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Top Tips and Techniques for Photographing Wildlife by Laura Jeeves

Top Tips and Techniques for Photographing Wildlife by
Article Posted: 11/16/2020
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Top Tips and Techniques for Photographing Wildlife

Art and Culture
While it is notoriously one of the most difficult genres to conquer, wildlife photography can also produce some of the most dramatic and awe-inspiring images one could ever hope to see. If your interests lie in this field and you’re looking to develop your skills, there’s no substitute for experience, but in order to get some good basic techniques under your belt, online photography classes are an extremely good place to start.

Capturing Stellar Wildlife Images

When you learn from established, professional photographers you’ll get a unique insight into the way they work and think, which, in turn, will afford you the freedom and confidence to begin developing your own creative style for photographing wildlife. You will, of course, go into much greater depth on your online photography classes, but here are a few tips and techniques to get you started.

Choose the Right Equipment

This is one field of photography where, if you’re serious, it pays to invest in the best equipment you can afford. A high-quality weatherproof SLR with manual mode and a selection of lenses (telephoto zoom 18mm-300mm, macro, for e.g.) will give you the most versatility. A good quality, hardwearing tripod is also a must, and don’t scrimp on a protective waterproof bag or backpack for all your gear.

Always Be Prepared

Having the right equipment is only as important as being prepared yourself, which means a decent hat, waterproof clothing for every eventuality, hiking boots, gloves, mosquito net and a first aid kit. Prepare for every kind of weather and don’t forget to tailor your preparations to each new situation/location.

Know Your Camera Settings

This is where experience comes in, but you can give yourself the best shot at success if you make sure you really understand the concept of focus (and autofocus), shutter speed and aperture, and know what basic settings are suited to a range of situations. Only you can decide whether you shoot on manual, priority or automatic settings, but you’ll really stretch your creative and technical boundaries further if you know the effects speed, aperture and focus choices have on your final image.

Learn About Your Subjects

The most iconic wildlife photographers spend countless hours studying their subjects’ characteristics and behaviour, so they can pre-empt as many situations as possible. If you know how an animal is likely to behave, feed, mate or fight, you’ll be able to identify a killer image before it occurs. You’ve got to be fast and opportunistic when photographing in the wild, so give yourself the very best chance by researching extensively.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Before you invest in trips abroad to exotic places, get in as much practice as you can – this could mean photographing your own pets, the neighbourhood cats and dogs and visits to the zoo. While a wild animal will certainly behave differently to a domesticated one, you’ll still be able to get a feel for how they look, act and fill a frame.

Composition and Context

As you may learn on online photography courses, even though it’s easy to forget the ‘rules’, they apply to wildlife images just as much as portrait or landscape ones. The most valuable compositional tool to consider is the ‘rule of thirds’, to balance your subject against and within its background – which, incidentally is vital in order to put your subject in context.

Develop Your Skills

Patience, persistence and experience out in the field are absolutely key if you’re to succeed in this challenging genre, but if you’re just starting out, online photography courses can give you a very good grounding with a range of tips and techniques from the professionals. You’ll be one step closer to capturing that iconic, once in a lifetime image we’re all chasing so hard…

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Adam Harper is a Photography Consultant at Masters of Photography, which offers online photography classes with 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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