1) If you don’t have your camera handy (and ready) you will not be able to take pictures – so always try to keep it close – especially for quick shots like animals, situations and people.
4) If you have a basic photo editor (most PCs do) or it comes with camera software.... practice with it before you leave and focus on "cropping" pics. This gives you a better framed pic and allows the subject to stand out...most of my better pics are cropped images.
5) You don’t need fancy software like Photoshop to get good pics.... in fact I am anti-Photoshop. Go for natural looking pics. Natural poses with people and kids playing or interacting naturally is best and get low down to their level as it helps to change the look of the pic
6) Black and white is (for me at least) the best "colour" to use for people. Its warms up skin tones and you loose that "red cheek / red eye" look that you get if you shoot in colour - esp. with a flash. B&W sometimes looks odd but practice makes perfect. I never use flash as a rule full stop
7) Avoid taking pics indoors and at midday - natural / warm light is best. Shoot in the early morning or late afternoon with the sun just shining on the face (avoid squinting).... natural light is best for people shots. Dark skin tones need some light to bring out features and note that most African people’s faces will simply be under exposed in the mid-day sun!
1) Decide what kind of photography you want to do – People, Wildlife, Landscape, Specialist etc..etc… as this will help you in your camera purchase. You may have already developed a style you like and know what equipment you want but before starting on a 1+ year overland trip (which could be the biggest trip you ever do in your life) so think about what images you want to capture and how you want to use them.
7) Practice Practice and PRACTICE!! Play with your camera and test shoot on different settings. Simply go for a walk and take pics of all sorts of things to get a feel for the camera settings. Eventually you will find a mode you prefer shooting in.
- The workhorse is a Canon 5DMKII body (shoots HD movie and has a 20MB, full frame sensor) – it’s a semi-pro model and probably not in most people’s budgets BUT its helped me take my photography to a slightly higher level of quality than my older 350D
- I use a small Canon IXUS for “in the pocket” quick pics / basic movie footage
- Canon 16-35mm wide angle L Series lens
- Canon 24-105mm mini zoom L Series lens
- Canon 100-400mm zoom L Series lens
- Canon 2x converter for doubling up on the 100-400mm (makes it 200-800mm)
- Manfrotto tripod with round head and pistol grip handle with quick release mount
- Lowe Pro Fastback 300 camera case – has laptop compartment, and is small enough to be of a manageable size while walking etc….but ca carry all my main kit & lenses
- Hoya filters, spare battery, cleaning cloths, rubber hand pumped dust remover
- Wireless remote for Bulb and distance self timer shots
- Buy the BIGGEST and fastest memory card you can afford!!!!! I use Lexar Professional UDMA CF 16GB cards rated at 300x Speed.
- Computing: 15” Mac Book Pro laptop with 500GB HD and Iomega 500GB portable drive
- Software: Apple’s iPhoto for all JPEG pics and Apple’s Apeture software for RAW files
1) Style Monochrome
2) Switch on red filter (this is a setting in the camera..... It mimics what the traditional filter you would have attached in the old days – great for skys / clouds / high contrast
3) Increase contrast and sharpness settings depending on what you like
4) Shutter speed is then dictated by the Av setting - the smaller the Av number the bigger the hole in the camera and the more light you let in and the faster the shutter speed.... read up on this and have a play.... depth of field is important for people shots.... and this setting also helps controls depth of field.
5) I shoot in JPEG mode (mainly) as the camera produces very good compressed JPEG files of around 5-7MB. You will also hear people say ALWAYS shoot in RAW format. This depends. If you have a high res camera you can afford to shoot in JPEG.... the 5DMKII will take a 20MB RAW file and then compress it to make a pretty large JPEG image. This mode is suitable for most home / shop printing up to A3 and they can be edited on a basic PC using simple software. If you want to make bigger prints or selling your images or want big blow-ups greater than A3 you will need to shoot in RAW and post process the images using something like Photoshop
People take pictures NOT cameras.... the camera will do a lot of work for you but its YOU that takes the picture. I like the quote from one my own photographic heroes Robert Capa “If your pictures aren't good enough, you aren't close enough". Kind of sums it all up really.