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Will Burrard Lucas: Top Wildlife Photography Tips

August 10, 2016
I’m Will Burrard-Lucas, a wildlife photographer from the UK and founder of Camtraptions. Through my website, I provide a free online wildlife photography course with lots or tips and advice to help you take better photographs of animals. In this blog post, I have included 6 of my top tips that will have an instant impact on the quality of your images… 1. Get Low The camera should almost always be on the same level as the subject or lower. This is important for two reasons: 1) It gives the subject greater presence and helps the viewer connect with the animal. 2) It increases the distance between the subject and the background, which helps throw the background out of focus and draw attention to the subject. 2. Keep your shutter speed up Most of the time wildlife is photographed with a telephoto lens. Long lenses exaggerate camera shake, because a small movement of the camera results in a large movement of the picture frame. Therefore, you need to use a faster shutter speed to get sharp shots. The longer the lens, the faster the shutter speed needs to be. A good rule of thumb is to keep your shutter speed faster than 1 over the focal length of the lens. For example, with a 400mm lens, you should keep your shutter speed faster than 1/400th second. 3. Focus on the eyes You’ve probably already heard that you should focus on the eyes. If the eyes aren’t sharp, it is very hard for the viewer to connect with the subject. Sometimes, for portraits, you may also want to try to get the tip of the nose in focus too. 4. Light is key Good light can turn an average photo into an extraordinary photo. The light is most beautiful in the ten minutes after sunrise and before sunset. There are two ways to use sunrise and sunset light. Usually, photographers will shoot with the sun behind them, so that their subject is bathed in lovely warm light. However, you can also experiment with backlighting your subjects, particularly if the light is low and strong (for example, when heavy rain has washed all of the dust out of the air). 5. Consider the background The background can often make or break a photo. First and foremost, you want to make sure it is clear of any distractions such as bright spots or messy foliage. You also should ensure your subject stands out from the background and is attractively framed if possible. 6. Spend longer with your subject I used to stay with an animal until I got a shot I was happy with and then move on to the next subject. This resulted in a number of good shots of varied subject matter. However, I’ve now found that sticking with one subject for longer has made a big difference to the quality of my images. The longer your spend with an animal, the more chance you have of witnessing (and capturing on camera)

Gifts for your Besties on National Friendship Day

July 28, 2016
National Friendship Day is coming up on the 7th August. You and your friends have been through a lot together. School days, holidays, wedding days or baby days. There have been ups and downs, but you know that they will always be there. So what better way to show them that you care, than with a gift displaying photos of your best moments together? We’ve selected a few photo products that would make really thoughtful gifts, so all you have to do is pick one, add a photo, and you’ll be in your friend’s good books for months to come… Calling all friendship groups Do you have the sort of friendship group that is forever chatting over Whatsapp? (or Messenger, Twitter…the list goes on), then a phone case covered in your favourite photos together would make a great gift. Cases are available for several Samsung & iPhone models, starting from £10.00  Retro Print Frames If you’re a little more traditional, we think this double-sided glass photo frames from ‘All Things Brighton Beautiful’ is a great way to display our Retro Prints. We gave the frame an extra personalised touch by adding gold letters underneath – you could also add in sequins or a pressed flower into the frame – the choice is yours! Cuddly cushions If one of your friends has recently become a parent, melt their heart with a cushion featuring their little one. You can feature up to 8 photos per cushion, so there’s more than enough space to include a selection of baby’s firsts. The Work BFF It’s more than likely that you spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week with them – so why not show your work best friend the appreciation they deserve on National Friendship Day? Just pop your favourite selfie onto one of our specially designed ‘Love’ range mugs (8 designs available, starting from £8.00)…just don’t forget to make them a cuppa when they arrive. Did we mention, we are also doing a Buy One Get One Free promotion on our mugs for National Friendship Day, so you can both sip from matching memories.      

