Summer is a great time to get outside with kids and enjoy nature. And taking photos is a fun way to encourage kids to engage with the environment around them and keep them entertained for many hours. Even with only basic equipment, such as a smartphone, it is possible to take truly stunning nature photos. Read these photography tips, and then venture outside to get some Facebook-worthy photos!

1. Be Observant

It’s not necessary to go to a national park to take beautiful nature photos. A simple forest trail or even a suburban backyard contain plenty of interesting subjects to photograph. With a perspective closer to the ground than that of adults, kids are often fantastic at spotting details that adults miss. Encourage them to take close-up pictures of plants and bugs at ground level or to point the camera at the sky to capture birds flying overhead.

2. Use the Golden Hour

The right lighting is essential for taking a good nature photo. The best way to guarantee good lighting is to head out during the “golden hour,” which occurs just after dawn and before sunset. If it is only possible to get outside during the middle of the day, look for shady spots, which make it possible to take photographs without bright sunlight giving them a washed-out appearance.

3. Hold It Steady

If a camera or phone moves while the shutter is open, the photograph will come out blurry. This is most likely to happen in low light, when the camera needs to open the shutter for longer to collect enough light. One way to counteract the wobble is to use a tripod to hold the phone or camera steady. If the kids can’t touch the tripod-mounted phone to trigger the shutter without moving it, plug in some earphones and use the volume button to snap a shot.

4. Compose Photos Carefully

There is a rule that photographers use to compose great images. It’s called the rule of thirds. Rather than placing the subject right in the middle of a shot, try placing it roughly one third of the way along the photograph. Add more interest to the photo by including some other interesting features to frame the main subject such as tree branches or leaves. Teaching kids to follow these rules could allow them to snap better nature photos, which could encourage them to develop a lasting interest in photography.

5. Pay Attention to Patterns and Textures

Some of the best nature photos don’t have a particularly unusual subject. Instead, they find the beauty in the everyday environment. Look for interesting textures and patterns in tree bark, dead leaves, moss, or even muddy puddles on the ground. Sometimes, these seemingly mundane shots can be the most beautiful.

6. Be Patient

The best nature photographs can’t be forced. It is not possible to make a beautiful butterfly land on a delicate flower at just the right angle to ensure the perfect shot. However, photographers who wait patiently and quietly might find that the butterfly decides to land there all by itself. Similarly, kids who sit quietly might get a chance to photograph birds and small animals close up. Nature photography can be a great way to teach kids patience, which is likely to serve them in many areas of life.

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