TALK OF THE TRADE
Shootinggazette contributor Chris Warren presents his sage advice to budding fieldsports photojournalists.
Use your contacts: Start out with a shoot you know and knows you. If you beat on a shoot, get to know the gamekeeper and owner then permission is often freely given. The shooting world is small and making contacts is relatively easy once you are part of it. Dress for the weather but be smart; I dress like a Gun. Make sure the Guns know where you are, don’t pop up in unexpected places and, above all, be safe. Never forget Guns are the guests and you are there on sufferance.
Be familiar with your equipment: Whatever kit you use, know it inside and out. Modern cameras are complex beasts and do a lot for you but you must be in control. Know which buttons do what and understand the basics of aperture and shutter speed.
It is far better to have a pinsharp picture that is a little grainy than an out-of-focus one. Take lots of pictures, it costs nothing, and then take your time editing afterwards; all good photographers edit.
Travel light: Mobility is key, you need to be in the right place at the right time. I use two cameras with two zooms plus a converter and don’t need a camera bag.
Be where the action is: Ask the keeper or host where the birds are likely to fly and be prepared to move if their best guess is wrong. Always look for the unusual and be ready to capture it.