Digital Photography Tips

In today’s society, digital photography is gaining popularity at an extremely high rate. Almost everyone nowadays owns a digital camera. Perhaps this is because there are more ways than ever to share your photographs or perhaps it is because of the ease of use that digital cameras provide. Most people are interested in purchasing or owning a digital camera purely for personal usage. There are an increasing number of people, however, who are taking digital photography very seriously and who may be interested in pursuing a digital photography career. If you are one of these people, this article is for you. Here are some tips, aimed at the beginner, to help improve your digital photography skills.

If you are seriously interested in pursuing a digital photography career, you have probably already purchased an SLR camera. These cameras are designed for professional photographers and take more knowledge to use than the average digital camera. The first thing you will need to know when using a SLR camera is how to hold it. Although holding a camera may seem quite forward, it is more difficult than it seems. SLR cameras are much larger than other camera types and are more likely to shake when taking a photograph. This can cause serious issues for photographers, especially if they are photographing with a slow shutter speed. The best option for photographing is purchasing a tripod to hold onto your camera for you to prevent unwanted movements during photographs. Obviously, you will not carry your tripod with you everywhere, so if you do not have it, hold your camera in your right hand so that your thumb can easily reach each the rear dial, exposure lock button, and focus point selector. While you use your right fingers to operate the camera, cup the camera in your left hand to help it remain steady.

Once you have perfected holding the camera, you can begin shooting photographs. When shooting pictures, most people shoot with both eyes closed. Do not do this. When shooting photographs, it is important to keep both eyes open as this will help you stay focused on your subject and gain perspective of whatever it is your are looking at.

If you are photographing a moving subject, always keep with it until it has moved out of sight. For example, if you are photographing a young girl running, keep your camera locked on her at all times. If you don’t, you may miss that perfect shooting moment. Try to keep your finger half pressed on the shutter button so that when the perfect moment does arise, you will be ready to capture it.

Learning to hold your camera, shooting with both eyes open, and following your subjects are three of the most basic photographing techniques that you can learn. Once you have perfected these three things, begin playing with lighting, angles, and other fun photography accessories such as filters and flashes. If you are seriously interested in pursuing a photography career, search for a good photography school online to help you learn all of the best techniques of the trade!

Ten Must-Have Wildlife Photography Accessories for an African Safari

There are many photographic accessories to choose from – some tend to be gimmicks while others are necessities. Here we list the photo accessories that have been indispensable to us on our more than 100 African wildlife safaris.

1. Better-Beamer Flash Extender – this accessory enables you to increase your flash output by 2 to 3 stops with lenses of 300mm and longer. It is small, light, folds flat and takes just a few seconds to fit onto the flash. Most waterholes in the Kgalagadi and Etosha are between 50 and 100 meters away so this accessory becomes important for your night-time shooting.

2. Cable Release – this is a crucial photo accessory when shooting long exposures from a few seconds to star trails of a few hours. It also enables you to get sharper photographs when used in conjunction with your tripod.

3. Digital Image Storage Device – you must bring something to store your photographs on, be it your laptop, portable external hard drive or plenty of extra compact flash cards. We can shoot over 30GB a day and our normal safari is 10 days so you do the math! We take a 500GB external hard drive plus our laptop.

4. Dust Protection and Cleaning Tools – African game reserves like the Kruger Park are hot and dusty so it’s important to protect your gear from dust and the sun by covering it with a towel. In addition you should clean your gear every day with a bulb blower and lens pen.

5. Filters – you should use UV or skylight filters for protection on your smaller lenses and a polarizer to reduce glare from water or to enhance colors. If you are visiting Etosha a polarizer is a must due to the glare from the white sand. A split neutral density filter will help you with landscape photos.

6. Flash – the flash that is built into most cameras may be sufficient for day-time fill-flash but not for nocturnal photography. We use Nikon SB 900 flashes – these are powerful flashes that provide the light for us when shooting in camps at night and even fill-flash for daylight.

7. Power – your camera, laptop and flash all work on batteries or mains so please ensure you bring spare batteries, chargers, and mains adapters. For places like the Kgalagadi wilderness camps you should get an Inverter, which allows you to charge camera batteries and laptop batteries in the car while driving as the cabins do not have electricity.

8. Tele-converters – a tele-converter allows you to magnify your subject without spending too much money on expensive telephoto lenses. If you have a lens with a maximum aperture of f2.8 of f4 a tele-converter should work very nicely. We recommend you buy the same brand as your camera and lens.

9. Spotlight – a good quality bright spotlight is a must for the Kruger, Etosha and Kgalagadi. At night the rare ‘elusive-eleven’ animals are active and can be photographed from the camps and in the camps. We recommend the Lightforce spotlights that are made in Australia.

10. Stable Support – to get sharp photographs you must provide a stable support for your camera. Depending on whether you are doing a self-drive or guided tour you should bring a tripod, bean bag or window mount. We do self drive safaris so we have the luxury of being able to take all three supports with us. A bean bag is very handy for use in your vehicle as well as in the Kruger and Pilanesberg bird hides.

The above photographic accessories will not make you a better photographer but they will make your photographs better!