Conservation Photographer Offers 4 Photography Tips

Last week, I was able to chat with Gaston Lacombe, featured photographer at FotoweekDC, on his “Captive” series and conservation photography. Here, he offers 4 great tips for taking better pictures:

Gaston’s photography tips

  1. (Photo from morguefile)
    Change your perspective – We spend our whole life seeing things at eye level, so instead of just lifting the camera up to your face, show us the world from a different perspective. Kneel down, climb up, shoot at an angle, or put your camera flat on the ground. Show us a new perspective, something that we haven’t seen before and that will grab our attention.
  2. Play with exposure – Even if your camera tells you what the perfect exposure time is, you don’t have to follow it. Try overexposing, try underexposing, and see what happens. Play with the light, bring some abstract to reality. I often underexpose in bright sunlight to emphasize interesting highlights.
  3. Avoid overdoing gimmicks – Playing with HDR, Hipstamatic or all types of digital treatment filters can be fun, and it has its place, but I find many photographers nowadays rely too heavily on these. They use these trendy treatments as a crutch, to make mediocre pictures mildly interesting. First and foremost a successful photo should be about content and composition, not about the digital process that has been applied to it.
  4. Composition is paramount – A well composed picture will capture attention for longer, giving the viewer time to think about what your photo is trying to say and what story it conveys. Pay attention to lines, to the disposition of objects, to the edges of the frame, to the background, and to the interplay of light and dark areas. There are hundreds of way to tell a story through a picture, but it will only work if the viewer is first captured by the image, and takes the time to interpret it.

Be sure to see Lacombe’s “Captive” series and then stop by NWF’s Nature and Wildlife Photography Tips Center for more photo tips. Don’t forget to check out our 2011 National Wildlife Photo Contest Winners Gallery for more amazing nature photography.

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Published: November 18, 2011