Bents’ 2018 photography competition is well underway and once again the entries are flooding in, reminding us how many fantastic amateur photographers there are out there.

Quite a lot of our entries are taken by enthusiasts who already have quite a lot of knowledge and skill, but we wondered how many other people have a love for photography, and would like to get involved, but just wouldn’t know where to start. With this in mind we thought we would ask one of Bents’ own freelance photographers for his advice and recommendations.

Greg Morris is responsible for some of our most memorable images and here he shares five of his top tips for taking great images of wildlife and nature.

 

Get down and dirty!

World renowned photo journalist Robet Cappa said, “If your pictures aren't good enough, you aren't close enough” and that’s certainly true for most wildlife and nature photography. It’s not always that easy if you are trying to photograph wildlife but it is certainly true for nature shots.

Getting down low to eye level helps gives your subject matter more impact and at the same time will help to isolate it from the background. It will also throw the background and foreground out of focus giving more emphasis to the subject. So whether its snowdrops growing in the woods or the family pet playing in the garden, “get down low”!

 

Consider the composition

Great subject matter can look poor if the composition of your shot is poor. A general rule is to not place the subject in the centre of the frame. Placing the subject matter off centre will add drama and impact to your pictures. If you are not familiar with The Golden Thirds Ratio, try this link - https://www.canva.com/learn/what-is-the-golden-ratio/.

 

Wide or close-up?

Decide if you want your picture to be a close-up, filling the frame to show detail, or if you want to show context of the surrounding environment.

If it’s close up, try filling the frame and getting intimate - whether it’s a close up of an eye or nose or an abstract pattern in nature such as a flower or leaf.

If you prefer to show context and more of the surrounding environment then a wide angle lens can be very effective, but remember to keep the main subject off centre in the frame.

 

Having the right gear

Spending a fortune on expensive lenses and camera equipment is not a requirement, however patience and perseverance are essential. It is also important to understand the limitations of your equipment and have realistic expectations.

If nature photography is your thing then using a tripod is my top tip, it will allow you to review and asses your shots, check focus and exposure before you move the camera away and of course help to eliminate blur due to camera movement.

If wildlife is your preference then a tripod can be restrictive, but using a long lens will leave you prone to camera blur so I would suggest a mono pod and if possible it should be mounted on the lens rather than the camera body.

 

The techie bit!

I am not about to launch into a technical master class but here are a few basic pointers to help you get the most from your kit.

Choose the right lens:
  • A zoom or telephoto lens will help you get closer in on your subject and will isolate the subject from the background.
  • A Macro/close up lens will help you get in really close on small subjects such as plant life and insects.
  • A wide angle lens will allow you to capture more of the surrounding environment and give context to your subject.

Keep your shutter speed high when photographing wildlife which is almost always on the move, and keep your aperture wide to help throw backgrounds out of focus; this works really well for close ups of nature, flowers, bugs etc.

But most important of all be patient, persevere and have fun! If you are not happy with the results first time, try and try again!

So, if you love taking photos and have thought about entering our competition, but never had the confidence before, maybe these tips will be the encouragement you need to get those images submitted. Simply pick up an entry form or download here.

A big thank you to Greg for writing this blog and sharing his secrets. To see more of his work visit: www.gregmorrisphoto.co.uk.