6. Image composition is a key to have a great visual impact
To learn more about previous Wildlife photography tips, click on the link below -
Photo tip # 1 : Always shoot in raw image format
Photo tip # 2 : It's all about sharp eyes
Photo tip # 3: Get down to an eye level of the wildlife
Photo tip # 4: Use a steady support such as Tripod or a Beanbag
Photo tip # 5 : Focus you FOCUS !
Lets learn photo tip # 6 : Image composition is a key to have great visual impact
While composing an image of a wildlife, I ensure following critical points. As you apply these image composition techniques, you will enhance your wildlife images -
b. Placement of the visual objects
Light is fundamental element of any photograph. In most of the wildlife photography scenarios we have to deal with natural light.
Natural light comprises of 4 critical types - Front lighting, Side lighting, backlighting and diffused sunlight.
Front lighting is useful for capturing detailed image of the wildlife. Since wildlife is directly exposed to sunlight, image looks flat. Front lighting is useful only in few cases where you want to capture wildlife images showing the details,
But in most of the scenarios front light is best to avoid. Light during late morning and afternoon will result in front lighting condition.
Side lighting creates a beautiful balance of highlights and shadows. Side lighting helps to capture wildlife images with effect of lights and dark areas.
Side lighting adds depth to the image. Early morning or late evening are the best to achieve side lighting.
When main object such as wildlife is in between you ( a photographer ) and a light source - then there is a great deal of opportunity to capture backlit images.
Images of hairy animals or feathery birds are great objects to capture backlit image. Again early morning or late evening are good times for backlit photography.
And here comes my favorite and rare one - Diffused sunlight. DIffused sunlight occurs during cloudy weather. You will love this type of light because of evenness of the light, no harsh highlight or shadows and I get crisp and contrasty images. To capture wildlife portrait and behavior I find diffused light helpful.
b. Placement of a Visual objects
Arrangement of a visual elements is a base of the strong composition. Before pressing that shutter, you should think of
4. How should I position the main object in the photo frame. Position of the main object should be such that there is some space in the photograph where the wildlife is looking at. This space is also called as negative space.
If a wildlife is looking at the right side of photo frame, right side of the image should not be squeezed. Instead, a negative space must be used on the right side of a wildlife. Example - While photographing bird flight, there should be more negative space in the direction of the flight.
5. Use the classic rule of thirds. Divide the image in 9 equal parts by using equidistant horizontal and vertical lines. Arrange the main object in a photograph at one of the intersection. ( Many cameras come with this feature where you can add grid line while looking from the viewfinder. This is extremely helpful while composing the image ) . Most of the wildlife photography composition will demand for this classic rule.
However, there are exceptions. When main object appears powerful when it is located at the center of the image. Example- Portrait of the big cats and big mammals such as an elephant
6. Can I compose my image symmetrically with respect to vertical or horizontal centre line of the image or asymmetric composition is more compelling.
Once you start thinking of the above mentioned points before capturing any image, you will develop it as a second nature.
Your thinking time and response time will be faster. You will not only capture the image but you will MAKE an ICONIC IMAGE which will tell a visual story to a viewer !
Best wildlife image is not the image with lot of visual elements added in the frame but including few critical and necessary element which will make the composition powerful.
Think of what you liked about the scene. Is it a portrait of the wildlife, flight of the bird or a behavior of the wildlife. Now include the visual elements which are relevant.
Remove all the unnecessary elements or a distractions from the image in best possible way. Distractions can be leaves, dry twigs in the foreground or a background. Unnatural elements such as fence, light pole and wires from the background.
It is hard to remove the distractions in the image when you are excited to click a moment in nature. But once you start simplifying a wildlife image, quality of your wildlife image will skyrocket.
Photo-equipment used ( Click on the link to know more )
Nikon 200-500 f/5.6
Nikon 80-200 f/2.8
Nikon 12-24 f/4
Sandisk Extreme Pro 32GB
Post Processing Software used -
Adobe Lightroom ( Click on the image below to learn more )
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