Nature never fails to inspire me. Being outdoors is when I feel at my most creative. It makes sense then that it is nature content that dominates my creative business.
My business, Hippy Highland Living, was inspired by my desire to share my lifestyle of living within the stunning Scottish Highlands. It felt selfish to keep all this wonder to myself. Although my content has changed over the years, since I started this venture in spring 2020, nature has always been the thread that holds it altogether.
In autumn 2021, I leant into this more, making the decision to focus on my Highland nature content, as this is what truly inspires me. To my surprise, this led to a rapid increase in Instagram followers and subsequent blog readers (read more about this here). It turns out, its not just me that is inspired by Scotland's nature.
Today, I thought I'd share my process when it comes to capturing content, i.e. photos and videos, for my creative business.
It is a myth that you need lots of expensive kit to capture beautiful content. All of my photos/videos are filmed and edited on my phone (Samsung FE) and it suits my purpose perfectly. I recently invested in a tripod, but even this wasn't very expensive.
As I often create nature content when out on longer walks, I ensure that my kit is as lightweight as possible, as no-one wants a heavy rucksack to put them off! Use what you have already and let nature's beauty shine through.
As we are working outdoors, this means we are reliant on natural light for all of our footage. This is no bad thing, as it is often the best quality light for your images, compared to artificial light. However, this does mean that we are at the mercy of the elements, which can be a tad frustrating!
My advice is to have a range of content ideas that you would like to capture and would work in various weathers. Perhaps save that castle shot for a moody day and that picnic in the forest for a sunny afternoon that will provide the perfect dappled light. Even if the light is fairly terrible, I advice you get out anyway. You may be surprised at what you can capture and, if nothing else, its an excuse to go for a walk in nature!
Where to go for content
You don't need to go far to get content. I am privileged to live in the Highlands, but you can really find wonderful nature moments everywhere. Sometimes, it is the places that you least expect to encounter nature that is the most inspiring e.g., wildlife creeping into our urban places.
f you do want to go further afield, it may be worth doing some research before hand. A good idea is to aim for somewhere that would give you a variety of shots, such as a walk that encompasses different habitat types e.g. coastal, forest, meadow etc. You can Google your local walks and check the images to get an idea of the type of content you can capture.
I would also advice trying to collect content when its likely to be quieter as lots of people around can often ruin your shot and, if your anything like me, make you feel a tad self-conscious!
Type of content
I always get a range of content on my walks to suit different purposes. For instance, I like to post to my Instagram stories more or less in real time, to give followers an unedited insight into my day. I keep my best photos to edit later as social media feed posts and photos for my blog. Much of my content is focused on Instagram reels, so I make sure to get plenty of videos that I can edit later.
Make your content stand out
Although nature will always look beautiful, in the over-saturated internet, it can be difficult for your content to stand out. Its important to tell a story with your work. This will make it much easier for people to engage as you want to stir their emotions. Try and get an interesting angle or include an unexpected reveal in your video. When editing, ensure that you polish your images and, if it is video content, adding emotive audio can be really powerful.
Put yourself in the frame. This doesn't mean lots of poses of yourself in nature, unless that's what you want of course! It can be more subtle, like a photo of your feet in snow or hand holding a flower. Use a prop such as steaming tea from a thermos or a book you have dog-eared. Invite people into these moments.
Want more inspiration?
I've recently launched a brand new digital Instagram toolkit, that I have created specifically for content creators who want to authentically grow their audience.
My Instagram handbook for content creators covers how and when you can use the various Instagram tools and guides you in the creation of an Instagram strategy. My guide to Instagram reels goes into the nitty gritty on how to make reels that will drastically grow your following, as it did for me. You can use my content calendar templates to plan you content and get these for free if you subscribe to my mailing list. Access all these digital products on my store.
The ultimate upside to nature content creation is it gets you outdoors. Don't ever let the pressure of getting content take away from these experiences. Sometimes a perfect moment is for you alone, rather than the camera. Cherish it and then walk away content.