Your RSPB Local Group is the friendly face of the RSPB in the community. From inspiring talks with wildlife experts to nature walks for all ages and abilities, it’s a great way to engage with nature near you. In this last Local Groups special, award-winning photographer Ben Andrew talks about his entertaining approach to helping local group members improve their wildlife photography skills.

I regularly give talks at local RSPB Local Groups and always find it an enjoyable experience. My talks are usually 90 minutes long and centre around my wildlife photography and my work at the RSPB where I am in charge of the RSPB’s photographic library – RSPB Images. The talks are extremely visual so it’s usually a lovely evening spent looking at some of the UK’s most wonderful wildlife on a big screen!

My talks are mainly about my journey into photography and the species I most love to photograph but they are also useful in terms of learning more about photographing wildlife.

Attending one of my talks can inform the audience more about the fieldcraft needed to photograph wildlife in the UK, the equipment I use, the techniques I deploy to get my shots and the locations that I favour. I usually take the audience on a journey through the variety of wonderful habitats we have here in the UK. Hopefully you will see an image of a species you’ve never seen before or at least a new take on that species!

I also talk about what makes a good image, how the RSPB uses photography and how our commercial image library is run and how we financially benefit from the sales of photographs. This gives a good insight into the thought process of the organisation when it comes to imagery.

Generally, my talk is mainly for entertainment purposes, it’s simply a nice night out with some funny stories and lovely photos. However, my talks are also informative and educational, good for those either wanting to take up photography as a hobby or those already undertaking photography who want to expand their knowledge or even know more about taking their hobby more seriously. You should learn a few basics, there is always a question and answer session afterwards, and I always hang around until the end for a more in-depth chat!

Finally, if you’re a photographer, there could be an opportunity to contribute your own photographs to RSPB Images – so my talk provides a chance to discuss this with me and learn more about how you too could support the RSPB through photography.

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