Animal photography is shooting animals with a camera and not anything else. Photographing animals, whether in the wild or otherwise can be quite challenging. While models may pose for you, animals don’t.
Getting the best animal photographs calls for a lot of skills and patience. If animal photography interests you, then we have some tips to help you. Follow these tips while shooting animals, and you can expect the best results.
10 Animal Photography Tips
1. Get good quality equipment
If you want to get the best animal photographs, particularly in the wild, then you need very good equipment. You need a super zoom camera that can help you get the best photo. Cameras with 20x zoom and 4K photo modes are available. If you want professional photos, then you need cameras with such features. Some of the other things you need are:
- A telephoto zoom lens, if you prefer close-up pics of animals.
- A wide-angle lens when you want to capture the animal in its environment.
- Interchangeable lenses can be helpful when you want to switch over from shooting large animals to small animals or insects.
- A tripod is very useful outdoors to stabilize the image.
- A polarizing filter will be helpful.
- Have extra batteries that have been recharged and extra memory cards.
- You need a good quality camera bag to carry your equipment and keep it safe from the elements.
2. Know your settings
You need to know your camera settings very well. Practice extensively, so you are adept at the settings before you venture into wildlife photography. Practice shooting in your garden, in local parks, and even on the streets where you find an assortment of fauna. Some tips related to camera settings are:
- An f/2.8 aperture would be ideal for shooting animals (to accommodate the sudden movement of the animal).
- If the light is bright, then an ISO of 100 to 200 would be ideal. In low light, choose a lower ISO.
- Silent mode needs to be active, so the camera sounds don’t disturb the animals.
3. Plan your photoshoot
Before you think of starting with photography, you need to plan the photo shoot. You cannot expect to enter the field and start taking photos. Animals will not pose for you. It is up to you to get the best photo. For this, a lot of planning is needed. You need to know where animals can be found.
Find the best areas to spot animals. If you are shooting in the wild, going too close may spook the animals. You need to find a location that gives you a vantage point. Also, decide what photos you want. Do you want to focus only on the animal? Do you want the animal with its background? Plan the composition in your mind before proceeding.
4. You need to be extremely patient
You can take photographs of your pet easily since they are with you and will respond to you. Other animals will not co-operate. You have no idea when you will spot them. The perfect photo opportunity may come up anytime. It may happen instantly or may take many hours.
Animal photography calls for a lot of patience. You need to find a spot and wait there for the perfect photo. Patience is the key. It is like fishing. Some days you get a good catch and the other days you get nothing. Be prepared to return without any photos. This will help you learn the patience needed for animal photography.
5. Blend with the background
In the wild, you should not be seen. If animals can see you, they may not turn up or may shy away from you. You need to blend with the background, so animals don’t spot you. This will ensure they come close to you, and you get the perfect shot. Hiding in the bushes or behind a rock can help. You can also use tent blinds that camouflage you.
6. Don’t miss any opportunity
You may have come to shoot animals, but you may find the most colorful butterflies moving around. Don’t miss such an opportunity. You will not always get to shoot what you want because animals are unpredictable. Be prepared to shoot anything related to your theme. You may even get some good nature photos with good lighting effects. There are so many opportunities for photos amidst nature, make use of them.
7. Don’t be stuck to the viewfinder
Some photographers keep peering through the viewfinder to focus their photos. When doing so, you can miss out on things happening around you. Use the viewfinder only just before clicking. Keep your eyes open and be alert. Look around you, so you can spot something worth clicking. Shooting in the wild can be risky. So, you need to be alert to protect yourself too. You can consider carrying binoculars, so you can spot an animal from far and then move in that direction.
8. Consider camera traps
Professional animal photographers use camera traps in the wild. While they can be a bit expensive, they can help you get the best animal photos. Set up a camera in the wild. You will need to install a motion sensor. The moment the sensor senses an animal, it activates the camera. This will allow you to get close-up shots. Since you are not around, animals can come very close to the camera.
9. Keep clicking
You need to keep clicking when you spot an animal. Don’t rely on just one photo, as you may find some problems with it later while you edit. Take as many photos as possible. You can later go through them and select the best.
10. Be responsible
Be a responsible photographer. Don’t leave behind waste like plastic and bottles when you go out on a photo shoot. Clean up when you are ready to leave. Also, don’t disturb the animals or the environment excessively just to get a good shot. If you are shooting in reserves or in the zoo, know the rules and follow them. Follow eco-friendly practices when you go out on photo shoots.