How To Take Awesome Wildlife Pictures
Let’s say you watched a National Geographic special on wildlife and want to try your luck. What should you do? Here are some tips on wildlife photography that will turn you into a pro!
1) Find animals
It may seem obvious, but the first step is to find some wildlife: you can go to National Parks, check some forums or consult with specialists. With wildlife, it’s important to be patient. Take your car and drive around with eyes wide open; if possible, visit the same place several times, as you may find different animals depending on the weather or time of year.
2) Be patient
Animals usually have programmed circuits around food, water, and rest spots. Study their behavior and try to guess where they’ll go next. Instead of approaching them (they may get scared easily!), you want to stand close to some food or water source and allow them to approach you.
3) Take steady shots
Since wildlife pictures involve large zooms, you want to take steady shots. If possible, take a tripod with you. If you don’t have one, you can lean against a tree or use a friend’s shoulder.
4) Don’t forget the weather
If it’s too windy, your shutter speed should be faster. Feathers, hair and leafs will move a lot in windy conditions so your pictures may look blurry. A fast shutter speed is the best way to avoid it.
5) Get the eyes
If you can’t see the animal’s eyes, the picture is not worthy. Wait for the animal to turn its head and look in your direction: the eyes are the key to capturing emotions.
6) Use hard light
In order to capture the essence of the animals, you want the light to be behind you. This way, you’ll get blue skies and illuminated animals. The best time to take pictures is the golden hour (after sunrise and before sunset).
7) Always be ready
You may have to wait for several minutes for a bird to fly by, and you’ll only get a couple of seconds to take your picture. Set your camera to take an action shot while you wait:
• Shutter Priority
• 1/2000th sec
• All AF points enabled
• Continuous AF
• Continuous shutter
• Pre-focus where you think the animal will be