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5 Wildlife Photography Tips for Beginners

Updated on April 16, 2015

White-Tail Buck

Beautiful White-Tailed Buck Running Across Field
Beautiful White-Tailed Buck Running Across Field | Source

Tips for a Successful Wildlife Photography Trip

I would like to give you, what I feel, are 5 important tips you need as a beginner in wildlife photography. One of the most important thing to remember is to "Plan Your Shoot and Shoot Your Plan". To maximize the outcome of your outing, you want to develop a plan. Know where you are going and what you are going to shoot. Once you have developed your plan, follow through and shoot your plan. Here are 5 tips for beginners in wildlife photography.

Ask Yourself a Few Simple Questions

1. Where have I seen wildlife recently?

2. What type of wildlife pictures do I want to take?

3. What is the best time to take these pictures?

4. What equipment will I need?

5. What will the weather be like?

Tom Turkey

Tom Turkey "Struttin' his Stuff" for the Ladies
Tom Turkey "Struttin' his Stuff" for the Ladies | Source

Where Have I Seen Wildlife Recently?

What wildlife have I seen lately? Think about what type of wildlife you would like to photograph. What were they doing when you saw them? Were they grazing at what may be a regular "dining" place for them or were they just passing through? You would prefer to find a place where they spend a little time. This will give you more opportunities for photographing them. Next, find the best vantage point to shoot from. You want to be somewhat camouflaged with your surroundings, but you want to have a clear view fo your subject. Look at what will be your background. Choose a location that will give you an attractive background, not one that is going to detract from your subject.

White Tailed Deer

Two White Tail Doe and a Fawn Headed for Pond
Two White Tail Doe and a Fawn Headed for Pond | Source

What Type of Wildlife Pictures do I Want to Take?

Am you trying to document habitat and behavior of the wildlife or the natural beauty of the animal? If you are trying to document habitat and behavior, you will want to back off in order to include their natural habitat in your photo. If there are more than one of the same location, capture how they live together in the wild. If you are trying to document the animals individual beauty or emtion, you are going to want to get in close. You want to capture the emotion in the eyes of your subject. Of course, if your subject is cooperative, try to take at least four different aspects of the shot. Turn you camera so you can get some horizontal shots, some vertical and always try to get the close up.

Rafter of Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey on Pond Dam.
Wild Turkey on Pond Dam. | Source

What is the Best Time to Be At This Location?

At what times of the day have I seen the animals there? Normally the best times to photograph wildlife is within the first 2 hours after sunrise and the last 2 hours before sunset. During the middle of the day, the wildlife tend to be resting in the shade of thickets or trees.These are the times the lighting is best and the animals are out moving around looking for food. Be sure to get there early, you want to be prepared a little beforehand. Get where you need to be, get as comfortable as possible and get settled in so you can be as quiet as possible.

White Heron

White Heron on Pond
White Heron on Pond | Source

What Equipment Will I Need?

What type of equipment will I need to accomplish my goal? Do I need to take a wide-angle lens and a telephoto? I usually use my 70 - 300mm zoom lens, this way I have both. Do I need to have a blind of some type? Blinds are wonderful especially if you are taking pictures of birds, but you need to have something small that you can carry with you. Otherwise, just remember to wear clothing that is not going to stand out. Do I need to take a tripod? This is a personal option. Some say "never leave home without it". Others say they hardly ever use a tripod. I will say I believe that the BEST pictures are taken using a tripod. Always take an extra battery and an extra memory card.

White Tail Deer

White Tail Deer Grazing in Early Morning Fog
White Tail Deer Grazing in Early Morning Fog | Source

What Will The Weather Be Like?

What type of weather do you need to be prepared for? Check the weather forecast for that day, you want to be prepared for either hot, cold or perhaps rainy weather. You don't want to go out prepared for a nice warm, dry day and end up cold and wet! If you are going out early of a morning, do you need to be prepared for wet grass and fog? Be sure and take a healthy snack and plenty of water, especially in the warmer summer days.

Slide Show of Nature Photography Trip

The more questions you ask yourself, the better prepared you will be. Be prepared to take advantage of any opportunity you subject gives you for a great shot. Now, the next time you are planning a wildlife photography trip, remember to “Plan Your Shoot and Shoot Your Plan”!

Do you plan ahead for your photography trips?

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    • ncareza profile image


      16 months ago


    • Ultimate Hubber profile image

      Ultimate Hubber 

      21 months ago

      Amazing clicks. Nature and wildlife photography is the best.

