Wildlife Photography course report: 26 April to 02 May 2017

This was the first EcoTraining Wildlife photography course of 2017 and it was held in the northern part of the Kruger National Park, at EcoTraining’s Makuleke camp. Photography has become such an integral part of the safari experience and this course is designed to give guides the necessary skills to become better photographers.

This course is not just limited to guides. We also welcomed a few aspiring photographers who were not in the guiding industry and I believe they also learnt a lot from the different approaches to how photographic skills are taught to guides.


We started the course with a very simple request: each photographer or guide had to think about five photographs that they would want to capture during their photographic career. This would also be an ongoing list, as our photography and experiences change we will imagine different images. The aim of the task was to stop everybody from thinking about their wildlife photography as a reactive activity and to turn it into a proactive activity. Photography is not just about taking pictures, it’s about planning your time in the bush so that you can be in the best possible situation to ‘make’ photographs happen.

The course officially started with a breakdown of the understanding of exposure and how to best set up your camera to photograph natural light. This allowed everybody to clearly understand the photographic terms I would refer to for the rest of the course and how best to change settings for the ever-changing lighting conditions we find in nature.

After introducing the basics of photography, we moved on to light and how to photograph it. Knowing the limitations of a digital camera under African conditions will help any photographer best deal with the frustrations we so often encounter while photographing wildlife. I also showed alternative ways of how photographers can overcome these limitations with the creative use of their cameras in conjunction with Adobe Lightroom.

Creativity and composition was our third topic and I explained how images could be structured to best tell the story of the scene being photographed. This module is not about spoon-feeding compositional rules, but rather providing a toolbox of compositional techniques that could be used when required.

The rest of our lecture time was spent helping each photographer individually with their questions about photography after I had run through my own Adobe Lightroom workflow. It dealt with editing and creating a workflow after the images had been captured.

About the Author:
Annemi Zaaiman

Annemi Zaaiman

Explore more

student sitting in the game viewer

The first 24 hours on an EcoTraining Practical Course

There’s one for aspiring professional Field Guides, taking an entire year. There’s one specifically for birding enthusiasts, taking just seven days. And there’s an extensive range of other ones in between. EcoTraining’s practical courses and experiences can cater to many different needs, but they all guarantee one thing: intense quality time immersed in nature! EcoTraining graduate Wim tells the story of his 35-day Practical Field Guide course, which took him first to Karongwe and then to Pridelands.

Read more
group of students on a birding course

Popular Birding Book Takes Flight

The newly revised Second Edition of Robert’s Birds of Greater Kruger book was released! It is a fresh and new edition, from the introduction to new chapters, habitat descriptions, checklists, distribution maps, illustrations, and photographs—and it only took three hard years to revise.

Read more
group photo of field guide students

Globalization in the Wild

My dad’s experience at EcoTraining was genuinely remarkable. It was an incredible example of how people from different backgrounds and cultures can come together to learn and appreciate nature. The diverse group of companions he met at the camp, including those from Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, UAE, and Reunion, made the experience even more enriching. He learned from instructors from various countries, explored the African wilderness, and encountered awe-inspiring birds. It was a unique opportunity to witness globalization in the wild.

Read more

Start your wildlife career

Want to become a field or nature guide? Explore our immersive courses and training programmes for professional safari guides and guardians of nature, taught and led by experts in the industry.

EcoTraining offers career and accredited courses, wildlife enthusiast courses, gap year programmes and customised group travel courses.

Join our nature-loving community.