6 photography tips from a photographer with MS

It's a beautiful time of year in the UK, with flowers and greenery springing up all over. This National Gardening Week, we'd love to see your nature photos.

Will you help flood social media with beautiful images of the outdoors? We'd love to see all your photos, whether you've taken some recently on a socially distant walk or have some from before lockdown.

Not sure where to start? Our photographer Rebecca has some top tips for taking blooming lovely photos.

Being a photographer with MS

Hello, I'm Rebecca Cresta. I’m a freelance photographer and two years ago I was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS. I work a lot with the MS Society and it’s been a real thrill seeing, first hand, what incredible work they do to help people like me.

With the unpredictable nature of MS, I can’t say what the future holds. So I make the most of life right now and that includes taking lots (and lots) of photos. Here are my tips for making beautiful images.

1. Work with the light

In photography there's much talk about the 'golden hour' which is the time around sunrise and sunset where the sunlight is soft and low. Of course, those times of day aren't always convenient so work with what you have. You may want to avoid the middle of a sunny day where the light and shadows are harsh

Poppy in natural light 

If the weather is overcast, you can use clouds to your advantage. Close ups of wildflowers are often better off with a cloudy sky as it helps gets rid of those harsh shadows and bright spots.

Although if you want to include some sky in your photos, you can't beat a blue sky with fluffy clouds!

2. What's in your frame?

Unlike portrait photography, when you're photographing nature you really can get up close and personal and capture great detail in plants and flowers, without making your subject feel uncomfortable.

Have fun experimenting with angles to make your images more interesting. For wider shots you could think about shooting through other plants, so that you have out-of-focus flowers in the foreground. Or maybe there's an archway that you could use to frame your shot.

Make sure you keep an eye on what's in the background of your photos though. You don't want to get home and go through them to find a litter bin spoiling the view!

3. Follow the 'rule of thirds'

Have you ever noticed in photos that the main focus or subject is to the side rather than slap bang in the middle? This is because the photographer has followed the 'rule of thirds' in their composition. Many believe this rule helps make photos more aesthetically pleasing.

Rule of thirds

To use it in your work, imagine 2 horizontal and 2 vertical lines, evenly spaced in your frame, dividing it into 9 sections. Where the lines cross is where you should think about placing your features.

4. Use a shallow depth of field

You don't have to have an expensive camera to take a great photo. Phone cameras have come a long way. But if you have a camera with a manual setting, you can try using a shallow depth of field. This is the effect you see when part of your image is sharp and the rest is soft and out of focus.

 Wheat in autumn

For this you'll need a wide aperture (which is a low 'f' number such as f/2.8 or f/4). You'll need to adjust your ISO and shutter speed to make sure your your shots have the correct exposure.

5. Enjoy the process

When you're trying to capture the perfect photo it's easy to get caught up in the technical and forget to enjoy your environment.

 Woman being photographed

Spending time in nature is a privilege, anything can happen if you're watching closely. Enjoy the moment and appreciate your surroundings.

6. Practice makes perfect

Like many things in life, practice makes perfect. Photography is one of those activities that you will only improve, the more you do it.

Remember safety first, don't forget to stick to the COVID-19 social distancing and hygiene guidelines when you're out snapping.

  • Be aware of people around you so you can all stay a safe social distance of 2 metres apart
  • Wipe down your camera or smart phone and wash your hands regularly

Don’t forget to share your photos with us @mssocietyuk on Twitter and Instagram!

Happy snapping!