How to Take Amazing Animal Photos
If you enjoy photographing animals, this article will undoubtedly provide you with some useful pointers that you can put to use right away. Animal photography, also known as wildlife photography, encompasses the entire animal world, from pets to polar bears. This article focuses on wildlife photography, but you can use many of the same techniques to photographing Muffin or Fido
These are the fundamentals of wildlife photography. There are always exceptions, but the following goes a long way toward ensuring successful animal photography:
# Use natural lighting to your advantage.
# Fill the frame with the subject.
# Focus on the eyes.
# Shoot from various angles.
# Capture personality.
Perhaps you’re wondering how you can safely get close enough to a wild animal to “capture personality” or “fill the frame” without a humongous lens and SLR?
Even professional wildlife photographers do not always capture their best shots in the wild. The majority of the beautiful photos you see of wolves, polar bears, and other wild animals were taken at wildlife sanctuaries and zoos. Cheating? Maybe, but it’s safer for the photographer and doesn’t interfere with the mating and feeding cycles of their free-roaming cousins.
Some wildlife sanctuaries offer special tours for photographers, but even without the benefits of these tours (often being able to get closer shots and away from the crowds), there are many things a hobbyist with a compact camera can do to take professional-looking photographs of wildlife.
Tips for Wildlife Sanctuaries and Zoos on Animal Photography
- Simplify the Composition: If the background is distracting, blur it with a wide aperture or in Portrait mode. Alternatively, use a photo editor such as Photoshop to clean up or blur the background.
- Keep it Natural: Avoid showing cage bars, fences, humans, signs, and so on. Point the lens through a gap in the chain link if it is safe and not against the rules to do so, so you can take the photo without the fence showing. There will occasionally be a vantage point from which you can shoot over the top of the fence. Keep an eye out for these opportunities. . Again, use a good photo editor to blur anything you couldn’t remove while taking the photo.
- Fill the Frame: To get close up, use a zoom (optical for best quality) or a telephoto lens.
- Use Sports Mode: To freeze movements, use sports mode or set the shutter speed priority to around 1/250.
- Make the Most of the Light and Weather: Overcast days are often ideal for animal photography. If the overcast isn’t too bright, it will keep glare from light-colored or watery backgrounds to a minimum. Increase the ISO if the overcast is too dark and you have an SLR. With just the right amount of overcast, you can get well-exposed, sharp images with your compact camera while the animals aren’t squinting. . Another way to avoid this is to photograph the animal with its back to the sun. In this case, use fill flash (turn off automatic flash and set to “On”) to avoid underexposure or a silhouette, and use a lens hood or wear a broad-brimmed hat to avoid lens flare.
- When Shooting Through Glass, Try This: When photographing a terrarium or aquarium critter, turn on the flash and shoot from an angle. When photographing living beings with flash, make sure to check your manual for the safe distance. Alternatively, turn off the flash and gently press your lens against the glass.
- Plan your Visits for the Best Photo Ops: People will appreciate your animal photography, especially if it includes baby animals. When new babies arrive, sanctuaries and zoos usually post on their websites, or you can call and inquire. Feeding time is another great photo opportunity. Animals that have been hiding for the majority of the day will emerge to eat. Finally, if you’re going to a sanctuary or zoo during the summer, go early in the day when the animals will be most active and not sleeping.
- Use Context: While it’s usually best to fill the frame with the animal, there are times when the context is too interesting to pass up. Context examples include a child and a baby animal looking at each other, and a giraffe with its long neck bent peering down at the car in front of yours at the drive-through safari park.. Capture Expressions: Animals, whether pets or wild animals, have the cutest expressions. Keep your camera handy! Even simple expressions, such as a wolf pup yawning or a tiger licking its lips, can be cute or interesting. The more you know about your favorite species, the better prepared you will be for their fun shots. So, the next time you’re ready to take some wildlife photos, use these animal photo tips and you’ll be amazed at how much of a difference they can make in your photos.