Tips and Tricks to Improve your Wildlife Photography

by Udo Kieslich, senior lecturer at the College of Digital Photography

Prepare an equipment checklist – this will help make sure you don’t forget essentials like tripod, lenses, extension tubes, batteries, filters, memory cards, flash, Lenspen, camera manual etc.

Leopard

Leopard

Be prepared – always have your camera and lenses ready, and make sure all your equipment is working. The night before your game drive check / reset your camera settings (White Balance, ISO, exposure compensation, file size, quality setting). Make sure your equipment is clean and that the batteries are fully charged. Always have spare memory cards and ideally even a storage device to download your images onto. You can never predict when something amazing might happen.

Be patient – it is very difficult to speed up or slow down nature, and without patience you will struggle to get good results. You often need to remain very still for an extended period of time before the animal starts behaving naturally. Very occasionally you’ll capture something unique at your first sighting of the animal, but most of the time you just have to be patient.

Research the area you’ll be visiting – check the sunrise and sunset times so you can decide on the optimum locations for each time of the day.

Photograph normal behaviour – wildlife photography does not always have to be of spectacular animal behaviour. Just seeing normal animal behaviour in a natural environment can make a great photograph.

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Creating Photographs with Impact

By Carl Botha – Senior Lecturer at the College of Digital Photography

Tip 1: Simplify

One of the easiest and probably most effective ways of creating an eye-catching image is by ‘getting in closer’. By getting closer you eliminate a lot of unnecessary information making for a striking, simple yet powerful image.

Tip 2: See the light

Undoubtedly the most important ‘ingredient’ in any great photographic image is light and by better understanding and using light, you will find a marked improvement in your photography.

Consider that light has colour and start looking for it. Between about 10am and 3pm sunlight loses most of its colour becoming clean, white and boring. Natural light changes colour throughout the day, which is the reason why we prefer to make photos early in the morning or late in the afternoon, to capture the colour of the light. Early morning light has some wonderful pastels like peach, pink and sometimes a bit of magenta, whereas late afternoon light is rich in warm yellows and golden oranges. Often these colours can become the very reason for wanting to capture an image.

Tip 3: Make use of colour

We know that light has colour, but were also surrounded by colour. Think about how we use colour in our daily lives, how it is infused in our language to describe feelings. We have all heard about someone feeling blue or about seeing red when we get angry. Colours are very closely associated with moods and emotions. Try using colours that add emotion to your image. Some emotive colour associations :

Using colour and comisition to create Impact

Using colour and composition to create Impact

Blue – Feelings of melancholy, feeling blue, singing the blues and the ever popular ‘Blue Monday”

Red – Passion, stop signs and danger

Orange – The colour of fire and warmth

Green – Freshness, nature and fertility, often used in scenes with ‘zen like’ calmness

Yellow – The first colour we humans notice or see, very lively and almost grabs the eye

Brown – Earthy, nature and associated with wood and trees, very neutral

Grey – The most neutral colour, enhances colours used with it, feelings of dreariness or depression Read more »