So you recently bought your first camera and lens, booked a wildlife photographic safari and are ready to photograph a whole coffee table book of stunning wildlife photographs in one trip! The only problem is that you think the “P” stands for Professional and the “A” for Amateur on the camera dial!
Here are some tips for any beginner photographer:
Focus on the eye
The viewer’s attention is always drawn to the eye of the subject. This is the strongest element in your photo that needs to be well illuminated and importantly, IN FOCUS. It’s the element that gives “life” to the subject.
Look for a plain background
Choosing the right background is one of the biggest considerations for the angle to photograph your subject at. The better you can separate your subject from the background the more striking it would be. This would keep the viewer’s attention ON the subject.
Compose! Not in the middle
Remember to consider composing your subject away from the centre of the frame, leaving it the theoretical space for the subject to look into or move into. Try to find elements in the opposite corner of the frame to balance your subject with.
Wait for good light
The photographs that stand out above the rest are the ones that have either captured incredible action, invoked an emotion by the viewer or have a wonderful mood and feel to it. One way to create mood and feel in a photo is to use spectacular light, the kind of light that you get in the first or last hour of sunlight.
When you capture a subject doing something interesting it can take a photo from ordinary to spectacular. A lion yawning, a bird lifting its wing during takeoff or a cheetah smiling. You have to patiently wait but be ready for a special moment that usually happens unexpectedly.
Make sure your subject is in focus!
Make sure that your subject is in focus and not the background. Change the setting of your camera to use a single autofocus point. Make sure that point is over your subject and so be in control of where the camera will focus.
Don’t forget about vertical compositions
Compose each photo – in nature some shapes and scenes lend themselves to a vertical composition. Turn your camera to 90 degrees and photograph in portrait mode. Tall animals like giraffe, head portraits of most animals, birds with long necks like flamingos and herons, and landscape scenes with significant clouds might all merit a vertical composition.
Get close, go wide
Use a wider lens to include the environment and get close to your subject to have it large in the frame.