Guide to Landscape Photography with Becky Hatwell
If you’re a fan of our iconic sock boxes, you’ll love Becky Hatwell’s art and photography. Becky is the artist behind many of our favourite designs and amateur photographer in her spare time. As World Environment Day is coming up soon, we asked Becky to create a guide to landscape and nature photography. Keep reading to discover Becky’s top tips…
Tips for taking nature photos on your doorstep.
It seems in the time that we’re in, we’re all appreciating the outdoors a great deal more. We don’t have a garden in our North London flat so I’ve been appreciating the short walk to Hackney Marshes, and Walthamstow Wetlands. It always helps me feel more present to be so close to nature and I’ve been taking the time to look around as the season has changed and the pace has slowed.
I also use this time to take photos as inspiration for my abstract art, whether that is a texture of a tree, or a colour combination. You don’t have to live in an area of outstanding natural beauty or have an amazing camera to take a decent photo in nature. If you’re looking for some ways to improve your photo taking, here are my little tips:
1. You don’t need an expensive camera
You don’t need an amazing professional camera to feel inspired. Smart phone photos are amazing quality. Or why not experiment with film? You can order disposable cameras online. It’s always a surprise once you get them developed.
2. Be present and observant
Notice your surroundings, and actively be more observant. You’ll be surprised by what you might see. Go for a 15 minute walk near your house, or in your garden. Look at the texture detail on the trees. Can you see any birds or insects? What wild flowers are growing at the moment? What is that reflection in the river?
3. Look for the details at different eye levels and distances
Some of the most interesting elements are often found lower down or up high, up close or further away. The sky can also be beautiful in itself at sunrise or sunset. If you have kids, it’s great to explore what’s on their level. When taking a shot up close, press your phone screen on the part you want to draw out, e.g flower head – this is an important step as the depth of field is very shallow and only a small portion of the image may be in focus. Sometimes the closer you get, the more abstract your subject might be, so have a play!
Or if you live by the sea, have you ever noticed the textures on the rocks or the reflections in the water at sunset?
4. Lighting is key!
Early morning or later in the evening are my favourite times to be out taking little snaps, or finding inspiration. This time is called golden hour as the light is warmer and softer. The beautiful shadows that you get that are cast on trees or on the ground.
If you are out during the day – make sure it is a bit overcast with clouds. Sunshine will create harsh shadows and over expose the white in your photos, which aren’t possible to change afterwards. If you have an iPhone, you can tap & drag to increase or decrease exposure before you take a photo.
Or do what I do sometimes, and forage a few wild or dried flowers on your walk, and arrange them in a vase at home to practice your photo taking in different light instead!
5. Rule of thirds and composition
If you are lucky enough to have beautiful landscapes near to you, then I recommend the rule of thirds when it comes to the composition. The rule of thirds involves mentally dividing up your image using a grid as shown below. You then position the important elements in your scene along those lines, or at the points where they meet. So for a landscape I would have the sky as one third, and the mountain as two thirds, for example. This creates a more natural, balanced composition to look at. Negative space can also work well in this rule to, in order to emphasise a subject. I love using negative space!
6. Don’t over-edit!
Last but not least, if you capture your photos in better lighting, and thinking of composition up front, you shouldn’t need to do lots of editing. Let the nature speak for itself! I use VSCO if I’ve taken the photo on my phone. It allows to do small edits to colour and crop if needed.
The photos I take in nature have always informed my abstract artwork. Even the light that comes in my window makes me stop and take a moment to look at how lovely it is. There is a beautiful source of inspiration right on our doorstep if you take the time to observe. Happy photo taking – you never know what it might inspire you to do!
Follow Becky on Instagram for more photography and art inspiration…
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It was strange feeling standing on these beautiful beaches in Tasmania with rocks covered in orange lichen, and thinking to myself this is the most southern point I’ve ever been in the world.✨ . . I’ve not been on here in a while… but I most certainly have been taking in all the colours in as many different landscapes as possible. ⛰ . . . . . #minute16 #creative_mag #ontheroadagain #sketchbook_musing #contemporaryart #artistsofinstagram #beckyhatwell #dailycollector #emergingartist #onlocation #abstract_masters #abstract #aestheticamagazine #detailshot #contemporarypainter #artcollector #fineart #supportlocalartists #melbourneartist #londonartist #art #abstractart #natureinspired #wineglassbay #tasmania #freycinetnationalpark