Photographing Nature with Your Digital Camera

Photographing Nature with Your Digital Camera

Discover how your nature photos can become works of art rather than just snapshots. This course will help you explore composition and lighting as you master your digital camera's controls and features to take exceptional nature photos in no time.

6 Weeks Access / 24 Course Hrs
  • Details
  • Syllabus
  • Requirements
  • Instructor



Nature photography can be a fun, relaxing, and exciting hobby! In this course, you'll learn about the many aspects of outdoor photography as well as how to master your digital camera's controls and features. With the knowledge you gain in this course, you'll be taking exceptional nature photos in no time.

You'll explore composition and lighting issues and find out how to take beautiful photos of landscapes, flowers, trees, and water. Along the way, you'll delve into your camera's shutter speed and aperture controls so that you'll be able to capture the photos you really want. You will discover how to use your computer to process your photos and digitally correct the most common problems. You'll see how your photos can become works of art rather than just snapshots of nature. By the end of this course, you'll have become the nature photographer you always wanted to be!


In this first lesson, you'll explore what makes nature photography an exciting and joyful hobby. You'll do fun exercises that help you focus on the details in the world around you. You'll delve into the concepts of composition, form, shape, and contrast. Finally, you'll go on a digital journey to one of the coolest places in the world!

Nothing could be more important to a photographer than light, right? So, in this lesson, you'll to explore how to work with different kinds of sunlight, use fill flash, and photograph the sun. The lesson will talk about using the rule of thirds to compose attractive photos, and you'll also take a look at three cool natural forms that make great patterns to photograph. Light + composition + natural forms = the next step in your development as a nature photographer!

Landscapes are a pleasure to photograph, so you'll explore how to make landscape photos that are a pleasure to look at, too! In this lesson, you'll figure out how to manage aperture settings and depth of field to get the most from your landscapes, and then you'll realize the benefits of focal points and vantage points. You'll also receive some tips to help you spice up landscapes that are flat or lack obvious details.

Nature is full of interesting subjects to photograph, and flowers and trees are two of the best, so get ready to experiment photographically with a variety of textures, patterns, and colors! You'll start this lesson with the basics of photographing flowers, and then move on to explore advanced techniques the pros use. You'll also gain an appreciation for the ways trees can communicate feeling and practice photographing them in a way that evokes the specific feeling of a season or place. You'll discover the joys of trying unexpected perspectives as you take your photos.

Water is a fun subject to photograph, but it does present some challenges that you'll tackle in this lesson. You'll learn how to use your camera to compose photographs of large bodies of water (like oceans and lakes), and then receive some fun tips for taking effective shots of streams and rivers. You'll also get better acquainted with your shutter-speed settings and practice controlling them to blur or freeze action to create interesting effects.

Telephoto equipment can help you get close to subjects that are far away or too dangerous to approach, thus giving you access to an otherwise inaccessible natural world. That's why, in this lesson, you'll investigate the ways telephoto equipment can enhance your experience of nature photography. You'll find out how your camera and lenses handle magnification and gain an understanding of how to work effectively with a telephoto lens. Then, you'll turn your attention to composing telephoto shots, and you'll practice photographing clouds, the moon, and the stars. Whether you're already working with a telephoto lens, want to buy one, or prefer to stick with the zoom lens on your consumer camera, this lesson will help you gain confidence in the telephoto realm.

Large animal photography, as you might expect, can be a lot of fun and very exciting! In this lesson, you'll explore how to get the best photographs of large animals, whether domesticated or in the wild. You'll photograph single animals, groups, and animals in zoos and other captive areas. You'll also learn how to get pets to cooperate for a photo shoot!

In this lesson, you'll delve into strategies for photographing small animals in the wild, including reptiles and other sneaky creatures. The lesson will discuss common composition, angle, and lighting issues you're going to be wrestling with. You'll learn tricks for photographing small animals at zoos, including animals in terrariums and aquariums. You'll also receive tips for photographing your small pet, including how to keep your pet's attention and what to do to avoid getting an ugly yellow color cast in your photos when shooting pet portraits indoors.

In this lesson, you'll learn about the challenges of photographing birds and the techniques for overcoming those challenges. Birds in flight, for example, can be tough to handle, because you have to be fast on the draw with your camera's settings and manage backlighting to prevent exposure problems. You'll learn to deal with these issues and get started setting up a bird photo studio in your own backyard, which you can use to practice all of your bird photography skills year-round.

In this lesson, you'll delve into macro photography, which you'll use to document some of the smallest creatures in the natural world. You'll sort through your equipment options, ranging from inexpensive attachments to more expensive options like macro lenses. You'll also investigate the particular challenges of exposure, shutter speed, and depth of field. Finally, you'll take a look at a collection of macro photos and learn what works and what doesn't.

Photo-editing software gives you the opportunity to correct common photography problems and enhance photos creatively. Need to fix a blemish, crop a photo, or adjust the color? In this lesson, you'll find out how to make these quick fixes. Then, you'll turn your attention to more advanced functions, like using layers and masks to make complex edits. You'll finish up by exploring some of the just-for-fun options of photo-editing software, like special-effects filters and using layers to add text. If you're not already working with photo-editing software, you'll receive a link to a free program you can download in order to explore the techniques taught in the lesson.

This lesson will wrap things up with a fun exploration of the creative possibilities of abstract nature photos. You'll expand your understanding of subjects and composition and see how abstract photos work to achieve a specific effect or feeling. The discussion will end with a tour through a gallery of abstract photos, and you'll see a final entry in a photo journal from Tulum, Mexico—a favorite spot for photographers.



There are no prerequisites to take this course.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.


Curt Simmons

Curt Simmons, B.A., M.Ed, is a best-selling author, trainer, and multi-media expert. He holds degrees in English and communication studies and has more than 10 years of experience teaching English and writing in the classroom. Additionally, Simmons has authored numerous books on a wide variety of technology topics and has been a technical editor for numerous other titles.

Self-Guided Course Code: T9599
Instructor-Moderated Course Code: pnt