10 wildlife photography tips

10 wildlife photography tips

wildlife photography tips owl
Photos: Danielle Lancaster

Capturing a magnificent photograph of an animal in the wild takes more than a click of the shutter button. Here are our top 10 wildlife photography tips to help you bring home remarkable images of our friends in the animal world.

wildlife photography butterfly
Butterflies can reward the patient photographer

1-Be an observer

Wildlife photography is much more than capturing a stunning image of an animal in its natural surroundings. You need to observe, know its patterns and habits, when it feeds and on what.

2-Big lenses are better

Big lenses are better unless you are doing close-up or macro. A longer focal length (above 300mm) has a few advantages.

It allows you to stay further away from the animal and therefore not disturb it. Longer focal length lenses also compress the image and make it easier to blur your background.

Image stabilisation is a great advantage on longer lenses. They are best for birds and safari photography.

wildlife photography tips bower birds
A longer focal length lens means you are further form your subject. This was taken with a 500mm lens and x2 convertor

3-Fill your frame.

I call it ‘cutting the crap but before you click’. Look around your image area and ask yourself, do you need everything? You will have a more dynamic image the larger the animal is in the frame.

wildlife photography tips owl
Photos: Danielle Lancaster

Make your wildlife the main focal point of your image

4-Know your camera

Be familiar with your camera and be able to change controls without taking it away from your eye. This way you won’t miss an opportunity.

Be prepared to turn autofocus off as it can create a disturbing noise depending on what you are photographing.

5-Get down on their level

Animals are always better photographed at eye level.

6-Focus on the eye

What you are taking is a portrait so always focus on the eyes of the subject. A rule of thumb is “get the eyes in focus and the rest will follow.” If the eyes are not in focus, it affects the impact of the whole image.

7-Disguise, camouflage and tread slowly and softly

If you need to move closer do it slowly and softly and take your time. All animals are wary and when it focuses on you avoid eye contact with it. If you don’t act in a threatening way the animal may let you closer.

8-Don’t feed wildlife

Animals in some areas have come to know man as a food source and therefore hang around campsites etc.

It is a fact that these can make wonderful models but please never coax an animal closer using food. It is not only irresponsible but it could cause someone to get hurt including the animal.

wildlife photography tips dingo

9-Be patient

You are dealing with a wild animal in the wild so no point getting frustrated you can’t get the shot you want.

10-Never stress an animal

This can be particularly harmful especially if they have young. While baby animals are so cute the parents may become incredibly stressed with your presence.

wildlife photography tips possum

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