The Africa’s Photographer of the Year competition is only halfway through and there is still a chance to win the grand prize! In light of this we have compiled 10 top photography tips to assist you in creating the ideal composition to enter into our next category. Capturing the perfect moment is more difficult than it seems, especially in the wild where you have no control of your subject. However, with these tips, you’re bound to find the right moment and get through to the essence of Africa. We’ve used some of the entries for the Wildlife Portraits category to celebrate the work that has been done so far.
Photo Credit: David Cox
Make sure that you do all the research possible before the actual shoot. When you know where the animals will be, what their most interesting characteristics are and what time of day is best for venturing out, you are prepared for a more lengthy shoot where you can take your time to get it right, instead of anxiously trying to capture anything that appears.
Photo Credit: Gianluca Frolli
Being patient is the best way to get the right shot. This doesn’t mean that you need to wait all day for the photo to come together. You can snap away and get as much content as possible but this requires patience; knowing that you’re not going to get the perfect photo right away and editing that down to the final one.
Photo Credit: Stefano Ravalli
When judging the quality of a photograph, originality plays a big factor. Anyone can take a photo of something if they know how to use a camera but only a few people know how to turn that photo into something special. If you need to edit the photo to do this, then do, but overdoing the concept can also turn problematic. Focus on how you’re framing something, the colours involved and what makes it special.
Photo Credit: Kim Richardson
They tricky thing about photography tips is that they can only guide you so far in your creative process. While technique can be learned, creativity can arguably not be. Something you can control, however, is your camera and its lenses. To shoot further you simply need longer lenses and this will aid you massively in capturing smaller creatures as well as ones that are very far away.
Photo Credit: Tina Antrobus
In order to make your pictures more interesting than the next person’s, your subjects need to sparkle with character. This can be a moment captured on the fly or simply a way of framing the animal so that they appear to have a personality. People love to see animals display endearing actions or showing human-like emotion.
Photo Credit: Thorsten Hanewald
Showing context to your photos creates a bigger story around them. The habitat of wild creatures is also quite important to their attributes as it gives a viewer the insight they need to imagine the scene. A lack of context can also be used on purpose, however, to show patterns and design a more stylized picture.
Photo Credit: Martin Perea
Sometimes simpler scenes are better in terms of showcasing the animal in its natural state. Many photography tips seem to suggest that showing your subject in the middle of chaos can be interesting but it could also turn messy. Try to eliminate any elements that don’t speak to your vision for the photograph.
Photo Credit: Matrishva Vyas
Most people assume that photographs of the Big 5 are the ones that will win the competition, and while of course they very well could, it is also interesting to see something that is rarely done. Photograph an animal that is perhaps a rare sighting or one that people simply need to see in a different way to pay attention to. You can control the narrative through your camera.
Photo Credit: Stephan Averbeck
It makes it easier to create a natural scene when your subject is in action. Try to capture them when they are in the process of movement or when they are interacting with other animals. This solves the problem of creating an interesting narrative and means that there’s no need to interfere by making anything feel artificial.
Photo Credit: Dirk Johnen
Lighting is the basis of photography and the best light is normally in the late afternoon, which is why filmmakers call it ‘The Golden Hour’. Wildlife also looks best either silhouetted or naturally lit up by the sun. Their attributes, shapes and environments are most intriguing when attempting to capture them so it wouldn’t make sense to capture them in complete darkness or in artificial light.
Read more from last year’s African Photographer of the Year, Clement Kiragu who walks you through his photography tips for taking the winning portrait.
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