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Wildlife Photography Tips.

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  • Wildlife Photography Tips.

    Following the release of the latest DPNow News letter, and the mention of any handy tips, I thought I would share a few nuggets that have served me well. Please feel free to criticise anything you dont agree with, or add any that may help!

    > Check your gear the night before

    Nothing worse than getting to a photoshoot with a low battery, or full memory cards! so make sure all your batteries are charged, and take a spare. Also make sure your memory cards are free of images.

    Clean all your lenses the night before. If you leave it to when you get on site, for the DSLR users out there, there may not be a convenient place to do this. So take no chances.

    > Get level with the eye

    When you are with the animals, always get to eye level (where possible). Sometimes this may mean laying or kneeling in mud, so its a good idea to wear old cloths, and maybe even leaving a change of cloths in the car!

    > Get focused on the eye

    Always focus on the eye, if you have a camera that has a centre focus point, you can always reframe after focusing, but always make sure the eye is the part in focus.

    > Think about the environment you are in

    For me, I like to eliminate any man made structures that may be in view. So if you taking the picture in a captive environment, spend some time walking round the enclosure, and then choose your spot carefully where the background wont show any man made structures. I tend to do this, then be patient and wait for the animal to walk past this spot and then take my shot.

    If this isnt possible, then (if you have the equiptment) zoom right in, and maybe settle for a nice tight portrait shot to eliminate them from view


    For larger animals, choose a low 'F-Value' this widens the apperture of the camera, and will shorten the depth of field. What this means in reality, is, the subject you focus on, will be in focus, and the background will be out of focus. This in turn makes the animal pop out of the screen/print making for a more pleasing image. For smaller animals like birds and insects you may wish to choose a slightly larger apperture, so as to get more in focus.

    >Think about the frame

    When taking a picture of an animal walking, running, or even staning with a side profile, this about negative space, that is, an area that the animal can move into. It will balance the picture more, and make for a more pleasing image. If the frame is close against an animals nose tip, the picture will feel somewhat claustophobic.

    > Tripod/monopod

    For me, a monopod is a handy device which I carry everywhere (in fact, it stays in the boot of my car, so its always ready) I love tripods for lower light photography, but for me, they are too bulky for work with animals. I always opt for the monopod. Not always useful on a shoot, but easy to pop to one side if you have to get lower than it will allow, and a lot easier to carry around than a bulky tripod! (othersmay disagree with this part )

    > Digital Zoom

    Agh, dont get me started! OK Some people may have digital zoom on their cameras, I know my point and shoot cameras do. TURN IT OFF! they are a waste of time.

    With digital zoom, the camera will zoom into the pixels, now your computer will obviously do a better job of cropping a picture than your little camera can. Turn it off and forget about it, always just use optical zoom, and crop the picture on your PC after if you feel the need to.

    > Check your pictures

    Once you have taken a few shots, and if your camera allows it. Check your pictures. Zoom in to the eye to ensure they are nicely focused. Its very difficult to check for good focusing without zooming in to the preview, so if your camera allows it, make sure you do as what can at first seem a pleasing image, may turn out to be a little out of focus.

    >Be prepared

    OK this may seem silly, but it has served me well.

    Always be prepared for your day out. Warm cloths, waterproofs, food and drink. Yeah I know obvious! but if you have that perfect position, and you get cold, well, you wont be enjoying yourself!
    Same if you get hungry or thirsty, pop a bottle of water and bar of choccy in yer pack as well! hehe!

    I hope they help!

  • #2
    Re: Wildlife Photography Tips.

    Hi Ben - all very good advice, thanks for posting this! t-up

    Digital Photography Now (


    • #3
      Re: Wildlife Photography Tips.

      All good points Ben