Wildlife Photography Tips
1) Know your camera and kit.
a. Fill the Frame – the larger the subject in the image the more latitude for using
b. Get as close to the subject as you can using zoom lenses, field craft or a
mixture of the two. Remember the Circle of Alertness!
c. Understand your Camera Settings
i. Use the Highest Resolution possible (Raw/Jpeg)
ii. Mode = Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority
iii. Metering = Evaluative/Matrix
iv. Focus Pattern = Ai Servo or Predictive Focus
v. Focus Mode = Continuous Focus / Single focus
vi. Shooting Mode = Single or Multishot.
vii. Remember the old adage “F8 and you’re there”. i.e. F8, ISO 400 is a
good starting point
2) Know your subject
a. What is its habitat?
b. What does it eat?
c. When is it active?
d. Does it migrate / hibernate?
e. When does it breed and is it more active/visible during this time?
f. Does it have seasonal coats?
g. How close can you get to it?
3) Practice makes perfect
a. Get out and practice. Go to zoos, safari parks, parks, gardens, countryside,
nature reserves, holidays and other locations.
b. Understand the drawbacks of shooting at some locations.
c. Practice on stationary and moving subjects
4) Remember light is king
a. Consider the time of day - Sunrise & sunset warms.
b. High sun causes fewer shadows but can lead to bland images.
c. Consider the position of sun to subject.
d. Understand how to combat poor or bright light.
e. Use filters, polarisers as required.
f. Remember without light you will have no image.
5) Understand how to compensate for poor results
a. Wrong settings – Practice, always take a test shot.
b. Subject too distant – Get closer!
c. Subject out of focus – Focus on the eyes
d. Camera Shake – Brace it using a tripod, beanbag etc. or increase shutter
e. Motion Blur – Increase shutter speed or light falling onto the subject.
6) Consider Composition
b. Place the subject in it’s environment
c. Look for interesting angles
d. Aim to remove clutter
e. Keep the eyes sharp
f. Consider alternative angles and Camera settings.
7) Remember what you have learnt before
a. Rule of thirds
b. Odd numbers work better
c. Get down to the subjects level
d. Work your subject
e. Take plenty of photos
f. Remember you can always change crops etc post capture.
8) Be prepared
a. Ensure you have the right clothing etc for weather changes.
b. For long days consider food and drink.
c. Have plenty of memory available.
d. Use spotter’s guides etc.
9) Be safe
a. Don’t put yourself in danger.
b. Consider the welfare of any wildlife you approach.
10) Have fun
a. If you don’t enjoy it… Don’t do it.
b. Find likeminded individuals to go out with.
c. Be an ambassador for wildlife photography not a luddite.
Quick Check List
1) Know your Kit.
2) Know your subject.
4) Be patient.
5) Take images of the subject’s normal behaviour.
6) Look for interesting or unusual behaviour.
7) Take many shots, use few.
8) Remember the Country code etc.
9) Take only pictures, leave only footprints.