Top 5 Tips For Wildlife Photography

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Here’s a few of my best tips for editing your wildlife photos in ON1 Photo RAW 2018. With the simplicity of using the filters in Develop and Effects, we can create truly memorable and touching images of our friends in the animal kingdom. Download a 30-day trial of ON1 Photo RAW 2018 and follow along!

1: Removing unwanted objects from your images.
In ON1 Photo RAW 2018 there are two ways to remove unwanted objects from your photos. The Retouch Brush (R) and the Perfect Eraser (Q). The Retouch Brush works greater removing objects with similar texture behind it. The Perfect Eraser does a great job of removing objects where the texture is not the same behind the object.

2: Using Dynamic Contrast to make certain spots stand out.
In Effects, adding the dynamic contrast filter, the first thing we want to do is invert the filter under the masking options icon next to the filter name. Using the Masking Brush (B), you can paint in the effect where you want it applied. Use this filter sparingly and subjectively, it will make your photos really stand out!

3: Understanding how to apply sharpness back to your images.
Using either local adjustments or the sharpening filter in Effects we can add sharpness exactly where we need it. Similar to what we did with Dynamic Contrast, we are going to invert this filter and paint it exactly where we need it. Using the filter this way gives us more control and allows us to protect specific areas and luminosities in our frame. We can protect shadows or darkness so that we can make sure we do not apply noise into the image when we are painting in sharpness.

4: How to deal with Noise in Dark Situations.
Often in situations like this with bad light, we have to pump up our ISO to gather enough light but also to use a fast enough shutter speed to counter the use of a really long lens. In the Effects module, we can use the Noise Reduction filter. This allows us to add a very small blur layer across the frame. With the preset options inside of the filter, we can choose to have the noise reduction only affect our shadows or whatever luminance we want.

5: Focus on the Eyes
Once you have your tones correct, move over to the local adjustments panel in Develop and use your masking brush to paint in some detail and/or lightness into the eyes of your subject.

15 comments on “Top 5 Tips For Wildlife Photography”

  1. On April 10, 2018 at 11:30 am David Price wrote:

    Hi Colby
    Nice video, and a good argument for subtle processing.
    Best wishes,

  2. On April 12, 2018 at 9:18 pm marc labro wrote:

    I really enjoyed this tutorial !
    Like Catherine, would love to see more videos on animals, wildlife, pets,…
    Deep Black and white processing for wildlife would be also a nice topic.


  3. On April 13, 2018 at 6:43 pm David wrote:

    This was a nice quick tutorial with some solid tips. Well done. I’d like to see something a bit more in-depth, where you take a few unedited images and show us your workflow on them, step by step. Thanks for putting this together. Agree more wildlife targeted tutorials would be great. Gotta check out the wildlife course.

  4. On April 13, 2018 at 9:15 pm DPO wrote:

    Great short course! I would also enjoy more on wildlife. Thank you for the presentation.

  5. On April 13, 2018 at 9:50 pm amanda whiteman wrote:

    Thank you so much, every tip ads up. Just a little remark regarding wildlife photography for serous photographers. Unfortunately removing unwanted objects is never allowed in any wildlife competition or photography associations around the world. Only cropping, dodging and burning allowed. It is also not considered wildlife if man made objects appear in the photo. However it seems collar bands or markings is lately being allowed as wildlife is becoming endangered. That being the reason for you to supply your RAW photo if asked for.

  6. On April 13, 2018 at 10:17 pm Daniela Ruppel wrote:

    Thank you Colby! Very useful tips, well presented. I particularly liked the one about focusing on the eyes.
    Some great photos there too.

    Greetings from Namibia

  7. On April 14, 2018 at 11:11 am Marshall Rubin wrote:

    One thing these videos indicate is that On1 is both very capable and complex. While tutorials are very helpful I prefer a printed user manual that I can refer to at any time, and at my desired speed. Will a comprehensive printed manual be ever made available for purchase?

  8. On April 15, 2018 at 8:49 am Kandace Heimer wrote:

    What timing . . . just back from Serengeti. I have started using these five tips on my lions and cheetahs in post processing. These tips were extremely helpful since when post processing your wildlife, you need to be careful on noise and sharpening. Too many times I see lions or leopards with what I call “zombie eyes” or images that are over sharpened and over-saturated.

    I have used your “collection” as well in my presets, tweaking it to my liking.

  9. On April 15, 2018 at 1:36 pm Lynne wrote:

    Great tutorial Colby. Would live more african wildlife and bird tutorials. Thanks for this one. Really enjoyed it and will use the tips!

  10. On April 16, 2018 at 11:51 am Steven Upton wrote:

    Very useful tutorial. Would love to see more wildlife work flow and also Black and White conversation

  11. On April 16, 2018 at 7:08 pm Adam Rubinstein wrote:

    Great stuff Colby. Re: sharpening, what is your preferred method – sharpening or dynamic contrast? If it’s the later, what are your preferred settings?

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