The Nature Conservancy Australia Photo Contest is going global! Building on the success of our previous competitions, in 2019 we will merge with TNC’s global contest giving even wider exposure for your inspiring photos.
The global photo contest will open around May 2019 and there will be a range of categories including one for Australia-based photographers, with fabulous local and global prizes you can win.
You can start early and head outdoors to explore and capture the beauty of Australian nature.
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Tips for a winning photo
We spoke with a few professional photographers for some tips on how to take great photos out in nature.
Tips from Ben Goode
Best tips for taking photos of landscapes / nature
Composition in my opinion is the most important thing. A well composed photo can sometimes survive bad light, bad settings and even bad editing - A badly composed photo survives nothing. Learn what great light is and don’t settle for less. Having an eye for good light will help your images no end. Try taking a photo of the same scene from afternoon through to sunset and you will see how much of an effect light can have on a scene.
Less is often more! Shoot and edit with that mentality. Leave space around your main subject and don't clutter the frame. It’s like a good pizza... less toppings = more taste.
Try and create a mood and tell a story with your photos. This comes from composition, editing and use of light and shade. Put thought into all three and the chances are you will have an image goes beyond a nice snapshot.
Advice for selection photos for TNC's Photo Contest
Spend time looking through your collection to shortlist a few of your best images. Get a photographer you respect to take a look at your choices and give you advice on what they
think might do well in a competition. When choosing image, try and remove personal bias and attachment and look at your photos through critical eyes.
Tips from Esther Beaton
Get out in Nature
First of all, you've got to get out in nature - out where it's all happening. You don't have to go to the far ends of the earth. Even in your own backyard, you could be finding something really special and unique.
Know your Equipment
You have to know the basics of the camera controls, because they are your artistic controls. Whenever I'm in a new area, I pre-set my controls - the focus the aperture so I'm ready at a split second to fire that camera as soon as something magical is happening.
Be aware of the aesthetics, the artistic components of the shot. Be aware of the background, foreground, middle ground and the interplay of colours. There's been photographers travelling to exotic locations, spending huge amounts of money on equipment and travel but they come back with photos that are just record shots - they haven't composed the subject, they haven't looked for the magic lighting and that's where you can set yourself apart from all the others. By carefully composing every element. I like to think of that rectangle in the view finder as my artist's canvas. Every single thing I put on their carefully and meticulously.
Tips from Michael Snedic
Why overcast weather is best when photographing in a rainforest
Where photographing certain scenes such as macro subjects, rain forests, waterfalls or streams, I highly recommend shooting in overcast conditions. This will results in softer shadows, reduced glare on highlights and overall a much nicer effect than in harsh sunlight.
JPEG or RAW? Which file format is best and why
If your camera can shoot in RAW, you'd be advised to use it instead of JPEG. You'll have far more latitude when making adjustments on your computer to factors such as white balance, exposure and contrast. If RAW isn't available for you to use, always choose the highest quality image setting that your camera will allow.
Shoot with your widest aperture for best wildlife images
When photographing single subjects such as birds or other animals, I recommend shooting as wide an aperture as possible. Aperture or FStop controls how much light enters your camera. A small F number such as F2.8 means a larger aperture. This will result in a faster shutter speed and reduced blur, especially when handholding a longer lens. Also shallow depth of field softens the background as it helps separate the subject from it's surroundings.
Know your camera inside and out
Whenever possible, practice using your camera so that you become familiar with its settings and how to adjust them quickly. It's especially important when photographing subjects that are fast moving for example birds in flight or animals moving across the landscape. Knowing how to quickly change important settings may mean the difference between capturing or missing a shot.
Observing wildlife behaviour will help you get more 'action' shots
Observing wildlife behaviour is key to getting great action shots. Watching an individual beforehand and seeing what'll do, often helps pre-empt any possible behaviours that might happen and capture them on camera.
Tripods and remotes are essential for good sunrise and sunset images
When photographing landscapes, especially sunrises and sunsets where ambient light is low, a good tripod is invaluable. Placing your camera on a tripod allows you to minimise blur in your image when you're shooting at very low shutter speeds. I also recommend using a remote, cable release or the camera self-timer feature to further reduce blur from camera shake.