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Thread: Tips for getting great shots

  1. #1
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    Default Tips for getting great shots

    As I get a lot of questions and e-mails asking how to get photos considered for the magazine as well as how to take great shots I contacted Ontario OUT OF DOORS' art director Tamas Pal and he provided me with this list of suggestions and tips to help.

    Art Director, Tamas Pal
    Ontario OUT OF DOORS magazine

    In the digital age, anglers and hunters have found taking photos of their catch and hunt it a lot more convenient. But simple ease of snapping away doesn’t always lead to quality results. Here are a few tips that will help you get the most out of your next outdoor adventure.

    • Ensure photographs are in focus, exposed properly, and of publishable quality. Be careful with lighting. For instance, in most cases you shouldn’t shoot towards the sun, but many photographers do. Take your time, analyze the lighting, and try for an angle that best portrays the subject.

    • Consider getting a small fold-up reflector disk or a fill flash. Reflectors are cheap and they help fill in the shadows on the shady side of a subject, resulting in far better shots. Additionally, polarizing and UV filter combos not only enhance photos, but they can protect your lenses.

    • Bring a good lens with a wide focal range. You might want to switch to a macro or telephoto lens at some point during the day. Lenses can be cheap to rent for a day, so consider experimenting with wide-angle and fish-eye lenses for some interesting photos.

    • Try different focal lengths and consider your position relative to the subject. Situate yourself for the best shot. Not every photo has to be taken at eye level. Try kneeling or leaning over the side of the boat (carefully!) to get those nice netting, fish-in-hand shots from a lower angle.

    • Get multiple shots of the primary subject. If the subject is your fishing buddy, for example, get shots of him driving the boat, attaching a lure, reeling in the fish, hoisting it into the boat, unhooking it, holding it, and releasing it. Try candid shots, as well, where your subject is not smiling at the camera. Always place the emphasis on the outdoor experience, rather than the person in the photo.

    • Always be mindful of what you’re wearing. Bright reds or yellows can add a lot of life to an otherwise dull photo.

    • Be sure to show that the animal or bird has been obviously legally tagged with a required game seal, when applicable. OOD receives many photos of even record animals that have not been tagged when the photo was taken. This, technically, is illegal. This said, forgetting to “immediately” affix the required game seal to an animal or bird, in the required position, is easy to forget in the heat of the moment. Often, the first thing to come out is the camera. Remember, tag/seal and then take photos. Of course, when party hunting for big game and waiting for the person with the appropriate tag to show up, taking a photo of a harvested animal is acceptable and legal. But don’t expect an editor of an outdoor magazine to run it. Submit photos of tagged animals for publication.

    • Be sensitive to readers with your fish and game. Minor blood spots are part of angling and hunting, but try to keep the gore to a minimum. Position yourself or the subject at an angle that produces the most blood-free photo or wash or wipe off the blood.

    • Watch how you hold your fish. If you choose to lift it out of the water, cradle a large fish horizontally or support it in the midsection with one hand. Do not hold any fish by its gills.

    • Be mindful of a cluttered background. Clean up the boat before heading out and move other distractions out of the camera’s view.

    • Ensure your digital camera is set to record photos at the highest quality setting and that your memory cards have the capacity to store sufficient numbers of photos

    • Feel free to experiment beyond the outlined recommendations for photos. Think outside the box when it comes to framing your shot.

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    Lol, there goes my idea for mini tips articles for print/web

    just kidding, nice of Tamas to offer that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JBen View Post
    Lol, there goes my idea for mini tips articles for print/web

    just kidding, nice of Tamas to offer that.
    Feel free to add your own.....also could submit one for the magazine. I think that would make a great short article....afterall we all know your photography skills and our readers have seen them as well.

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    I have querried about it
    Time and space. Thats the kind of thing thats hard to squeeze in the mag even as filler I think...and besides, a decent photographer with emphasis on outdoor lifestyles and freelance experience I may be...Writing is not one of my strengths

    Tamas did a great job with that above. Far easier for me to answer specific questions, or offer tips when theres examples.

    aka...heres a shot of xxx....what can I do differently etc. do I get those cotton candy water shots etc

  6. #5

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    To go along with this article, and since so many of us are getting our first dSLR, would there be any interest in doing various threads on camera settings and functions?
    So many people just shoot in automatic and expect the camera to understand what they want or what they are trying to photograph. I know CalTek had a link to something similar and JBen has submitted various techniques, such as panning, etc, and I realize there is a lot of info out there on the web that already speaks to this, I just thought this might be a forum for those interested in outdoor photography to ask questions and post some pictures/results.

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    I know when I was starting I used various photography resources, and then learned how to apply techniques, and knowledge to outdoors (hunting/fishing) specific stuff.

    If you search the web and beleive me when I tell you I've spent hours looking, there are few, very few ressoruces that "combine" outdoor lifestyle/photography. In some/most cases I woildnt even dream of showing a hunting related image . So you end up on photography sites, but no one there does hunting/fishing/camping photography etc. So you learn "landscape" for example from the eyes of a "nature/Landscape" photographer. Its great for a general understanding but the simple truth on this one topic is.

    They will say...the first thing to learn is shoot during the "golden hours".

    Except as anglers/hunters we are out all times of the day. So how can I improve?

    Or they will say "go back when theres better light". Or stay at home in the rain.
    Except as anglers/hunters, we go out regardless..rain or shine and regardless we'd like to improve our images?

    Or you end up on hunting/fishing sites where "photography" is something most people are just getting into or something they remember to do once in awhile With todays marketplace and the digital age more and more people getting into photography with varying degrees of interest. Almost everyone these days goes onto the water, or into the bush with a camera of some type, and want to learn at the least, a very little so as to better their images. Thats without delving into technical stuff

    I hunt/fish I'm looking to buy a camera, not sure if I should get a dslr, PnS etc, how many MP do I need, whats the difference between optical/digital zoom, whats IS/VR, and on and on.
    Last edited by JBen; March 7th, 2011 at 12:42 PM.

  8. #7
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    For the generic or Joe average photographer there certainly should be a set of basic hints to follow.

    I see too many poor quality photos of deer hanging over the tailgate of their pickup, tongues hanging out and blood smears everywhere. I have enough of my own.
    Take the pics in the field close to where the animal was taken, clean up the excess blood, compose the shot,watch for telephone poles sticking out of guys heads, take the photos with the hunter crouched behind the animal, not stradling or sitting on the animal, hold the head up or place it on something natural (not a cinder block or piece of firewood) police the kill site of clothing, packsacks, litter, bottles and whatever.

    These are just a few of the basic items to consider. The guys here will have more.

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