What images are YOU looking to create?

Johan van Zyl All Authors, Johan Leave a Comment

Whilst sitting with one of our clients shortly before she was due to head off on a Private Photographic Safari, I asked her “What images are you looking to create on this trip”? Her response was so refreshing to hear, because she actually had a clear plan or vision of what she wanted to create!

Think about this for a second, what value is there in a photographic guide sitting in a sighting with you telling you exactly what all your settings should be?  Yes, rough guidelines along shutter speed etc, but unless you have told your photographic guide what images you are looking to create, you are potentially  creating the same images as what he is.  Firstly there is almost zero knowledge to be gained from this, as you are just following instructions instead of thoroughly understanding how all the technical elements come together.  Secondly, you are not creating the images YOU want, you are creating the same images as everyone else, which might feel a bit monotonous at the end of the day.

Now as we all know, the animals don’t always, in fact, hardly ever do what we want them to do!  But my point here is if you plan properly for your safari and know what you are looking to create, we will help you to achieve your vision and the result should be rewarding…

So how do we go about planning your images?

1.  Destination

You may often hear the phrase; ‘position, position, position’, well, quite frankly applies here: ‘destination, destination, destination’!  This is one of the most crucial elements for you to decide, based on what you are looking to create.  For example, if you are specifically looking for that epic shot of an Elephant standing on its back legs to get to the nutritious Winter Thorn pods, you are not going to go to Sabi Sands… but the renowned Mana Pools.  If you are looking to Photograph the masses of Wildebeest and Zebra at the Great Migration, you are not going to book a trip to Madikwe Game Reserve…  Make sense?  Point being, do some research on destinations or speak to someone who is a professional in the industry to make sure you have the best chance to create the experience and images you are after.

2.  Gear

All too often we look for the biggest lens, because bigger is better right?  There is a famous saying; “If you do what you’ve always done, you will get what you always got“.  So, once again, it is important to know what images you are looking to create so that your gear and lens choice compliments it.  If you are looking to photograph more animals in their environment, then a wider angle lens or 70-200 might be a good bet for you.  If you are looking to photograph more close up portraits, then a bigger zoom will be necessary, maybe a 400-600mm lens.  This doesn’t mean you have to go out and spend fortunes, you can simply make use of rentals to try and capture those different types of images.

3.  Look at other photographs

This might seems obvious and almost unavoidable given the social media that surrounds us on a daily basis, but by looking at other people’s images, your creative juices will also start to flow.  You might choose a couple of elements from one image and combine it with another.  It is great way to get both technical and creative ideas.  As I elaborate in my descriptions below, I was hoping for a single yet bold subject, with a basic fore or background.

Every day, as soon as my Mac goes into “sleep” mode, this image comes up.  It’s an image that has crabbed me from day one, and one that I would love to capture one day.

Not quite a Leopard in a Baobab, but because I had that picture in my head, when I saw this scene in front of me, I had a good idea of what I wanted to create.

Get in touch with the Wild Eye Team if there are any images in particular you are looking to create, and we can help you either from a technical, creative or recommending a destination point of view.

It doesn’t even have to be via email – we are all available on Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram, look us up and pop that question!


About the Author

Johan van Zyl


The opportunity of visiting some of the wildest, undisturbed areas and sharing my passion for wildlife, conservation and photography with like minded people is a privilege that I am forever grateful.

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