A guide to photographing Ngunis
The Nguni breed are the traditional breed of the Zulu nation and have become indigenous to Southern Africa. These beauties have played an important social and economic role in the development of Zulu, Xhosa, and Swazi societies and are also used as a bride’s dowry. These cattle are amongst some of the toughest breeds, being able to survive extremes in climate as well as, at times, very limited and tough grass – perhaps that’s why we love them so much, they’re determined! The unique patterns and colours have caught the attention of many and this is the focus of our imagery.
It’s a real skill to be able to successfully photograph Ngunis and luckily for us, John Lamberti, our photographer has the knack. These cows are easily spooked and unfortunately when photographing you are require to get up close and personal for an unforgettable shot. This means that it is important that you plan your session carefully and always respect the animal. Keeping in mind that John has had years of experience in dealing with Ngunis and photography, his work is impeccable! John has 3 simple tips which he recommends in order to capture the moment perfectly.
1. The Weather
Always check the weather before planning a photoshoot. Photographs come out best when the weather is slightly cloudy with a natural diffuser. There are many weather apps which will help you correctly predict the weather and which time of day will be best to capture the moment. Typically, the mornings or late evenings offer slight cloud cover and a natural bright light which makes the cows the focus.
2. The Season
It is best to phonograph this beautiful species in Summer at about 8am or in the evenings at 6pm. This is when the light is best. Firstly, move in closer and focus on details. Try and get the Ngunis in a shaded area to avoid shadows. If shade isn’t an option then consider using a flash or reflector to fill in the shadows in order to show the important details and intimate colours. If the sun is strong then consider experimenting with silhouettes.
Nguni cows are movers! It is best to be alone so that they don’t feel intimated by a crowd. You need to slowly approach the cows and sit in the grass, silently. Once the cows feel comfortable they will start approaching you. This is your time to get the perfect shot.