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The Complete Guide to Wildlife Photography

Photography of wildlife might seem effortless, but it’s a lot more complicated than you think. Get ready to sleep on the ground, think quietly to yourself (it’s crucial to not make a single noise), eat less, and spend most of your time behind the camera… just waiting for the right moment. If you’re serious about pursuing wildlife photography, we’ve gathered a bunch of tips to make your new hobby less complex.

Tips and Tricks for High-Quality Photos

  • Explore your camera’s capabilities

Some newbies say that it’s impossible to get good pictures if your equipment is cheap. Read up on your photography gear and make sure you know how to use it. There are three core things you need to know about your camera:
  • your shutter’s speed and how to change it
  • how long it takes to change focus during a shooting
  • your maximum ISO speed for sharp images
You should also be able to change these settings without taking your eyes off the viewfinder. The most interesting things happen very quickly, which is why you can’t miss a single moment. 
  • Learn about the animals you’re shooting

Before shooting, study up on your animals. Where do they live, and what are their daily routines like? You need to learn about their feeding, resting, and hunting habits. With this in mind, it will be easier to capture the right moments.
  • Make sure you and your gear are protected

In wildlife photography, lousy weather can sometimes work with you and the quality of your shots. Shooting in dense fog, for instance, provides a mysterious atmosphere, while taking photos in the snow can create stark contrast. Take care of your camera and lens by keeping them dry and away from dirt. Also, don’t forget about your own safety. Wear proper clothing to stay warm, and dry yourself to avoid getting sick. Keep in mind that some animals might attack if you disturb them at the wrong moment, so be careful. Photographer takes a picture of sunset on a frozen lake
  • Don’t forget about the rules of composition

Regardless of the genre of photography, it’s crucial to know composition rules. You need to remember the “rule of thirds” (rule of thumb), be able to determine the correct exposure, and know how to use a histogram. Professional photographers will advise you to take pictures during the “golden hour” it’s the first hour after the sun rises, and the last hour before the sun sets. In the daytime, the sunlight is too harsh to capture images with good shadow rendition and color rendering. Selective Focus Shot Beautiful Indian Leopard Botswana
  • Be patient

It is impossible to calculate how long your shoot or trip will take in advance. Nature never reveals its cards at once, it shares its secrets gradually. Spend more time around wild animals. You can only catch interesting moments of their life if you are observant and patient.

Equipment and Settings for High-quality Shots

There is no general rule on how to capture perfect images of wildlife. Everything depends on the shooting conditions, the amount of light on set, and the animal you’re trying to photograph. However, there are a few tips that can help you perfect your shots.
    • Adjust the ISO. Begin with a low ISO (100, 200) to minimize the noise in your images. If it’s dark, you can make your ISO higher (800 is usually enough). Increasing the ISO affects image quality, so be careful and attentive.
    • Set your shutter speed. Blurry photos are something you want to avoid, especially if you’re shooting animals that move a lot. Select a fast shutter speed to avoid missing crucial moments and motion blur. Select the 1/1000 sec. speed for slow-moving animals, and the 1/2000 sec. for fast-moving ones.
    • Control your camera’s focus. When photographing wildlife, most of your objects are in constant motion. If you don’t want to miss anything important, the best option is continuous autofocus or Back Button Focus. It actively tracks moving objects, so they remain sharp while you’re shooting.
Beautiful isolated photo with a Canada goose taking off from the water

To Sum it up

When you get into animal photography, remember that you’re the guest. Do your best to not bother or interfere with an animal in its habitat. It takes years to master this skill, so be patient and never stop learning. Enjoy your time out in nature, and take in the wonders of our world. You’ll successfully capture the beauty of your surroundings when you learn how to appreciate the smallest details. If you keep at it, your hard work will eventually pay off.