Improve your wildlife photography
Improve Your Wildlife Photography: Our 9 Tips and More
Improve your wildlife photography by following these simple tips and learn how to capture better pictures. With the right equipment, you can get stunning photos of the wildlife in their natural habitat without disturbing the animals.
Try using a wide-angle lens to show the magnificent landscape where the wildlife live. Take some time to research how each type of wildlife is going to react and act before you get started. You can improve your wildlife photography by doing some research on the animal you are shooting and observing. Be aware of the behaviour they exhibit before taking pictures, so you don’t startle the animals.
How Can I Start Wildlife Photography?
Wildlife photography is an art, and there are so many ways to capture that perfect shot.
As a wildlife photographer, you must be willing to go out and take pictures of wildlife and Mother Nature in their natural surroundings. We have listed some tips that pros and amateurs of all skill levels can use to improve their wildlife photos.
What Does It Take To Become A Wildlife Photographer?
The most important things to remember are your camera setting and being patient. It is essential to take an adequate number of images of the subject, always waiting for the best moment, getting closer or moving away, depending on the situation. You should also have a healthy obsession with wildlife and nature, plus a desire to be the best you can be.
1-Know Your Subject
Know your subject species. This can be a daunting task, but it’s an important part of learning to take better wildlife photos.
It’s important to know their preferred habitat. The better you understand the animal, the more likely they will pose for you without being scared.
Experiment with different angles and compositions. If you’re not sure what to focus on, try composing your photos in thirds. The best composition will always depend on the subject that you’re shooting, so be mindful of your surroundings and take time to analyze which compositions best highlight the subject.
Some of the most iconic wildlife images are those that have been captured by photographers who make the most of rare moments. The key to success is being well-prepared and having the right gear for capturing these images. Most professional photographers will carry two cameras, one with a telephoto lens, and the second with a wide angle. A new trick in the professional photographers’ arsenal is a motion-sensor camera.
3-Keep Backgrounds Simple
Getting as close to the subject as possible gives your audience a more intimate view of the subject. Moving closer ensures that the subject fills up as much of the frame as possible. Your largest lens will narrow the field of view in a photo so that your focus is on the subject, not on everything else around it.
A wide aperture produces a narrow depth of field that helps to blur out distracting background elements. Your subject becomes the sole focus of the photo, and by using this technique, you can create great photos with a shallow depth of field.
4-Photographing at Eye Level
Shooting at eye level allows you to capture images that are much more intimate, and the viewer has a sense of awareness. By positioning yourself, and your camera, on the same level as your subject’s eyes, you will increase the likelihood of your camera focusing on the animal’s eyes. The ability to separate your subject from what is behind the animal is one of the benefits of interacting with wildlife.
5-Be sneaky, Break the Rules
Understanding the fundamental rules of wildlife photography regarding lighting, camera settings, and composition is essential. Regardless of camera brand, manual or priority setting, back button focusing versus front, you have to do what works for you. Try experimenting with side lighting, back-lighting (or rim lighting), test different viewpoints, close-up versus wide angle, shooting vertical and horizontal, look for patterns, test different lenses, and settings. Try Auto ISO for wildlife photography. Once you know the rules, learn to break them.
A minimalist approach requires careful thought, observation and the critical-thinking of working within certain boundaries, exploring how much information to keep and how much to take away from the image before it loses impact.
7-Black & White or Monochromatic
A lot of photographers use black and white, or monochrome (monochrome is an image with a single hue), for their fine art prints. Black and white or monochrome photography, or conversions, can also help to create a “timeless look.
Although black and white photography has an abstract quality, some think that this may be what makes black and white so intriguing.
“To see in colour is a delight for the eye but to see in black and white is a delight for the soul” – Andri Cauldwell
8-Weather or Water Elements
When you’re travelling on an African Photo Safari, one of the most important aspects to consider is the weather. You can’t ignore it and hope that the weather will cooperate with you. It’s an essential element to your photo shoot. The fog and rain can help you create a mood or feeling in images. Fog, mist and rain will be the most common types of weather you will encounter.
