Getting the shot.
With over 10 years experience in the photography industry and a lifetime of passion for shooting and field sports Jonathan takes a real pride in his work and for what he does. Shooting Photography has been running for 3 years now and this year Jonathan is taking on the CLA game fair with a stand on gun makers row. In addition to providing photography for field sports Jonathan works as a photography tutor and holiday guide, he shoots around 30 weddings each year plus works with commercial clients on films, TV, with products and publicity and in architecture.
Shooting Photography has set down its roots in Leeds, West Yorkshire but we travel to great lengths seeking out the very best photography commissions. Shooting Photography was founded by Jonathan in 2010 and came about after numerous requests for photography coverage on local estates. Since then Shooting Photography has built up a catalogue of Europe’s finest clients and is set alone in providing the very best professional photography coverage for all aspects of the field sports industry. With current commissions covering the UK and abroad we are always on the lookout for new work so should you require photography coverage please leave us a message using the contact section above.
To see some more of what we do check out our sister company Jonathan. M. McGee Photography.
A Step by Step Guide
Game shooting is steeped with tradition and etiquette so knowledge of your subject and those who partake in it would be Jonathan’s main tip for getting good photos. Knowledge of the days quarry is also essential; a grouse shoot is extremely different from a pheasant shoot so making sure you know where to stand and when to move will make sure you don’t interrupt the proceedings. Safety is one of the main concerns with guests on shoots so ask where your client wants you to be at all times if you’re unsure.Sporting Attire
This may sound odd but all jobs come with a uniform and honestly none are cooler that tweed! Jonathan has numerous tweed sets suitable for his game photography outings. Not only does your attire show your knowledge of the sport but it will help you blend in with your clients and make images relaxed and less posed and formal. Along with a full set of tweed Jonathan always wears his trusty boots choosing them over wellies for comfort and warmth.
An SLR is always preferable. SLR’s (single-lens reflex) are capable of capturing near instant images without shutter lag or start up delays. This is essential when capturing wildlife and action images. Jonathan primarily uses digital these days due to the ease of production, sharing of high resolution files and image quality.The Lens
Lens choice is very personal and differs with style and on the type and use of images your client has requested. Jonathan takes 3 lens to every field sports booking. Firstly a wide angle zoom lens, Jonathan uses a Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 for capturing images of landscapes, birds flying over guns and group shots. Secondly a close range portrait lens like Jonathan’s Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 for action shots, people and fine detail of equipment. Finally a big zoom lens like a Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 would be great for close up portraits of people and dogs plus images of the birds flying.Camera Settings
Modern cameras are crammed with technology but don’t let this scare you as the essentials are always the same. Jonathan always uses full manual (M setting) as its 100% controllable but if this is a step too far why not try aperture priority. Aperture priority (seen as AV or A on most cameras) allows you to control the f number, this is the depth of field or background blur. The good thing about aperture priority is you select how much blur you want, the lower the f number more blur i.e. f2.8 provides more blur or greater depth of field than f8. With aperture priority your camera will choose your shutter speeds making this a great option for changing situations. Most of Jonathan’s field sports work is shot to show a lot of blur behind his subjects, for this he uses an aperture of f2.8.
Shooting High Birds.
This is a question Jonathan gets asked on a regular basis “how do I take photos of birds flying?” When you point your camera at a bird in the sky and take a photo 9 times out of 10 the image will be bright white and the bird will be a fuzzy dot. Using the advice below should help counteract this.
– Firstly choose the right lens, a lens with a longer focal distance like a range between 200-400mm is great as it will get you close up and increase the detail in your image without the need to crop and enlarge your image.
– You will need the right exposure so try using manual settings; play around with your shutter speeds to make sure the bird is the correct brightness.
– Check your camera’s metering system. Metering is your cameras way of telling you the brightness of a scene. Most modern cameras have 4 metering modes. Why not try moving away from factory settings like
evaluative/average and try using spot metering. This will allow you to get a precise exposure of the bird in flight and not an overall reading taking in the brightness of the sky behind.
– ISO, this is critical to getting fast sharp images and maintaining a quicker shutter speeds. ISO is your cameras sensitivity to light, increasing this setting will allow you to maintain a quicker shutter speed even in darker situations. Increasing the ISO will cause image noise or grain but most modern digital cameras have become increasingly good at working with higher ISOs.
Let’s hope this helps get you all some amazing photos. Should you have any questions regarding photography, field sports or Jonathan’s work please feel free to contact him using any of the links below;