For a wildlife photographer, being prepared is vital to overall image success. Crowpix Digital Blog has listed 6 important photography tips for you to learn today in this quick-fire blog post.
Set up Your Camera Correctly
For wildlife photography, you want to set your camera to manual mode. I know it sounds scary, but trust me on this. Manual mode will enable you to get the exact settings that you want. You’ll need a fast shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second or shorter (more on that later), and you can set that in manual mode.
Set your ISO as low as possible for the best results, and then change it as needed when you’re shooting. A higher ISO number means that the camera sensor will be more sensitive to light. So if it is too dark, raise the ISO number so that your shutter speed doesn’t have to be slower than the focal length of your lens (for example 400mm do 1/400) and cause blurriness in your photo because of camera shake, subject movement, or both.
Get Close to Your Subject
Getting your lens close to the action will significantly improve your wildlife images. While you won’t necessarily need a super-telephoto lens for every subject, it is vital to have when photographing small or distant animals.
Getting close can mean different things depending on the species you photograph and their environment. For example, if you are photographing a lion on the open plains of South Africa, getting close will involve using a long telephoto lens (200mm or longer) from the safety of your vehicle.
Simplify The Background
A cluttered or distracting background can ruin a wildlife photo. Try to position your subject in front of a plain background and keep the sun behind you so it doesn’t create shadows on your topic. Shooting in softer light will help soften up your image and give you more pleasing results. If you have the option, take wildlife photos in the morning or evening when the light is softest (and most beautiful).
Take Advantage of Bad Weather Conditions
When many people think of wildlife photography, they imagine sunshine and blue skies. Yet, bad weather can be the ideal setting for wildlife photos in some cases. The world looks different in the rain, and you can use it to convey a feeling of drama or tranquillity in your photos.
Weather patterns like low-pressure systems and storms often create dramatic clouds that add depth to your shots. If you see these conditions developing over time, you may be able to plan and wait for the perfect moment to capture them. Watching such a scene grow from daybreak through until sunset could give you multiple opportunities for creative shots throughout the day.
Try Experimenting With Shutter Speed
Shutter speed is the length of time your shutter remains open, and it has a significant effect on the look and feel of your image. As you increase the shutter speed, you allow more light to expose your camera sensor. A slower shutter speed allows more light and creates motion blur by capturing the movement within your frame during the exposure time.
If you are working with a stationary subject, use a fast shutter speed to freeze motion. When working with moving subjects, try a slow shutter speed to blur motion and create unique images that show movement.
Don’t Forget About Ground-level Wildlife Photo Opportunities
In the excitement of shooting wildlife photography from a high angle as you drive through the plains of Africa, don’t forget about ground-level wildlife photo opportunities. Birds, insects, small mammals, and even reptiles can be great subjects for your camera lens. And as you’ll see in these tips below, there are lots of ways to capture incredible shots:
Remember the importance of the foreground when shooting a low-angle or close-up shot. Don’t just focus on your intended subject. You want to make sure you have a well-balanced image with an exciting subject and foreground interest. See how foreground interest adds context to the image below:
Photography is like any other sport—you need to practice. If you don’t get your shot in one day, don’t worry! Try coming back some additional time when conditions might be better. Great photos don’t come from the first try, so be patient and keep trying again and again until you get what you’re seeking.
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