The proliferation of smart-phone technology has put a capable digital camera in everyone’s pocket and made professional-quality digital cameras less expensive. These developments have democratized photography, expanding the Average Joe’s ability to capture great images.
But smart-phone cameras and editing software can only do so much. What can you do to improve your pictures? Jordan McEntyre, who specializes in outdoors photography and videography, shares his tips for better wildlife photography.
“It all comes down to knowing how to use your equipment before you enter the woods,” McEntyre said. “When the time comes to photograph a deer — or any other animal — you’ll often have a split-second to get the shot.”
A deer won’t wait for you to fumble with your settings.
Learning the settings on your camera will also lead to better quality pictures straight from the camera. This means you’ll only have to make small adjustments in post-production.
“You want to capture an image that’s true to the eye,” he said, “and the way to do that is to control the light sensitivity of your camera.”
People can spot a poor image that’s been edited into a cartoon.
“One day, you’ll be photographing beneath an overcast sky, and the next, you’ll be working beneath bright, blue-eyed skies with the sunlight beaming straight down,” McEntyre said. “You have no control over lighting in the woods, so it’s all about knowing what camera settings are required to produce the best picture in whatever light nature gives you to work with.
“So, you’ve got to spend as much time behind the camera as you can,” McEntyre said. “Get out in the woods and photograph in different light conditions.”
Find what works
Keep a record that includes a description of the light present during a given shoot and the camera settings for each photograph you take. The record will give you a sense of what works and what doesn’t.
“You’d be surprised how often a photograph captured with my iPhone is shared more on Instagram than photographs I’ve taken with my (professional equipment),” McEntyre said. “It can be humbling when it happens, and it just shows that opportunity and a grasp of the fundamentals can matter more than equipment.
“Trust your eye.”
People have a natural sense of composition. We have been bombarded with media since birth, and all of it is arranged to suit the eye: the TV shows we watch, the advertisements we see, and the layout of this article in the magazine. Don’t be afraid to trust your instincts.
“And post on Instagram every day if you can,” McEntyre said. “Pay attention to what gets noticed and what doesn’t.”
Ditch what doesn’t work in favor of what does.
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