    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Hello, poetryman! Luckily, we don't seem to have many bobcats around here. Bobcats and turkey don't mix too well, do they! Thank you for stopping by!

    • poetryman6969 profile image


      4 years ago

      We have some wild turkeys strutting down the road now and then. I also saw a bobcat skulking the other way but not at the same time.

      Love nature photos.

    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      6 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Hello Au fait! I love taking pictures of wildlife that I come across where ever I am. Wildlife is one of my favorite subjects to photograph. I'm glad you enjoyed my hub and I thank you for your kind comment, votes and share! Have a wonderful day! :)

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      6 years ago from North Texas

      Excellent advice for people who want to have some great photos for hubpages, for their photo album, or whatever reason at all! A great list of things people should consider so they'll be prepared to get the best possible photos -- 2nd chances aren't always available.

      Voted up and AUI. Will share.

    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      6 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Hello Hunbbel! Thank you for your kind words. I am glad you enjoyed my hub. Thank you for stopping in, it is always appreciated! :)

    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      6 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Hi Moonlake! I take a lot of pictures out my windows in the wintertime also. I am not a cold weather person. I couldn't not live up north. If the wind isn't blowing I can get out for a little while, but not long. Thank you for your kind words, vote and share! You are really getting me some much needed traffic! I appreciate all your support. Have a wonderful day! :)

    • Hunbbel Meer profile image

      Syed Hunbbel Meer 

      6 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan.

      I'm not a photographer, but it always intrigues and fascinates me. The tips that you mentioned all seem extremely helpful and right on target.

      P.S: The morning fog photo is simply superb!!

    • moonlake profile image


      6 years ago from America

      I take lots of photos out my window just because it's to cold here to go walking around. Lots of great advice on taking photos. Vote up and shared.

    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      6 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Hello ianiott. Thank you for your kind comment. I read your article on wildlife photography and we have some of the same advice. :) Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Have a great day. :)

    • ianiott profile image

      Ian iott 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Such a nice tips i like all five tips thanks

    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      6 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Thank you Margaret! I appreciate your kind words and votes! Have a wonderful day! :)

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 

      6 years ago from San Antonio, FL

      Great advice, and based on your wonderful photographs, you really know what you're talking about. Voted up and useful.

    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      6 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Hi Bill! I just doing quite a bit of editing on it and thought I would share the changes. I changed the title too, a little more search friendly now. Thank you for your kind comment, I always enjoy hearing from you! Have a wonderful day! :)

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Sheila. Must have missed this one months ago. Great tips for anyone looking to improve their photography skills. Love the photos.

    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      6 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Hello Kymberly! I hope my tips are usual for you. Glad to hear you have a new DSLR camera. You will love it! Thank you, for stopping in and commenting. It is always appreciated! Have fun with your new camera! :)

    • nifwlseirff profile image

      Kymberly Fergusson 

      6 years ago from Villingen Schwenningen, Germany

      Great tips, and great choices for equipment for someone new to DSLR - thank you!

    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      7 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Thank you so much, I appreciate all your interest and kind comments. Have a wonderful day!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Again, very helpful tips! And beautiful pictures!

    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      7 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Hi Nomascus. I hope you find my tips helpful. Just don't try to approach them if they have babies. Glad you stopped by. If you get some good pictures, let me know! Have a nice day! :)

    • Nomascus concolor profile image

      Nomascus concolor 

      7 years ago from A Country called Earth

      Hi sgbrown! There are some deers I see quite often around my house these days, so I will try your tips... Thanks

    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      7 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Hi Tim. Thank you for your kind words and you congratulations! It is always appreciated. Have a wonderful day! :)

    • CaptureSafari profile image


      7 years ago from Westerham, UK

      Hi there,Great lens and will keep an eye on future ones Thanks for your comments on my lens as well..and congratulations on being a grandmother :-)..Tim

    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      7 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Thank you all for the kind comments. Sorry I have not replied and thanked you until now. Very busy with 6 week old grand-baby. I forgot how time consuming these little ones can be! :)

    • MidwestJerseyGirl profile image


      7 years ago from Western Suburbs of Chicago

      Thanks for these tips. I am new to photographing birds and some of these tips are applicable for any wildlife, big or small :)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      7 years ago from New York

      Good advice I will certainly try to take!

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judi Brown 

      7 years ago from UK

      Will try to remember your tips next time I am out and about with the camera - thanks for sharing.

    • Meadow Kelly profile image

      Meadow Kelly 

      7 years ago from Mid South, USA

      These are great tips for the less experienced photographer(like myself), Sheila. Thanks for sharing them.


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