Most people plan their safaris meticulously. They book their accommodation way in advance, make sure all their gear is packed, and ensure that all food and beverage supplies are taken care of. Some even have checklists, making sure that all the correct things are packed and ready for use once they’ve arrived at their destination.
Not that there is anything wrong with that of course, but what about your photography? You arrive at the game reserve, take out your camera, make sure you’re on ‘auto’ and start snapping as many photos as you can. Some of you might even venture onto the more advanced features like ‘sports’ or ‘landscape’ mode and be the envy of your friends.
Then there are the seasoned photographers. Those are the ones that generally don’t have space for the ‘braai box’ as it might interfere with the space where the 400mm lens is packed. These are the guys and girls that have their images splashed on websites, published in magazines and printed as fine art.
So what sets these people apart from the rest? The answer is a thorough understanding of the equipment they use along with a lot of patience and practice. Most cameras have features and functionality, which give the opportunity to take some amazing photos. However, if you don’t understand how to use your equipment, what is the point? There are way too many amateur photographers out there who try their luck on holiday without learning how their camera works and practising techniques before they go away.
Fortunately, help is at hand. Big 5 Photos offers photographic tuition and teaches people how to take better photos. We strive to help you to understand how your camera equipment works and to give you insights into various techniques to make your photography more successful. Here are some of the key points that we teach:
1. The exposure triangle
Understanding the fine balance between aperture value, shutter speed and ISO is the base for all photography. All have an integral part to play in your final image, and making sure that you understand how they influence each other will help you to achieve better results immediately.
2. Exposure compensation
An extremely useful ally when using the aperture or shutter priority modes. Camera metering systems are always programmed to compare light readings to ‘middle grey’. Using the exposure compensation feature is an easy way to make sure that your subject is always cast in the correct light.
The most important aspect of any photograph is the ability to focus correctly. Sharp autofocus on the correct area of the image is vitally important. Along with that, using the correct autofocus mode to suit the type of photograph you are taking is crucial, making sure you use the correct techniques to match the type of image you’re trying to capture.
Technology changes all the time and the world of photography is no different. Staying abreast of things and making sure that you understand how new technology can improve your photography is as important as understanding the basics.
There are certain golden rules that should never be broken. All award-winning photos have a few things in common. It’s not by mistake that these compositional elements are in place either. Make sure that you influence your own unique style by respecting the rules, and understand when it’s acceptable to break them.
Apart from the five key points above, we go through many more aspects of photography to ensure that you have a solid platform and the confidence to take beautiful images. For more information or to join one of our courses, please check out www.big5photos.com.
There are six Wildlife Photographic Courses from Big 5 Photos up for grabs in the Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year competition – click here for more details or to enter your images!