They say it’s better to give than receive, and that’s true … to a point. But sometimes Santa doesn’t have a solid feel for what a nature photographer needs as a Christmas gift (and it’s hard to expect a lot in the way of giving from people who don’t really understand nature photography). So here are some Christmas gifts that you can put under the Christmas tree for yourself, or treat yourself to once the holidays are over.
This might be a good time to think about any software needs or upgrades that you’ve been dreaming of. Adobe Lightroom is a great way to process and organize your photos, while Adobe Photoshop is the classic solution for image editing and manipulation. They’re not inexpensive – Lightroom retails for around $300, while Photoshop retails for more than $600, though upgrade prices are much less – which is all the more reason you may have to get the programs for yourself, rather than wait for some generous Christmas gift-giver.
It may be a little early, but you might want to start looking at the role an Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy, or some other tablet device may have in your future. It’s a great way to showcase your photography, especially if you want to impress a colleague or a potential client. Each device has its pluses and minuses, but one thing is for sure: tablet technology is here to stay. If you’re an early adopter, now is the time.
You can break this into two categories. First, think about any magazines that would help you understand nature photography, and provide excellent ideas for photos – or just a chance to learn from the professionals. There’s always the tried-and-true National Geographic, but also keep Outdoor Photographer in mind. It not only has great examples of nature photography, but news, tips, locations and other information that will make you a better shooter.
Reference and reading
A number of books will be helpful to nature photographers of any skill level, but here are some good places to start:
- John Shaw’s Nature Photography Field Guide. This book combines beautiful nature photography with instructional information for all levels.
- John Shaw’s Business of Nature Photography. Shaw, who has written a number of nature photography books, offers his advice and perspective about becoming a professional outdoor photographer.
- The National Audubon Society Guide to Landscape Photography. Written for either hobbyists or professionals, it offers step-by-step instructions in methods for capturing the natural beauty of landscape. It combines technical information with tips and strategies.
- The Photoshop Darkroom: Creative Digital Post-Processing. Photoshop is a huge part of any photographer’s skill set, and this book combines practical tips and lessons with an emphasis on digital photography.
- Galen Rowell’s Inner Game of Outdoor Photographer. Legendary outdoor photographer Galen Rowell provides a rare mix of breathtaking photography, well-crafted essays and valuable information.