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Our Top 6 Wildlife Photography Tips

Wildlife photography has experienced a growth in popularity over the years. It’s not surprising, given that Australia has a wide variety of incredible animals to photograph.

With this surge in popularity, thousands of wildlife photos are appearing on the internet that aren’t quite hitting the mark. They’re too blurry or obscured, hiding in the dark.

Understandably, wild animals can be a tricky subject to photograph. So to help you improve your skills we have compiled some useful wildlife photography tips to get you started.

1. Get the right equipment

Equipping yourself with the right gear is the first thing you should do before heading out to shoot your chosen subject. For wildlife photography, a telephoto lens, such as the Nikon-AF-S-70-300mm, is a must.

The length of the lens needed will depend on how close you can get to your subject. Typically, 300mm is the minimum length needed for wildlife photography. For animals that are hard to get close to (like birds) a 400-600mm lens is suggested.

On the camera front, a professional standard camera such as the Canon EOS 1D X is perfectly suited for wildlife photography. However, if you are a beginner, the Canon EOS 700D might be a more suitable option.

It is important to remember that a great camera does not maketh the image. Take the time to learn how to use your new equipment correctly to ensure it is used to its full potential.

2. Patience is essential, not a virtue

Nature in general is unpredictable and wild animals are by no means an exception. This is why having a high level of patience will be useful when photographing wildlife.

You can never predict what your chosen subject will do next – or when they will come out of hiding – so bring snacks and wait for that golden moment.

By being patient you will be rewarded with satisfying photos as well as amazing experiences.

zebra in herd

3. Know the behaviour of the subject

Award-winning wildlife photographer Dale Morris believes that, with all types of photography, the more time you take to learn about your subjects the more likely it is your photos will be meaningful.

Animals have personalities too so having a professional lens will only get you so far. Although the behaviour of wild animals is usually difficult to predict, taking the time to get to know the personality and basic behaviour of the animal you are shooting (with your camera!) is crucial.

Consider things like: what is the preferred weather condition of your subject? Do they move quickly or slow (like a sloth)? Understanding their behaviour helps you predict how they will act and how you can set up your shot.

4. Practice makes (nearly) perfect

If you are new to the photography world perhaps your first mission shouldn’t be heading out to the jungle to start photographing potentially dangerous, wild animals. It would be best to start off by photographing the birds and wildlife in your garden or even visiting the zoo. This way you will be able to learn the basics.

owl flying through air

Due to the variable colours of wildlife, your camera’s metering system could encounter some issues. Dark subjects can be easily overexposed and light subjects underexposed. Using manual metering can ensure consistent exposures.

5. Know the rules and break them

Although it is important to know the basic rules of photography it is also important to break them. Sure, sticking to the right exposure is advisable but eye-to-eye photos (at eye level with the animal) is not essential for wildlife photography.

The subject could be distracted by their mother or enthralled by something much more interesting to them than you. By not adhering to this rule you could end up with an even more enthralling image.

light falling on tiger

6. Enjoy it

The most crucial tip of all is to live in the moment and enjoy the beauty of the nature and wildlife around you. Don’t get caught up too much in all the technical issues as you will miss out on great experiences.

Furthermore, it’s not all about the big animals – take a minute to look around and you will be surprised at what amazing things you spot.

Dale Morris rightly declares: “I am a firm believer that wildlife photography is not just about capturing great images. It’s equally about taking time to observe, and more importantly, really enjoy the experience of being in the company of wild animals.”

For the right wildlife photography equipment, be sure to check out our online store or head into your local Camera House shop to get expert advice from our staff.

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