If photographing wildlife is something that interests you, it is possible to start getting some practice in, even if it’s only at the zoo or out in the countryside capturing images of birds and small animals. It’s a fairly specialised field, however, if you’re going to get serious. After all, animals are highly unpredictable and you’re not able to direct them as you would a human subject. There are certain tips and techniques that can give you the creative advantage, though. |
While you might wish to take a free online photography class, or enrol in a longer, more in-depth masterclass to enrich your skills, the following tips from the professionals will go a long way to giving you an insight into taking better wildlife images.
The Right Equipment
You don’t need to have every lens and gadget known to man in order to take stunning images, although when it comes to shooting wildlife it certainly helps to have a least a few different lenses. At the very least you should have a telephoto, to enable you to shoot from afar, and a good tip is to choose one with optical stabilization, in order to negate camera shake. If your budget allows, a telephoto zoom (18mm-300mm) is a great basic first choice. In addition, a tripod is very helpful and a macro lens is handy if you’re looking to shoot insects.
Always Be Prepared
Even if you’re not quite ready to head off on safari to capture images of the Big Five, making sure you and your equipment are well protected is very important. Invest in a sturdy, waterproof backpack to carry your camera gear, as well as wet-weather clothing and shoes to protect yourself. You could also consider a protective rain cover for your camera and lenses while in use.
The Right Camera Settings
If you’re serious about capturing wildlife images and you’re looking for the best possible results, it might be a good idea to get some professional training with a masterclass, but even a free online photography class can provide you with a good introduction as to the best settings to use. As a rule it’s generally advised you use a low ISO (100, 200) unless there is very little natural lighting available. Because animals can move quickly (unless your subject is a turtle of course!) a fast shutter speed is a must; you can get away with 1/1000th of a second if the animal is stationary, but 1/2000th is advised for birds and animals on the move. In terms of focus, while of course there’s scope for your personal creativity and composition, when you’re starting out it’s a good idea to set your camera to autofocus.
Study your Subject
Finally, it can be very useful to do some prior field observation or desktop research on the animals you intend to take pictures of. Understanding their behaviour and habits can come in very handy in terms of being able to predict what they may do – although nothing is guaranteed.
Get More Tips in a Free Online Photography Class
Capturing an image of an animal, whether in the wild, at a zoo or even in a domestic or farm setting can yield magnificent results if you put in a bit of work and understand the many challenges you’ll be faced with. Take a free online photography course, watch how other experts work (both in person and in a masterclass if possible), and remember to expect the unexpected. You could surprise even yourself with what you can achieve.
Adam Harper is a Photography Consultant at Masters of Photography. If you’re looking for the best Masterclasses or a free online photography class they offer lessons and tips from some of the world’s greatest photographers. Suitable for all levels, the courses provide lifetime access to easy to follow classes, allowing participants to learn valuable tips and tricks and take big steps to improve their photography. The online community affords the opportunity to find inspiration from both the Masters and fellow students.
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