When any photographer ponders about wildlife photography, he/she becomes tensed as wildlife shooting require specific techniques and tips. But don’t worry, we have gathered for you the most helpful wildlife photography tips and techniques to make it easy for you.
There are only a few things that you need to grasp before jumping into this beautiful world of nature with your camera. They will not only make your images stand out but also make it easy for you to blend in the environment and survive.
From the right gear to the right attitude we have compiled all the things you need to know. So add these 15 tips to your kit before stumbling on your next wildlife adventure:
You need a camera
The right camera can change the whole game for you. So invest in a good telephoto long lens which is truly a necessity in wildlife. Go for lenses from 200mm to 600mm. Sometimes even a wide-angle can be useful and create surprising results.
Better have a tripod
Tripod adds another feel to your images. Pair your camera with a stable and sturdy tripod and make shooting a lot easy and smooth for you. This gear is as important as the camera itself and can lead to some advanced shoots.
It does indeed enhance your wildlife photography by adding stability. And nowadays they are so compact that they can be carried easily as well. So they don’t hold you back, thus invest in them.
Respecting the Wildlife
Wildlife photography revolves around shooting interactions between wildlife species. But for this, you need their cooperation and for that, you need to respect them. If you want to create an interesting image then capture it most naturally without disturbing the animal. It should be the absolute top priority to not harm the creatures nor the environment in any way possible.
Never corner animals and always keep their comfort first. Like all subject, wildlife also demands respect so give them care to get extraordinary results.
Following the rules of the spots where you are photographing
Whatever your shooting jurisdiction is, follow its rules. These rules are for your safety and to preserve this wildlife. So stay on trails, respect the locals, keep the area clean and follow codes of ethics here. Act like a professional before demanding to be respected like a professional.
Most of all, don’t be oblivious or disrespectful to fellow photographers as they are in the same boat as you. Like in all professional, principles need to be followed in wildlife photography as well, because if we don’t police ourselves, then we give a chance to superior authorities for policing and restricting us.
Remember, no matter how long your lens is it does not grant you an exception to rules. So don’t become wild amongst the wild!
Become a Naturalist
The most important skill in any profession is research and photography is no less prone to it. So to become a professional wildlife photographer, camera and gear might be important, but so is research.
Because if you want to capture nature, you have to mingle with it first. So the tip is to become a Naturalist and get to know your surroundings before lifting the camera. Wildlife is not just about the right light or ISO, but it is also about the right moment. So, find out what animal you can find and how they live to capture the best shots at the most amazing time.
The knowledge you will gain will not only help you survive and function well but will also improve the quality of images. You will be ready when the moments come by and find compelling images that would have been impossible to capture without proper research.
Wildlife photographers shouldn’t mind getting their knees a little dirty as exceptional images require bending the legs. You need to get low, as perfect wildlife photographs need eye level or even lower angles to capture the best shots.
So get prepared to even lay down on your stomach as a lower perspective can add a whole new feel to your photography.
Long lenses are a must for wildlife photography as they let you isolate the pattern of animals. There is little doubt about the vitality if long lenses in a wildlife photographer’s kit.
So ensure that you have an optimal telephoto lens as it can play numerous important roles, such as magnification, cutting out distracting elements, isolating the best parts, blurring foregrounds and backgrounds and much more.
Long lenses might be indispensable equipment, but not all exceptional wildlife images require a long lens. Sometimes wide-angle lenses can result in extraordinary photos which long lenses fail to capture. So study the circumstances and go short when required.
Getting close to animals might be difficult but it transforms a picture. It is indeed the best way to make your audience connect to nature. The easiest way to get close is to by using a long lens.
This is the best method when the subject is either too large, delicate, or dangerous, wildlife and cannot be approached directly. However, if the circumstances are in your favor and you can get close to animals, then do it as the connection it offers cannot be replaced by a long lens.
The details that emerge when you get a close up such as textures in feathers, shine in the eyes hold an entirely new and valuable meaning for the viewers. This physically getting close is itself an issue as it requires a skill. The best way is to simply be patient.
To make your wildlife images look real with a long lens, make them sharp. For this, you will require a fast shutter speed. So follow this rule of thumb which involves setting a shutter speed at least as fast as Len’s length.
Animals are mostly in constant motion. Birds usually fly, kangaroos hop by, elephants swirl, and horses run. But to make these activities extraordinary, show these movements in the form of a motion blur.
This adds an effect which makes the image very compelling and helps it to stand out. So experiment motion blur as it requires practice. Begin by slowing down the shutter speed to around 1/60th second and then adjust up or down to get your desired amount of blur.
Steady camera – moving wildlife
Use this technique to make images in which the background and surroundings are sharp, while the moving subject appears blurred. The beauty in balancing the blur as too much blur can cause the subject to disappear, while a not enough blurred subject will only look out of focus. Reaching the right blur can be tricky but makes the image worthwhile.
A panning blur requires you to move the camera with the moving wildlife to create an effect of both the moving parts of the subject and the background getting blurred. This can result in some extremely effective and persuasive shots if done correctly.
Focusing on the Eyes!
The eyes behold the soul and this is very true in photography. They are the first thing viewers look at, so focusing on them is doubly important.
You can even make a simple image successful by just sharpening your camera around the eyes as they are mesmerizing and hold a lot of details. They not only capture viewers’ attention but also leave them awestruck.
For more tips about wildlife photography, please watch Morten Hilmer‘s YouTube video on this topic:
For even more insights you are invited to visit Morten’s website, which is really great and helpful for both beginners and professionals.
Telling a Story
Like in all minds of photography, one of the most useful technique in wildlife photography is also storytelling. Most of the iconic wildlife images have something to tell.
The best images always express something deeper that not only look dramatic to the eye but touch the soul. So ensure that your wildlife photographs carry depict something meaningful such as prediction in action. This doesn’t mean to be overdramatic as simple can also portray a lot of thoughts.
Even a basic interaction between two animals can be portrayed beautifully to tell a story. All you require is a bit of research on your subject so that you can mold it. It doesn’t matter which lens you use, or how far you are. All that matters is the relationship between you, your subject and how the viewer relates to it!
If you follow all the above-given tips, you will no doubt reach the height of wildlife photography.
Just put all these techniques together, such as the equipment and camera settings to perspective and story-telling, and you will surely be able to capture some great wildlife photos.
Last but not least, make sure that your wildlife photographs are thoughtful as they reflect your creative and intellectual choices.
So have a nice time wandering the wilderness with a camera and with all the odds in your favor!