Wilderness Photographer of the Year judge, professional photographer Ryan De Dominicis offers some handy hints to improve your photography.
GRW: As a judge in the Wilderness Photographer of the Year comp what are you looking for in a stand-out image?
I’m a big fan of images with lots of drama. I love dramatic light, weather conditions and a sense of scale of the surroundings in outdoor images. I will also be looking for a well-composed image the draws the viewer in and keep them interested.
GRW: Name a common mistake that photographers should avoid?
Over-processing images is easily done. Avoid getting carried away in editing and try to keep the images natural and eye-catching. A series of small adjustments will help to create a well edited and natural image. When I’m editing my images, my goal is to create a sense of what I was experiencing at the time of capturing it.
GRW: What advice would you give to get good photos WITHOUT a tripod?
Personally, I rarely use a tripod. I often find them to be restricting. When shooting without a tripod, take advantage of the freedom and move around. Experiment with different compositions and angles. Make sure to keep your shutter speed nice and fast to avoid camera shake and don’t be scared to bump your ISO up. Most modern cameras can handle high ISO shooting surprisingly well.
GRW: If you don’t know how to use the Manual settings on a camera is Auto good enough?
Auto settings can be ok for a quick snapshot, however, I definitely recommend experimenting and learning some manual or semi-manual settings. Your camera doesn’t know what your intentions are and will often provide settings that don’t match what you envision. Learning manual settings will allow you to take control and capture images that fulfil your vision.
GRW: What’s your best tip for shooting a sunrise?
I’d say good planning is essential to maximise your chances of capturing a great sunrise image. When the sun starts to rise, quite often the best light will only last a few seconds to a couple of minutes. Keep an eye on the weather forecasts and make sure the conditions are optimal. Also, use apps such as PhotoPills to figure out exactly where the sun will rise and where the light will fall. If you’re on a spontaneous sunrise shoot and don’t have time to plan in advance, try get to your photo location early and work out what you want to shoot before the sun peeks over the horizon.
Enter our the Wilderness Photographer of the Year comp to be in to win some of the $14k worth of prizes including cash, trips, Nokia phones and free group intro into the Oxfam Trailwalker.