How to Start Wildlife Photography
Wildlife photography is a great type of photography for everyone, including beginners. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being in the right place at the right time, and capturing the dream shot of a photo of animals in the wild. There are a number of easy wildlife photography tips for beginners that can get you started… So why not continue reading our blog on how to start wildlife photography.
A great thing about photographing wildlife is that animals don’t get irritated or bored, and you don’t have to ask their permission! But taking a quality photo of wildlife animals can also be extremely challenging because you can’t ask them to move or pose for you – so, any beginners’ tips you can get are worthwhile when it comes to starting out as a wildlife photographer.
You have to work with what you’ve got, and learn how to make the best of any given situation because wild animals are going to do what they’re going to do when it comes to taking nature photos. Unfortunately, you can’t ask them to look this way, or do something dramatic and interesting, or stand where the light is better. You have to be there, ready, and when the perfect moment comes, you just have to hope they’ll do something interesting.
So, be prepared to wait- it can take a long time to get good wildlife shots, and even longer to make great ones.
Wildlife Photography Tips
If you want to capture wildlife in their natural habitats, you need the top gear – but it doesn’t have to be expensive and the most advanced, but you do need to ensure you have a relatively good amount of equipment if you want to avoid disappointment.
Having a basic understanding of the animals you are photographing is essential to becoming a wildlife photographer, so tapping into your local knowledge is a great place to start. Wonderful wildlife photography can be just around the corner – literally! Research what animals and other wildlife photography are close to where you live and learn about your subject.
If you are a beginner wildlife photography a really good place to start locally is in your own back garden or a local park, or perhaps a nearby national park or forest. Try and learn about the different types of wild animals in your area—their daily habits, their mating rituals, and, most importantly, the time of day when they are most likely to be active.
Get close and study them, so you can work out when the best time to capture that amazing shot is because the best place to begin photographing wild creatures is somewhere close to where you can explore the natural world, where you feel comfortable, and where you know there will be plenty of potential for wildlife photos.
Once you’ve decided where you’re going to photograph animals, you need to keep your camera focused, and you’ll soon grow more comfortable with these natural situations, so you can expand your photography radius.
Remember, you can shoot creatures in their natural habitat anywhere in the world – you just need the right attitude, a well-behaved subject and the right equipment, and know your camera photo settings!
Professional Wildlife photographers need to prepare for early mornings and long days as most creatures have their active periods just before the sun comes up and just as the sun goes down. And patience and perseverance are key elements to obtaining stunning wildlife images.
Although it’s possible to shoot wildlife photography on your iPhone, a digital camera is thought to be the best, partly because of the large number of photographs you’ll need to take to get a quality image.
- Make sure it has a burst feature as this allows you to photograph in bursts of multiple frames per second which is also ideal for when you want to catch just the right moment for your subject.
- You should also consider ones with fast shutter speeds. For example, shooting at 400mm would mean you’d want a shutter speed of at least 1/400th to avoid any camera shake.
- If you are interested in taking photographs that capture extreme close-ups of nature, such as flowers, you should perhaps invest in one that will produce a good depth of field.
- The best have a fast autofocus so that your camera can quickly zone in and focus on fast-moving creatures. A telepho lens is also something to consider.
- When buying a camera body is you should think about the ISO, which is also known as film speed and refers which is the speed at which it processes light.
- If you’re intending to photograph a subject in nature that can scare easily, use a zoom lens so you can keep distance between you and your subject.
- If you’re shooting moving objects, a tripod is extremely useful.
- If you’re more into landscapes and scenes however, a wide-angle or long lens is a must.
Wildlife Photographers’ ISO
If you are interested in wildlife photography, you should pay a lot of attention to your camera’s ISO capabilities and its frames per second (FPS) ratio – shutter speed. This is because you’ll very likely to end up shooting in low-light conditions. So, in order to capture great images when the lighting is poor, you’ll need to raise the ISO without introducing too much noise. Your ISO speed is a setting you’ll become very familiar with as a wildlife photographer, and you’ll probably find yourself constantly adjusting it as the light gets lower. A higher ISO value means that the sensor is more sensitive to light. Your ISO speed should be as high as necessary, but as low as possible. Different cameras have different capabilities when it comes to ISO speeds.
Other Gear Ideas
The key to a perfect image is to know how to use your camera properly when it comes to taking photos. Setting up a photo shot is one thing, how you capture that image is another. Play around and practice with your settings is advised so you don’t cause havoc with your images.
Taking a photo of a fabulous animal image in its natural settings means knowing not only your environment, you need to know how your equipment works too – and not just when you’re about to shoot!
When it comes to wildlife photography lens, an important aspect is the luminosity -the brighter the better, and its maximum focal range. On the whole the subjects won’t let many people get close to them, so having a 500mm or 600mm lens is a great advantage and with so many telephoto zoom lenses on the market that allow you to cover a huge focal range (150-600mm, 200-500mm, 100-400mm, etc. you’ll be spoiled for choice.
Whenever you’re out there, whether you’re hiking or sitting in your car waiting for something to happen, look around at the different species. You’ll be amazed at what you might discover – and then photograph that too!
Conclusion – How to Start Wildlife Photography
If you’ve been interested in wildlife photography but have yet to get started, now is the perfect time. There are several great resources out there for beginner photographers including our this blog post on how to take better wildlife photos So what are you waiting for? Get your camera ready and head outside!
If you want more information on how to become a successful wildlife photographer or need assistance planning your next safari trip across Africa so you can practice these techniques firsthand, contact us today!
Frequently Asked Questions
Most frequent questions and answers
Answer: This is a great question. The best way to become a professional wildlife photographers is by doing what you are passionate about and the following steps.
To become a wildlife photographer, it’s important to understand the environment in which you will be working. You’ll want to study ecology and animal habitats, form relationships with a few key people in that area (whether they’re guides or locals), and take photos as much as possible while learning more about what makes them good. It’s also important when using all the different lenses to know how each lens affects your images. Remember — your gear must always match your situation!
Answer: While there are some people who make a full-time living from wildlife photography, it is an expensive hobby and has been described as “a high-stress profession”. Wildlife photographers are outside, for up to 10 hours per day photographing animals, often under strenuous conditions.
The many variables of this job can make it difficult or not practical for some. Supporting oneself off of wildlife photography alone is possible though it takes up all your free time and resources in order to receive relevant work assignments. If being outdoors doesn’t suit your personality, then this may not be the career for you.
Answer: Yes, there can be money in wildlife photography. Professional wildlife photographers have to do much more than a simple photo shoot for the right project to create valuable images, but with hard work and dedication the profession can yield significant income.
Photography is just one aspect of the field, and a photographer must master a diverse set of skills. Wildlife photography demands constant observation, patience & planning while also being persistence if viewing conditions are not perfect or is the animals are less than cooperative. Few people possess all these qualities, yet those who do command high salaries since their time is both scarce and valuable.