Wildlife photography can be one of the most rewarding areas to work in. Animals, birds and insects are completely unpredictable, and patience is key. In today’s Quick Tip, I’ll be offering 5 super-quick suggestions to bear in mind next time you’re out shooting wildlife.
1. Your Pet Project
Photo by fofurasfelinas
Home is where the heart is, and there’s certainly something to be said for starting out photographing your own pet(s). There’s nothing worse than one unimaginative shot after another of your pet cat, but it’s an easy way to get used to the basics of capturing images of animals in the wild.
It’s easy, risk-free, and you have all the time in the world to stalk around your house like a member of the feline paparazzi. Just be sure to use the techniques you learn from this exercise elsewhere!
2. Continuous Shutter
The main challenge of wildlife photography – whether it’s of birds, animals or anything else in nature – is that your subject is constantly moving. A fraction of a second can make the difference between the perfect shot of the animal looking directly into the camera, or it dashing away into the undergrowth.
Setting your camera to continuous (or “al servo”) mode lets you capture a rapid series of images, and maximises the chance of getting the perfect shot.
3. Become a Stalker (The Good Kind)
Patience is key when trying to photograph wildlife in a natural environment, and you’ll need act like a well-practiced sleuth to avoid making your presence obvious. Arrive at your chosen location in advance, camouflage yourself, and be prepared to wait it out.
If getting close to your subject is going to prove near impossible, be sure to take along your telephoto lens to capture detail from further away.
4. Let Nature Come to You
Photo by johnb/uk
Although the great challenge is immersing yourself in the animal’s natural environment, there’s no harm in trying to tempt it to you. Why not set up a bird feeder in your garden? You’ll know (more or less) exactly where to point your camera in advance, and it’s a simple way to get started with wildlife photography on your own turf.
This is also the best time to perfect your settings – experiment with aperture, continuous shooting, and different lenses so you’ll be prepared when heading out into the wild!
5. Consider the Time of Day
Photo by DanieVDM
You’d be amazed at how the sights and sounds of the natural environment change throughout the day. Sometimes you need to suffer for your art, and it may well require you wake before dawn (or stay up late) to shoot that perfect image.
If you’ve ever been on safari, you’ll appreciate how it’s necessary to completely work your schedule around that of the animals you’re hoping to see. There’s no difference at home; if you’re hoping to spend time photographing more elusive wildlife subjects, be prepared to work anti-social hours!
Share Your Tips!
I’d love to hear any more tips you have to share in the comments. What have you found to be useful when photographing wildlife? Also, be sure to check out our profile of esteemed wildlife photographer, Colin Varndell.
Preview image by Dario Sanches.