Will Burrard-Lucas is a wildlife photographer from the UK, best known for using cutting-edge technologies to achieve fresh perspectives in his work. When he is not photographing exotic creatures in far-flung places, he can be found developing devices and training resources to help others take better photographs of wildlife.
By signing up to his free wildlife photography course you get instant access to his ebook: Ten Things you can do Right Now to Improve your Wildlife Photography!
Here is a summary of Will Burrad-Lucas’ tips to set you on your way to becoming Africa Geographic’s Photographer of the Year, as well as a selection of entries that we think are getting it right thus far!
1. Get low
A good wildlife photograph is rarely taken looking down at the subject. The camera is almost always on the same level as the subject or lower.
2. Keep your shutter speed up
Most of the time, wildlife is photographed with a telephoto lens. Long lenses exaggerate camera shake because a small movement of the camera results in a large movement of the picture frame. You, therefore, need to use a faster shutter speed to get sharp shots.
3. Focus on the eyes
You’ve probably already heard that you should focus on the eyes. Eye contact can help the viewer to connect with the subject.
4. Shoot in RAW and understand your histogram
It is important to get your exposure correct because with wildlife you may not get a second chance if you mess it up! One of the most important things you can do is shoot in RAW not JPG. This will ensure your camera maintains details in the shadows and highlights, so that you can darken or brighten the image later if necessary.
5. Light is key
Good light can turn an average photo into an extraordinary photo. The best time for photographing wildlife is around sunrise and sunset.
6. Consider the background
The background can often make or break a photo. Make sure it is clear of any distractions, such as bright spots or messy foliage, and ensure your subject stands out from the background and is attractively framed if possible.
7. Leave space around your subject
Leaving space around your subject allows you to use elements of the landscape to frame your subject, show the animal in its environment and perfect your composition by cropping later.
8. Spend longer with your subject
The longer your spend with an animal, the more chance you have of witnessing (and capturing on camera) something special. In addition, once you have taken the obvious shots, you will become more creative as you try to find new photographs to take.
9. Be prepared
This starts with knowing your gear. You should understand the main features of your camera and how they work so that in the field you can adjust your settings without having to think about them. You also should research your location and your subject. If you have a good understanding of these, you will be able to start predicting behaviour.
10. Process your images
Unfortunately, in reality, the images you get straight out of your camera are not as good as they could be. You really need to tweak aspects such as saturation, colours, brightness and contrast in order to get them to pop.
For more information on each of these points, sign up for Will’s free wildlife photography course now and get instant access to this ebook. You can also keep up with Will on Twitter and Instagram for more of his amazing imagery and advice!