Wildlife photography is a very popular area to specialize in, and for good reason.
It gives you a great excuse to spend extended periods of time outdoors, keeps you fit, and allows you to develop a real appreciation for the natural world.
But it can also be a very challenging field too, especially since your subject is often running away from you! Plus, wildlife is usually active in low light conditions at dusk or dawn.
If you are a beginner who is looking to capture beautiful wildlife photograph, you are in the right place.
We are going to share with you our top wildlife photography tips so you can start improving your nature photos straight away.
Study Wildlife Behaviour
Getting to know the animal you’re photographing can be a really helpful trick. If you know about an animal’s typical behavioral traits, you’ll be able to predict movements or particular things you can focus on capturing.
Do some reading online, or in textbooks, to learn a bit of background about the animal you’re looking to photograph.
Use Your Lens Hood
Lots of people ignore their lens hoods, especially for shorter focal length lenses. I’m not sure why, as they really do help.
Lens hoods are great at preventing annoying lens flare, something that is pretty apparent when you’re shooting towards the sun.
They also eliminate stray light coming from the sides, improving contrast and clarity of a photo.
Experiment with Light
Light makes or breaks an image. So you need to know how to use it to your advantage if you want to come away with something unique.
My favorite type of lighting for photographing wildlife is backlighting.
This is when the sun is positioned behind a subject, and you shoot towards it. It’s risky, as exposing the picture is difficult at times.
However, backlighting gives a nice halo to your subject, rim-lighting them and giving a very ‘magical’ feel to the scene. If the sun is particularly low, you can underexpose your photo to just reveal the golden outline of the animal.
Side-lighting is a little different, where the light source comes from… you guessed it… the side. It has a different effect, pulling out contours and casting interesting shadows.
Experiment with the Shutter Speed
You don’t always need to freeze the action by using a fast shutter speed.
Instead, slow things down and try to introduce motion blur into your shots.
This image of a puffin in flight was taken at 1/160th second. I panned my camera along with the bird, allowing me to freeze the head and body, whilst simultaneously blurring the background and the wings.
It’s hit and miss, and you will probably need to take quite a lot of frames to get it right.
But, once it works it can really improve your photos and let you offer something unique.
Use burst mode
Burst mode will, theoretically, increase the number of usable shots you come away with. There are so many variables when it comes to photography that this will actually make a difference.
If you fire off just one frame, chances are it could be blurred or have an awkward look to it.
So if you have a number of frames, hopefully, one of them will be a bit better than the previous ones.