Saturday, February 10, 2024

5624. PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS: A body of work - 20/60/20 rule

PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS: A body of work concept for all genres of photography. 20/60/20 rule.

10 Feb 2024
Outdoor Photographer- The Life of a cheetah family.

The life of a cheetah family in Kenya by Jon McCormack.


May 2023 35. Outdoor Photography

1. Planning is everything
2. Trusting the process
3. Making rules
4. Narrowing focus
5. Tell a bigger story

Photos captioned by him
1. THREE cubs and mother photo - frontal image of group. 

Family dynamics. All 3 cubs will stay with their mother until 2 years of age. Mother feeds them and prepare them for life on their own.  

2. As adults, cheetahs climb trees to look for prey and to avoid predators. 8-month-old never missed an opportunity to climb up the tree.

3. Photograph running cheetahs. Slow and fast shutter speeds. Most shots didn't work. The few captured the playfulness and speed of cubs.

4. All 3 cubs have distinct personalities. One loved to fight. One climbed trees to belittle its siblings' lack of climbing skills constantly (PHOTO). One loved to chase.

5. Hours of affectionate grooming cement the tight bonds between a mother and her cubs.

6. PHOTO close up of cheetah looking into lens and the spots. Caption - a cheetah's spots are distinctive out in the open, but their unique pattern and colour makes them invisible as they enter the grass. 

1. Planning is everything.  A single-subject idea needs more intense planning. Wide-angle to super telephoto. Research other photographers. Paul Nicklen's 20/60/20 rule - spend first 20% of time getting the easy photos, 60% stretch your technique and vision, 20% for "once-in-a-life time" shots.

2. Trusting the process. Local guide important. Images as a body of work to tell a story. Use 20/60/20 rule.

3. Making rules.
3.1. cheetahs should be be a smaller part of the photo.
3.2  active, not sitting around.
3.3  vary focal lengths for more story options
3.4  show cheetah in its environment, where and how it lives.
3.5  don't give up. Use such mundane photos as sketch images to help build his body of work as he comes back after a day with no good images.

4. Narrowing focus.  Usually 200 mm lens or more to frame a scene. Cubs come near vehicle to play. 24 mm lens. Specific behaviour. mother grooming cubs, cubs playing.

5. Tell a bigger story. Back on plane reflections. His images are more expressive. Think of  "bodies of work" rather than individual images to tell a story. Beginning, middle, end.  No more instagram shot. Multiple shots over time to tell a story wel, with greater naunce and depth.
This approach applies to underwater and landscape photography and all genres.

Local - build long-term relationships with parks or animal shelters - LEARN MORE ABOUT THEM and use photo to help organisations tell stories and raise awareness.

Be prepared, plan and think about creating a body of work that is more meaningful than a single theme.






I always go with two complete camera setups: one body with a 600 mm and one with a 100-400 mm, plus 1.4x and 2x teleconverters for when I want to isolate a subject. I use a monopod to support my longer lens, since hand-holding a 600 mm for multiple hours is difficult at the best of times and more so on moving water.

The boat is moving and so are the bears, so there’s no time for do-overs. I set my camera on manual shutter and aperture and let the ISO float. This lets me lock in the settings I care about most (shutter speed first, then aperture) and not spend a lot of time metering.

In the early morning, I start out shooting at about 1/500 with a wide aperture; when there’s enough light, I push the speed to 1/1000. More light presents more creative choices for aperture: In lower light I need to shoot wide open, so I limit myself to isolating subjects against the background; more light allows me to stop down and put a bear in context.

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