Cameron Pearce, expert wildlife photographer and facilitator of our Photography Masterclass shares his top five photographic secrets to snap that perfect shot.
1. Don’t fear space
You don’t have to zoom in for that tightly cropped portrait with every shot you take. In fact, if you include more of the surrounding environment in your composition you will often end up telling a more complete story. Get out that wide-angle lens and show how your subject fits within its habitat! Your images can look and feel strange at first but stick to it and you will slowly start to feel more comfortable with this new concept. This works exceptionally well with moody skies in the background.
2. Get down low
When you get down onto ground level when shooting, you achieve two things. Firstly, you clear any distractions from the background, which allows your subject to completely stand out and steal the show. Secondly, most people see things from five feet up, so this low angle will be immediately more novel and interesting to the eye. Make sure you are lying comfortably enough to spend a long time down there. Lying on your front usually works best, so make sure you are wearing an old sweater!
3. Seek to capture interesting behaviour
Whilst everyone loves a portrait of a perfectly posing animal, the most interesting images often include some form of interaction. In order to capture these interactions and behaviours you will require some understanding of animal behaviour. Try to predict what the animals are going to do and where they are going to be. This will take the guesswork out of the equation and help you to improve your success rate.
4. Keep your finger on the trigger
How many times have you missed that once in a lifetime shot because your camera was off and sitting on your lap or in your bag? When out in the field I always make sure that I keep my camera on standby to make sure that it will be ready at a moment’s notice, especially when shooting action sequences. You should also check your settings regularly, especially when the light is constantly changing. Pay particular attention to exposure and white balance.
5. Don’t forget the basics
It’s amazing how often even experienced photographers forget the most simple of rules! Before each shooting session, make sure that your battery is fully charged and your memory card is empty. There is nothing more heart-breaking than missing out on that once in a lifetime shot when your battery runs flat or your card is full. A simple remedy to this is to carry both a spare battery and memory card in your bag.
Sign up today for your chance to work alongside Cameron, using his experience and expertise to take your wildlife and landscape photography to the next level.
Take our Photography Masterclass on Sunday 12 April from 10am-3pm. Or join Cameron for a 6 week Introduction to Nature and Wildlife Photography course starting on Monday 1 June.
27 March 2015