Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons - Blue Cast Removed

The first half of my career I spent way more time photographing people than I did wildlife. At the end of my career those two subjects switched places and I spent way more time photographing wildlife.

Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons - Blue Cast Removed

Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons – Blue Cast Removed

What’s interesting is that I did virtually nothing different when I switched to wildlife. I still used telephoto lenses (since they tend to be more flattering) and I shot wide open (to simplify the background) and I used open shade as my main light more often than not. When I didn’t have open shade I worked with direct light – always pointing my shadow at the subject.

Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons - Blue Cast Removed

Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons – Blue Cast Removed

Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons - Blue Cast Removed

Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons – Blue Cast Removed

Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons - Blue Cast Removed

Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons – Blue Cast Removed

Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons - Blue Cast Removed

Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons – Blue Cast Removed

My  area of focus was/is the eye. If you’re photographing a person or an animal, all you really NEED to be in focus is the eye(s).

I liked working fairly close to wildlife. I called it “face to face.” I wanted my audience to see the animal up close and personal and to perhaps give some thought to what that animal’s life was like.

The pictures you see here were all made using the very same tactics I used to make people portraits. What’s the point? Sometimes the skills you acquire doing one type of photography apply to others. Try it for yourself.

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Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. Awesome article and examples of what you are reffering to. I find “face to face” photographs of animals so intriguing. I tend to wonder more what their thoughts were at the time the picture was taken, as I find it difficult to not see human emotions in their expressions. Also, I have much more empathy for animals than humans.

    Reply
  2. The “eyes” have it!

    Reply
  3. I like the ‘Dutch’ angle the tree lends to the bear cub, and the gorilla is pure portraiture

    Reply
  4. That is so true..similarity between human and animals..In my experience as a avid pictured of birdlife and wildlife in Africa, I can understand that eyes are the main focus for any photograph to be good..Especially if the catch light falls on the eyes..

    Reply

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Portrait, Shooting, Wildlife

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