Tim’s tips For bet­ter wildlife stu­dio shots

Photo Plus - - Theapprentice -

1 stuffed an­i­mal stand-in

if you are work­ing with an­i­mals in the stu­dio, have a stand-in to pre­pare. i usu­ally have a fluffy toy. it’s much bet­ter to plan things out to avoid stress­ing an an­i­mal and los­ing a win­dow of op­por­tu­nity.

2 down to their level

if the an­i­mal al­lows you the op­por­tu­nity (do­mes­tic an­i­mals) it gen­er­ally serves well to come down to their level, cre­at­ing that sense of in­ti­macy to gen­er­ate a sense of con­nec­tion.

3 sense of emo­tion

con­sider how things evoke a sense of emo­tion within the pic­tures. this can be gen­er­ated through feel and at­mos­phere; for ex­am­ple, us­ing a pre­dom­i­nantly cool colour pal­ette to cre­ate a sense of the noc­tur­nal when pho­tograph­ing an owl.

4 an­i­mal han­dler

if the an­i­mal has a han­dler, it is im­por­tant to com­mu­ni­cate ef­fec­tively with them be­cause they know the an­i­mal best and can help you to achieve your plan.

5 how should the image work?

my gen­eral ap­proach is to ques­tion how you want the im­ages to work on the viewer.

6 an­i­mal’s per­son­al­i­ties

think about a sense of char­ac­ter and per­son­al­ity; you are much more likely to con­nect with the viewer.

7 em­pha­size in­ter­est­ing el­e­ments

it is im­por­tant to rec­og­nize the el­e­ments you find most in­ter­est­ing in the wildlife, then set about help­ing the viewer to find them. this might en­tail chang­ing the con­trast of edges to re­di­rect the eye or to re­shape the pic­ture tonally in pho­to­shop.

8 Fill lights

i use a key flash and of­ten use a ring flash to fill in as they cre­ate a more in­ter­est­ing tex­ture in the shadow. to cre­ate the il­lu­sion of day­light i add a 1/4 blue fil­ter.

9 In­spi­ra­tion board of prints

it’s good to have mag­netic boards. i print my im­ages and keep them up over time to see them with a fresh pair of eyes each day.

10 test your kit

it is very im­por­tant to test the po­ten­tial of the equip­ment you own – test the bound­aries to un­der­stand the pa­ram­e­ters of what the kit can do. it pays div­i­dends to in­vest a bit of time!

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