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Professional Tips to Make Your Wildlife Photography Better

Updated on June 19, 2016
LuisEGonzalez profile image

I enjoy photography and have been doing so professionally and independently for over 30 years. | Source | Source

Wildlife photography is probably one of the most sought after fields of work involving photography.

Ask almost any photographer whether he or she would love to do nothing but travel around, scout wildlife and be surrounded by nature and overwhelmingly you will get back a resounding yes.

Nature and the wild things that live in it present the most beautiful scenery than can be witnessed by any photographer along with being the most challenging to get right.

It is not just simply arriving at a location, looking for the subject and snapping pictures. That would be just too easy.

Most pros who dwell into this style do copious amount of research not only to include the behavior of their subjects but the area and its weather including the hardships that any wild location can offer.

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public domain (CC0) #000000 #a08060 | Source
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CCO license | Source

First thing you need to do is research your subject and you should try to aim for one main subject and not a smorgasbord at any one time.

Learn about how they behave, how they move, when are they most active, what their favorite prey or food is and some of their signals that may signal to you when the subject is ready to move or stay in one place.

Have you ever seen a wildlife creature, gotten ready to snap the perfect shot and just as you are about to press the shutter, it scampers off or flies away making you miss the shot?

Or maybe even been at the right location and after waiting for hours you end up giving up simply because the subject never showed up.

Things happen so the more you know and the more you prepare, the better it can go .

That's the nature of the business and knowing as much as you can about the subject and its habitat are keys in increasing your chances of getting good images.

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CC0 License | Source
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CCO lIcense | Source

Even if you are at the right place and at the right time and the subject shows itself, it is not simply going to wait for you and strike a pose.

Most are never quite still. They are constantly inspecting their habitat in search of food or in guard against potential threats.

You can minimize the chances of getting blurry pictures by increasing your camera's ISO and thus allowing the use of a faster shutter speed.

Keep in mind that the shutter speed should always be close to the range of your lens; a 1/500 speed should go with a lens of about 400 or 500mm. | Source | Source

Most of us can only afford one camera body but the time that it can take you to change a lens might be just the time needed for your subject to move and leave you without a shot.

If possible try to always carry two camera bodies with each having its own separate lens attached.

A good combination could be one with an 80mm to 200mm lens and another with a 400mm or longer lens. That ways you have the right lens for almost any occasion.

Which brings me to another tip; it is never wise to carry all you have with you into the filed. Minimize and only take what you will need for the shoot. Two bodies and two main lenses, maybe a flash, and a tripod is mostly all you will ever need for wildlife shots.

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CCO LIcense | Source | Source

Shoot often and not only when facing an exotic subject. It takes time to plan shoots, to travel, to get to the location and to take the pictures.

Exercise your skills by shooting any subject that presents itself no matter where you find it.

Whether at the park, your backyard or anywhere close to your house that will allow you to keep shooting all of the time anywhere is a good place to practice.

You can ill afford to get "rusty" when doing wildlife photography and you will be surprised how many things you can begin to forget if not applying them often, even on a daily basis. | Source

Most professionals try to fill the entire frame with the subject but once you have that shot vary your composition to show other aspects of the subject with attention to details.

Doing so makes your presentation that more likable and more complete.

A good trick is to focus closely on the eyes, the feathers, the head and so on. Including elements of its surrounding also adds charm and interest to the shot.

Include as much of the environment in some shots once you have captured the most important features.

By understanding your subject completely or as much as you can, by knowing good techniques and having them down to a science to the point that they become second nature to you, plus with a lot of practice, you’ll soon see how your wildlife shots start to get better and you will be on your way to capturing more captivating wildlife photographs.

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© 2016 Luis E Gonzalez


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