If you love wildlife and photography then getting out into nature with your camera could sound like a dream come true. But capturing great pictures of moving wildlife is one of the most difficult forms of photography there is.
We’ve been noticing a fair few lovely shots that have recently been uploaded to CoinaPhoto that focus on wildlife, so we thought we’d have a little chat with our resident experts for some top tips on how to that perfect wildlife shot. Have a read of our tips below, and if you can think of any we might have missed, add them in the comments section.
- Getting out into nature and practicing your photography can be difficult enough for those with busy lives, but when you do manage to see wildlife with your camera you want to be able to make the most of it. Some wildlife photographs can be technically great but capturing a great shot requires knowing and loving wildlife.
- The really great moments in wildlife photography last on average between 5 and 20 seconds and if you don’t have a really good understanding of your camera, all of its settings and your chosen lens, you will miss the picture or end up with images that don’t look as you’d like them to.
- You should be able to make the most adjustments to your exposure/focus without lifting your eye from the viewfinder, simply by knowing the dials and buttons on your camera by feel and knowing the minimum shutter speed at which you can obtain a sharp image with your lens. Understand what in-lens/in-camera stabilisation you have and how to quickly toggle between focus points or focus modes. Also know how high you can go with your ISO setting and achieve good results – all of which takes a lot of time and practice and reading through your user manual before you’re ready to take a picture.
- Wildlife photography is trying to capture interesting poses or behaviour of your wildlife subject, which requires a really good understanding of the subject you’re trying to capture so that you can predict the animal’s behaviour and capture that special moment. The only way to get better is to spend more time with wildlife, sit and watch your subject matter and be patient.
- A few rules of photography go a long way in getting the basics right, firstly getting your exposure right in terms of aperture, shutter speed and ISO by studying the histogram of your photograph with your DSLR camera and making sure you have an evenly exposed frame. The ‘rule of thirds’ is another important aspect to think about – an image where the focus point is at one third or two thirds along the frame is an easy draw for the viewer.
- For really great close-up pictures of wildlife, the subject making eye contact with the camera can make for a strong image, for example trying to capture a picture of a bird as it moves its head perpendicular to the camera’s imaging sensor.
- Stick to the early hours of light, get outside to the field before sunrise and be there for the last hours of sunlight before sunset. The light in the middle of the day is usually too harsh, except for on a really overcast day when the clouds can act as a light filter. Learn how to use the light to your best advantage and occasionally even shooting into the light can produce some interesting images.
- Don’t be obsessed with getting as close as possible to animals as a picture taken with a wider angle allows you to see the subject in their own environment and make the most of the beautiful landscape and sky around them. Or if you want to shoot close, make sure you have a longer lens with optional teleconverter to create interesting studies of the animals/birds you photograph and get as low as you can – an eye-level perspective or lower brings the viewer right into the scene and brings you to the subject’s perspective.
- Be patient – nature is unpredictable but most things happen only rarely so it’s important that you’re patient and ready to capture the magic moments.
- Lastly, you don’t have to be in the Serengeti to take pictures of wildlife. The animal kingdom, flora and fauna are all around us. A shot of the quizzical cat next door can be just as exciting as that yawning lion!
As always with photography, practice makes perfect. So get snapping and share your photos with your friends. Why not upload some of your best Wildlife photography on to CoinaPhoto?