Wildlife Photography Tips

Here are 10 simple wildlife photography tips for the aspiring photographer.

1) Go on a wildlife photography course. Whether you are a beginner or at an intermediate level, spending sometime with a professional wildlife photographer can kick-start your hobby. I run a variety of wildlife photography workshops – contact me so that I can help you with your photography.

A wildlife photography course is a great way to kick-start your hobby.

2) Get the right equipment and learn how to use it. A common question I get is “what camera equipment should I buy”. There is really no easy answer, and it is largely a function of ones budget and level of expertise. It is a reality however that you will need some specialized equipment like a telephoto lens and perhaps something like a macro lens too. Again, some expert advice can save you a great deal of heartache, time and money.

For wildlife photography it is a reality that you will need some specialized camera equipment like a telephoto lens.

3) Importance of light. Be aware how light can effect the quality of your image. With a few exceptions nature photographers are looking for great light and are shooting early in the morning and late in the afternoon in order to get the warmth and texture of the sun close to the horizon.

4) Africa is full of great wildlife destinations and we are spoilt for choice. However it is quite easy to go to a great destination at entirely the wrong time of the year or even the wrong place within the park. Do some research or ask wildlife photographers for tips on your intended destination.

5) Be creative and look for different angles and try different techniques. One of the great advantages of digital photography is the ability to instantly see your photograph, so this makes experimentation easy.

Experiment with different techniques. What makes this picture interesting is that it was taken at a slow shutter speed to deliberately give it motion blur.

 

6) Practice on domestic animals and pets. When I get a new camera or perhaps want to get proficient with the auto focus system I don’t wait for my next trip to the bush.  I simply get hold of someone’s dog and practice on the animal running around the garden. Admittedly its not very glamorous but it’s a great way to get in some practice and get familiar with my camera.

Practice on domestic animals so that when the time comes for that once in a lifetime shot you will be ready and proficient with your camera equipment.

7) Wildlife photographs need to be sharp. (Unless you are deliberately shooting motion blur for example) Learn the basics of camera settings to ensure you have the correct shutter speed and depth of field. It is also important to learn how to steady your camera to ensure sharp images. Once again, a photography workshop can help you with these techniques.

8) Persistence and patience is essential. Yes you can be lucky but generally it’s a matter of getting out there for long periods and waiting for animals to do something interesting. Many animals, like lions for example, will spend hours sleeping and sometimes it is a matter of just waiting for something to happen.

Sometimes it’s all about patience. Waiting for a lion to do something can make all the difference.

 

9) Do not over look the smaller animals, which can be just as much fun to photograph and are usually much easier to find. Perhaps even in your garden. As much as I may like to spend time photographing an elephant it can be equally satisfying to photograph a small reptile or insect.

Smaller animals like these geckos can be just as satisfying to photograph as the larger mammal and bird species.

 

 10) Anticipate what an animal is going to do.  If you are driving through a game reserve for example and see an animal walking towards a waterhole then get into position before it starts to drink so that you are ready to take advantage of its behavior.

Anticipate animal behavior. I saw these lions walking towards a waterhole so I was able to get into position in advance and ready myself in anticipation of them drinking.