- Bring Along Telephoto Lenses
- Mix Wide Shots with Tight Shots
- Predict the Animal's Behavior
- Head Out with the Right Light
- Experiment with Perspective
Getting out into nature and encountering a variety of wild animals, from birds and reptiles to mammals and insects, is one of the most thrilling pastimes of many photographers who want to capture the splendor of the natural world.
But wildlife can certainly be elusive, quick to run off, and adept at hearing or seeing you coming. So how can you get the most stunning wildlife photos more easily? Continue reading for five helpful tips.
To photograph wildlife, you need telephoto lenses to maintain a good distance, both for your safety and to prevent the animals from being frightened off. But the length of your lens will really depend upon how close you think you can get to the animals, as well as on the size of the animals you're planning on photographing.
For example, if you're bird watching or trying to photograph creatures that tend to be really shy, you'll need a very long lens, such as a 400mm or even a 600mm lens. Large mammals, such as those you'd find on an African safari, may only require a 300mm lens.
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Some photographers make the mistake of only sticking with one style of wildlife photography.
Close-up shots of an animal's face, for example, are great at displaying its personality or capturing details about its fur, feathers, horns, etc. On the other hand, if you can manage to zoom out and take a photo of a herd of animals together, you're able to get them interacting. And by taking a wider shot, you're also able to capture the animal's native habitat.
These elements are just as important in showing the viewer how incredible and unique these creatures are. So, in addition to your telephoto lens, bring along wide-angle lenses to mix things up.
Really knowing the wild animals you're attempting to photograph will definitely increase the odds that you'll get the perfect shot, so study your subjects a bit before you head out. In this way, you'll know what their typical postures are, what behaviors they exhibit, and what you should be looking for to take the shot before it's too late.
In addition to watching videos or reading up on the animals, though, get out there and just sit patiently and quietly observe. You'll be amazed by what you learn.
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When taking photographs in the great outdoors, you're relying on Mother Nature to deliver the lighting.
For wildlife photos, stick with heading out early in the morning, perhaps around sunrise, as well as in the evening around sunset. Both of these are times when you can capture that gorgeous golden light streaming down.
Midday, on the other hand, usually produces harsh sunlight. But if a day is overcast, you have more freedom in terms of when you can head out.
Again, knowing the wildlife you plan on photographing will also help you determine the best times to watch them interact, eat, and play.
Try to get a perspective that's around eye-level with the animal, if not lower, if you can. Of course, this will depend upon the species you're photographing, as you're likely to be below birds in the trees or lower than an elephant. But if you can get down lower to the ground, for example, to get a shot of an animal's view of the world, you're more likely to get a photo that really draws the viewer in.
Take It All In
No matter what, enjoy yourself and take in the experience while you're surrounded by nature and animals. Few people get the opportunity to capture unforgettable photographs of wildlife that can then be shared with others or printed and sold as works of art.
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