Can’t-Miss Tips For Capturing Stunning Wildlife Photographs
When you think of wildlife photography, images of exotic animals from safaris and wilderness treks probably come to mind.
But you don’t have to venture into the heart of Africa to get some amazing wildlife images. Chances are there’s plenty of wildlife in your neck of the woods as well. If not in your own backyard, then most likely just a short drive away.
Capturing excellent wildlife images can be challenging – spotting the creatures, for one thing, isn’t always easy – but this type of photography can also be tremendously rewarding. Not only does it give you the chance to end up with some exciting pictures, but you’ll also have the opportunity to observe some majestic creatures in their natural habitats.
Whether you’re new to wildlife photography, and looking for some tips to get started, or if you’re looking to up your game a bit and capture some truly remarkable images, here are some tips that will help you to go prepared, and capture some amazing shots.
1. Know Your Subjects
Being familiar with the animals that you’re hoping to capture can increase your chances of creating some amazing images. It will give you a better idea about when to go, where to find them and how to capture them stealthily. Spending some time observing the animals will also help you to familiarize yourself with their habits, allowing you to better predict their actions – to an extent – and helping you to time your shots to capture some great images.
2. Know Your Gear
It may sound obvious, but knowing your gear is crucial when it comes to getting amazing wildlife shots. With animals, you’ll usually only have a few seconds at the most to capture them before they move behind a bush or amble away. Being ready and able to photograph quickly is important. Make sure you have the right lens on – and the settings adjusted – and ready to go.
3. Bring the Right Gear
No matter what type of wildlife photography you’re doing, you’ll want to bring a telephoto lens. For most wildlife, a 400mm lens is a good option, but for smaller, more flighty creatures such as birds, you may want to use a lens with a longer focal length – like a 600mm lens. Of course, these big heavy lenses aren’t the easiest to carry along on extended treks, so if you’re going by foot, you may want to consider using a teleconverter on a smaller lens, to increase its distance.
4. Work With the Light
The lighting can make or break your wildlife images. Images captured during the middle of the day, tend to be washed out, and lifeless, often with harsh shadows. Thankfully, though, most wildlife tends to be active in the early morning hours, or afternoon, which is also a great time of day for photography. During golden hour, there’s a good chance that you’ll have some beautiful backlighting for your subject.
5. Consider Your Shot
While you may be excited when you see a wild animal wander across your path, avoid the temptation to start snapping before you compose your shot. Before you release the shutter, take a second to make sure the horizon line is straight, and decide whether you want to zoom to fill the frame with the subject, or whether you should include some of the surrounding environment for visual interest.
6. Consider Your Angle
To capture images that stand out, consider your location when shooting. For a unique perspective, try getting down low to the animal’s level. The resulting images will be more real life than it would have been had you shot from eye-level.