If the wildlife you are photographing seems scared, try to find subjects that have nothing else to fear but the rain. Either a bird poised for flight or one that is about to hide. Reflecting pools can be an excellent place to photograph predators, move closer and keep natural elements like trees and plants in the frame.
9-Slower Shutter Speeds
This approach requires the photographer to pan along with the motion of a moving subject, with a slow shutter speed allowing the surroundings to streak. Try to keep your subject in the same position within the frame for the duration of the exposure. It should be rendered relatively sharp. Not only can this effect better illustrate motion and speed, it helps separate the subject from the environment.
10- Patience Is Required for Wildlife Photos
As a wildlife photographer, your images are predicated on the fact that things in nature are unpredictable. Anything can happen at any time. In fact, it’s always a culmination of many of the things we’ve discussed so far. Often, you may need to return to the same spot day after day before things start to happen. Even if you do, you run the risk of nothing happening. That is just the nature of wild life photography.
11- Be There, Enjoy It
Don’t get caught up in the technical issues and camera settings, take a moment for yourself, you are a witness to the great outdoors and photographing birds and wildlife. We need to be mindful of the privilege of spending time in nature and being in places where humans haven’t quite exerted their full force. I hope these wildlife photography tips will stand you in good stead out there in the field.
Wildlife Photography Camera Equipment and Lenses
You need something that you can attach various lenses to, so it should be a DSLR or mirrorless system. Top-end cameras usually have extra seals on all the buttons and rubber gaskets on the battery door, communication ports, and even around the lens to body joint. While most pro-level camera bodies now sport full-frame sensors, there is a slight advantage to shooting with the smaller-sensor APS-C format camera. If you have a great 400 mm lens that you love, it will be closer to 600 mm on an APS-C camera. Once you’ve got a nice camera body, the real tough choice will be what lens to attach. If money is no object, then you want the longest telephoto lens with the widest aperture that you are happy carrying. Being too close to use a long telephoto is seldom a problem with wildlife pictures, so the primary concern is nearly always getting the biggest focal length lens you can.
What Software Do You Need to be Successful in Wildlife Photography?
I’ve been shooting for over 10 years, and it has taken me all of that time to develop my digital workflow to where it is just right for me. It’s something I’m willing to share with you, so here are my favourite photo software programs.
Final Thoughts on How Can I Improve My Wildlife Photography
There are many ways that you can improve your wildlife photography. You can get better equipment, learn more about the animals you want to photograph, and take your time when shooting to ensure that the animals aren’t in a stressful position.
If you are just starting out, check out our other blog on How to Start Wildlife Photographys
Frequently asked questions
Which focus mode should you select when photographing wildlife?By selecting the continuous autofocus mode, the camera will keep the focus on the subject using all the focus points, from the moment that you slightly press the shutter button until the second that you actually take the shot. In a situation where the subject is standing still, I personally prefer to manually select the point of focus from the grid. Pro-Tip if your lens is not long enough, place your subject in the center and crop in when you are post-processing.
What is the best camera for wildlife photography?Any DSLR or mirrorless camera with an interchangeable lens will work well for wildlife photography. I suggest you carry at least 2 lenses, a telephoto and a wide angle. You will never really know what the situation will be on an African Photo Safari. This will allow you to get the perfect shot of the animal in the wild without having to get closer to the animal.
Where is the best light for your subject?Some of the best times to take photos of wildlife are on cloudy days, I also prefer in the morning and evening. Try photographing wildlife in a shaded location when they are facing towards the sun. This can create beautiful photos. Try positioning yourself between the subject and light source when taking photos of wildlife.
Qualities of a Wildlife Photographer.
- A love for animals
- A passion for photography
- The ability to create a story with your pictures