Holiday photos – top tips from Wild Coy Photography

July 27, 2016
You may remember nature photographer and Instagram-extrodinaire, ‘Wild Coy Photography‘ (also known as Danny Coy), who we’ve previously featured on the blog. Well, we liked his last post so much, that we invited him back to share his thoughts on prepping yourself to take great holiday photos… Top tips for taking great holiday photos ”There’s nothing more exciting than going on holiday and getting some well deserved rest and relaxation. If you are anything like me then having a holiday to look forward to is what makes the rest of the year bearable. Every holiday is different and exciting in so many ways, but the thing that remains consistent throughout are the memories that are created and shared. Nothing can take those memories away, but with time you may forget some of those beautiful moments. This is why your holiday photos are so important. Often by just looking at an image, a memory can be reinvigorated and you get to remember those good times all over again. If you are going to be taking pictures then why not make them as beautiful and as close to the real thing as possible? So many people pack all their luxuries into the case but only bring a tiny little camera. You can get your hands on a very good camera relatively cheaply nowadays and the way I see it is that it’s an investment for the future. Superb sunsets One of the most spectacular sights on your holiday is the sunset. No matter where you are in the world you can never get tired of a sunset. This is where your cheap point and shoot, or dare I say disposable, cameras will fail drastically. They will not do justice to the beautiful landscape before your eyes. The image will appear to light or too dark and the sun will look like a weird shape of bright light. By using a slightly better camera and attaching a neutral density (ND) filter you will almost perfectly capture exactly what you are seeing, and not what the camera is seeing! Family first Another common mishap in holiday photography is the lack of ‘real’ family photos. Its always nice to get someone to take a picture of the whole family together, posing nicely and these images always look great hung on your wall at home but those images that are taken when people are unaware can often be the most memorable. Candid shots are photos taken of people when they are not expecting it and so they are showing you their true selves. Whether its one of your children laughing hysterically at a joke you just made round the pool or your friend playing a volleyball game with some locals on the beach these are the things that will stick with you in time to come. For shots like these, it’s important to have a good zoom on your camera so you can really focus on the person/point of interest. Remember that they shouldn’t know you

Pantone photo books: Show off your summer

July 26, 2016
Last year we got together with the lovely folks over at Pantone to create a brand new range of photo books; working alongside their team, we’ve created 8 photo books that perfectly match up to their Pantone counterparts. We’ve even got 3 limited editions to add a splash of colour to your summer!   If you’re a perfectionist when it comes to showing off your photos – especially holiday or travel photos, then the Pantone photo books are perfect for you. Whether you’ve been visiting the spice markets in Morocco, pounding the streets of New York or relaxing by the pool in Spain, we’ve got a colour of photo book to match your photos.   One lucky PhotoBox-er recently spent a glorious week in Santorini, and we thought that our Directoire Blue Pantone photo book would be the perfect accompaniment to show off the white and blue hues of their photos from the beautiful town.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t afford another trip to Santorini to photograph the book, so we went to the next best place… Brighton! With 7 other Pantone photo book colours to choose from, the chance to show off your your holiday photos are never-ending – how about a trip to Seville featured in our Jaffa Orange photo book? Or your snaps from the streets of New York in our bright Sulphur Yellow? Let us know what colour you’d choose to show off your snaps for a chance to win a Pantone photo book of your own

Wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas: 5 favourite photos

July 20, 2016
”During my time as a professional photographer, I have had some incredible experiences and encountered some amazing animals. Here are a few of my favourite photos of all time. Photographing Africa’s most elusive carnivores In August 2015, World Wildlife Fund asked me to take on an assignment in the Zambezi Region of Namibia. I teamed up with researcher Lise Hanssen to take high quality photographs of the carnivore populations in this area, some of which had only ever been photographed on research cameras before. I spent two weeks in Namibia trying to find and photograph these animals but didn’t catch a glimpse of a single one! Fortunately, I had come prepared with five Camtraptions camera trap systems. You can watch my short video blog showing one of my camera trap set-ups here. Once my two weeks were up, I left my cameras in place so they could continue working for a further ten weeks. Over the following weeks my camera traps started capturing images of the key species we were after including leopards, hyenas, African wild dogs and even a serval cat. However, the greatest challenge of all was photographing the lions. These cats spend much of their time outside the national parks and are extremely shy. Even Lise has never seen them other than on her research cameras. I set up two camera traps near waterholes that the lions sometimes visit. In the three months that my traps were operating, the lions passed by twice, resulting in some very rare shots of these secretive big cats including my favourite shot of this young male lion (above).  The Lion King In late 2014, I spent a few days in Kidepo Valley National Park, a remote park in the North of Uganda that borders South Sudan and Kenya. One late afternoon, I met the resident male lion, known as “Spartacus”. The light was beautiful, and over to my right was a kopje (small hill) – I thought it would be an incredible shot if he sat on top of it. Well, he must have heard my thoughts because the next thing I knew, he was up and heading in that direction. I was pinching myself as he started to climb. He sat himself down exactly where I had hoped and then looked at me with his regal gaze. I couldn’t believe my luck! In front of me was a scene straight out of the Lion King…  Baby Meerkats In January 2012, I travelled to the Makgadikgadi Pans region of Botswana to photograph meerkats. These charismatic little creatures are completely wild but over time they have become habituated to humans. When people are around, they take full advantage of the situation and will sometimes climb on top of the nearest person for a better view out over the long grass. One of the highlights of my time in Botswana was getting to spend time with some adorable three-week-old baby meerkats. These tiny babies first emerged from the den a day or so into my