick Jr

Improve Your Photography

Want to get some great nature photos? Just grab a camera and follow these easy tips!

Ranger Rick
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Average Rating:
Participant Age: Under 7, 7 to 12, 12 and up
Approximate Cost: $10 to $100, Over $100
Duration: 1 to 60 minutes, Over an hour
Difficulty:
Physical Challenge:
  • Camera
Fit the SHAPE.
  • Think of your camera’s viewfinder as a picture frame. Try to match the frame to the shape of your subject.
  • If you have an up-and-down subject, don’t hold the camera in the "normal" way (like the smaller photo on the left). Turn your camera side-ways to fit the shape of your subject.

Get the LIGHT RIGHT.
  • If you shoot toward the sun, your subject may come out too dark (like the smaller photo on the left).
  • Shoot with the sun behind you or to the side and the subject will come out just right.

Seek cloudy weather.
  • If you shoot in bright, midday sun, your photo may have lots of glare and dark shadows (below left).
  • Wait for a cloud to come along, or shoot early or late in the day. That will "soften" the glare and shadows for a more pleasing photo (below right).

Fill the frame.
  • Small things can "disappear" if you shoot from too far away (below left).
  • "Supersize" your subject by using your camera’s zoom or by moving closer (below right).

Cut the clutter.
  • Check all parts of your frame before you shoot. Watch for stuff that doesn’t belong—and takes attention away from your subject (below left).
  • Move your subject (or yourself) or zoom in to get a simpler, uncluttered background (below right).

Go low.
  • Got a subject at ground level? Aiming down (lower left) might be OK, but . . .
  • . . . it’s usually better to get down on your knees or even your belly and go eye to eye (lower right).

Catch the moment.
  • Think you have a good shot lined up? Go ahead and shoot (lower left). But then wait a moment.
  • With patience, you may turn a good shot into a great one (lower right). Try to catch that magical moment!

Once you have a great photo, enter it into a photo contest!

For kids - try Ranger Rick's photo contest.

For adults - try the National Wildlife magazine photo contest (open spring and summer).


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