Throughout my guiding years and even way back before that when I just found an interest in photography, I have watched and listened to many people.
What THEY want to photograph, mainly species like leopard and lion ONLY!
Where THEY want to photograph, like only in the Sabi Sands.
Being a “new”/beginner photographer, still having to learn all the hundreds of ropes there are to learn about photography, immediately I thought I need to photograph those species in those areas and I will create amazing images.
And so I did…
I have no doubt in my mind in saying that I have been very privileged! As my guiding career started I got the opportunity to go guide in the Timbavati Private Game Reserve and immediately I thought this is it! I’m in a world-renowned area with great game numbers and I am going to get incredible images!
The first Big 5 species I see, I immediately snap away knowing that it is a great images because it’s of a lion or a leopard?
Have a look at some of the first wildlife images I took while guiding at Shindzela Bush Camp.
At the time I did think they were AMAZING, as should all of you “beginner” photographers. You need to love and admire your own work!
Time went on and I kept loving the images and until this day I love the images that I take.
You need to create images that YOU love and not images your audience will love. Why show your audience something that is not you??? A true admirer of your work will definitely love the images you do!
As the years go on you will notice that your photography skills improved and your knowledge would have expanded. This is only if you keep at it and don’t give up. Trust me you will see a massive difference/change in your photography as I did mine.
Practice makes perfect they say and this is true!
Do not be that person who puts their camera down and leaves it there until a big cat shows up. Only wanting to take images of leopards and lions. If you do this, I can promise you that your learning curve is going to be a fairly large one!
So what I want to tell you is to concentrate on what you can photograph rather than what you can’t.
It’s easy to walk away from a photographic opportunity either because it’s a species that you do not want to photograph or you don’t feel your lens is long enough or wide enough, you believe your camera’s continuous shooting speed is slow or its autofocus is sluggish.
Learning to think around any potential barriers is how original photos are made. Instead of wishing for a 600mm lens for your wildlife photography, see how you can frame an impactful shot with a wide-angle.
The last few things that might help you along the line is:
Try and spend a month (or more) shooting with just one lens. The usefulness of this should be apparent: you’ll be forced to be more creative and effective with your composition skills.
Take Your Camera Everywhere
Having a camera by your side at all times means your photographic senses are always on alert; you will learn to slow down and look for the possibilities around you. When opportunities arise you will not only be fully cognizant of them but will also be prepared to capture them.
Never Stop Learning
Don’t succumb to the idea that you’ve got it all figured out and not just being content with the level you are at now. Try to always have the enthusiasm of a beginner.
Yes you might be interested only in wildlife photography but you not out in the field on a regular basis. When you back at home for months on end and due to the lack of wildlife you do not pick your camera up. This is a mistake!
Start a Photography Project
Setting yourself a goal and parameters to work within is a great way to sharpen your eye for a picture, and by starting a photography project you’ll force yourself to make the best of your current camera gear.
You could try the classic 365 photo project, taking one photo a day for a year. Perhaps restrict yourself to a single lens or focal length on a zoom. How about choosing a theme: a specific colour, emotion, location or camera effect?
Having a project in mind when you’re out with your camera will give your photography focus.
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