“An animal doesn’t lie, it’s authentic. That is what I like.” says Photographer Fabrice Guerin about wildlife photography. Fabrice has a decade of in-field experience from the most remote corners of the world. In the last year alone, his images have won several notable awards in international competitions: Underwater Photographer of the Year 2015, Windland Smith Rice International Awards, DEEP Indonesia, and Annual World Oceans Day. He’s also been exhibited in the United Nations and been published a book by National Geographic.
One of his biggest tips: let the animal approach you.
Phoblographer: Talk to us about how you got into photography?
Fabrice: I began photography quite late, at the age of 25. First of all, it was especially for leaving memories to my family: wedding pictures, family portraits. A few years later, I joined a communication agency as Art director where I met a lot of photographers. I had the opportunity to do a photo-reportage. This is where it all started.
Phoblographer: What made you want to get into nature photography?
Fabrice: Since my young age, I have been passionate about wildlife documentaries. This world is fascinating because Nature is prioritized over all. An animal doesn’t lie, it’s authentic. That is what I like. I began photography in the forest near my home with a reflex and a telephoto lens. I learned to be patient, to watch animals and to understand their behaviors. Then, I explored new places, and I tried new approaches as the macrophotography.
After a few years, for the first time, I had had the opportunity to scuba dive: I discovered a new world. So I tried the underwater photography whose constraints are more important than the terrestrial ones. We put dive gear on, we are limited by time, it’s necessary to be stable, to have a high level in scuba diving and the underwater photographic equipment is very expensive.
Phoblographer: When you go about photographing nature, how do you increase your chances of running into wildlife? And when you finally find that wildlife, how do you ensure that you get the shot that you want/need?
Fabrice: Whether it is underwater or on earth, the most important is the ability to come across animals, because the animal decides, not you. I make researches to know the good places to find a species in particular. But sometimes, we see nothing for days and days: Nature is like that, wild and unpredictable. I photograph by instinct and I trust my lucky chance: being at the good place at the good moment. The photo should tell a story, arouse feelings and questions: that’s what I’m looking for!
Phoblographer: Ever run into any danger shooting photo underwater? How do you avoid getting nervous?
Fabrice: Like for terrestrial photography, you should never forget that you are not on your territory. You are the guests and you have to stay as discreet and quiet as possible. Let the animal approach you. Don’t provoke it or disturb it. Once you’ll be accepted, Nature’ll ready to offer you unforgettable moments.
Phoblographer: Talk to us about the gear that you use.
Fabrice: To take the opportunities to meet animals, I always have to be ready. Generally in terrestrial I have no tripod, sometimes a monopod. I use a lot of 300/2,8 mm and the 70-200 mm. Sometimes the 50mm. For underwater photography, I use a wide-angle 16-35 mm with a underwater housing ( Aquatica digital). I have two strobes but what I like it’s natural light. I use 3 DSLR : Canon 1Dx mark, Canon 5D markIII, Canon 7D markII.