Tips For Better Wildlife Photography: Creating Your Composition

Jan 15 2016
When beginner wildlife photographers are mapping out their scene, it is important that you don't place your subject dead centre. Try and give your subject space.  Although things can happen fast in game reserves, now you see it, now you don’t, mentally map out the story you would like to tell. Look for patterns, textures, angles, vivid colours, placing of your subjects, closes-ups, framing and other visual cues. First thing first though, browse and book our many types of safari & wildlife holidays, and get snapping!
Firstly if you arm yourself with the basic knowledge of the rule of thirds you can make static subjects look more dynamic. To do this you need to locate a subject at one of four intersections, opposed to nailing it squarely in the centre of the frame. This technique works well when you are photographing a relatively small subject surrounded by a large expanse of open space. A natural addition to the photography rule of thirds is to place your horizon line along the one-third or two-third line of the grid, rather than in the middle.
Ilan Ossendryver, professional photographer says, “It is important to engage with your subject, and feel like you know it. Ensure the subject is what you want to show with as little interaction as possible. Concentrate on the subject and try to make eye contact when the animal is looking at you or where the animal is looking to make space”. 
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An important tip to remember, if your animal is on the right hand or left hand side, make sure the animal is looking inwards and not outwards. That is what makes a good animal. A reminder to also shoot level to the animal, perhaps even upwards but never down!
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When shooting close-ups of birds, ensure there are no distractions. An example of this would be branches blocking the view. Always get a clear image. If it is windy, shoot a few shots in the hope that the leaves may move. Most important, don’t waste your time snapping if there is a branch obstruction.
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There are usually exceptions to rules as is the case with the below photo. The below is an example of breaking the rule: even though the one body is behind the branch, you have the replica on the other side giving you what the bird looks like. If it was by itself it would be a bad shot. You would nee to wait for the bird to move. 

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A good photographer will walk, crawl, or climb around over and under things until the subjects true personality surfaces. It is not as easy with wildlife as there are safety concerns to consider, but if you prepared with the basic knowledge you should succeed. Finaly as you set out, describe in one sentence to yourself the essence of what you are wanting to capture. 
All photos by Ilan Ossendryver
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