Winning tips

Danielle Connor, overall winner of the RSPCA Young Photographer Awards 2013, enjoyed a great day out at our East Winch Wildlife Centre as part of her prize. Here she tells us all about her day, plus gives her top tips on how to take a great photo.

Being a finalist of the 2013 competition was a fantastic experience, from meeting the judges and other young photographers, to visiting one of the RSPCA centres.

As part of my prize, I headed to the RSPCA's East Winch Wildlife Centre and had a very exciting day. I toured the centre; including the veterinary clinics, where I saw two badgers that had just been tested for TB, an orphaned young robin, house martins and even some adorable hedgehogs. I also visited the young seal pups and the large aviary where a pair of buzzards were recovering from injuries.

Although I absolutely loved seeing one of my favourite birds - a kestrel - the highlight of the day was definitely using an underwater video camera in the seal swimming pool. The grey seals were very curious and I got some great photos.

My winning image (a heron) was not an unusual subject but it caught the judges' attention due to an unusual effect I captured in the foreground of my photo.

I would encourage anyone who enjoys photography to enter the RSPCA Young Photographer Awards.

Danielle's top tips

Understand your subject.

Your subject should come before the photo whether it's your dog or a wild animal. You want your subject to behave naturally, so try not to cause them any distress. If your cat doesn't feel like posing, try again later. With wildlife, learn about your subject beforehand and let nature come to you, don't go too close and cause anxiety.

Make your photos pleasing to the eye.

Consider composition, lighting and your angle. The best animal photos are taken at eye level - so get on your knees or stomach!

Break the rules!

The judges want to see something different. Play around with your camera settings, such as shutter speed, or compose your image in an unusual way.

Remember photography isn't about what camera you have, it's all about having fun exploring the animal world around you with your camera!