15 Wildlife Photography Tips For Better Images

Written By: John

The peaceful tranquility of the wilderness, juxtaposed with the vibrant energy of the creatures that inhabit it. The natural beauty and wonder of the world around us, waiting to be captured in a single moment of photographic brilliance. Wildlife photography is an art form that can capture these moments, allowing us to appreciate the beauty and vitality of nature’s creatures.

In this article, we will discuss some tips for capturing stunning wildlife photographs. We will look at how to set up your equipment, how to select a location, and how to approach animals in their natural habitats. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced photographer looking for ways to improve your shots, this article will provide valuable insight into the world of wildlife photography.

By following these simple tips and techniques, you will be able to take amazing photos that showcase the unique personalities and characteristics of wild animals in their native environments – providing memories that will last a lifetime!

1. Choosing Equipment For Wildlife Photography

Creating stunning wildlife photographs is like creating masterpieces with a paintbrush; the right equipment can make all the difference. When selecting equipment for wildlife photography, there are several considerations to keep in mind.

Camera body: For wildlife photography, it’s best to choose a camera body with a high resolution and good autofocus capabilities. Look for cameras that are weather sealed, as you may encounter inclement weather during your shoots. Additionally, look for one that has an intervalometer and multiple focus points to ensure your photos stay sharp.

Lens: A long-range lens is crucial for getting close-up shots of animals without disturbing them. Look for lenses with image stabilization or vibration reduction features, fast autofocus motors, wide maximum aperture settings, and low minimum focusing distances.

Support: A tripod will give you stability and will also help reduce camera shake when photographing animals in low-light conditions. Look for a lightweight model that is easy to carry around while you’re out shooting in the field.

Understanding your camera settings is key to capturing great photos of wildlife in any environment. Careful planning and preparation can make all the difference between taking an average photo or capturing a stunning shot that you’ll cherish forever.

2. Understanding Your Camera Settings

Gaining a better understanding of your camera settings is an essential part of wildlife photography. No matter how good the gear, if you don’t know how to make use of it, you won’t be able to capture great images. Let’s explore some tips and techniques for making the most out of your camera settings.

First off, get familiar with all the features and functions available on your camera. Most cameras have a plethora of settings and options that can help you capture the perfect shot. Take some time to read up on what each setting does, so you can make use of them when needed. It’s also a good idea to practice changing these settings in different lighting conditions, so that you’re comfortable using them when out in the field.

Next, learn how to adjust both shutter speed and aperture depending on the situation. If you’re trying to capture a moving subject like a bird or an animal running by, then increasing your shutter speed will help freeze their motion in time. On the other hand, if you’re photographing a stationary subject like trees or mountains, then reducing your shutter speed can help create interesting effects like capturing light trails or blurring clouds for dramatic effect. Similarly, adjusting your aperture will result in different levels of depth-of-field which can help draw attention to certain elements in the frame.

Finally, experiment with different ISO settings as well – higher ISO numbers will let more light into the frame allowing for brighter photos while lower ISO numbers would be ideal for darker scenes where more detail is visible. Once you’ve got a handle on these basic camera settings, you’ll be able to take better control over your shots and craft stunning photographs! Moving forward from here we’ll explore selecting the right lens for wildlife photography…

3. Selecting The Right Lens

When it comes to wildlife photography, selecting the right lens is paramount. It’s important to know that lenses differ in their capabilities and features. Here are some tips for choosing the right lens for your needs:

First, consider the focal length of your lens. The greater the focal length, the more zoom capability you have. Lens focal lengths can range from wide angle lenses to super telephoto lenses and everything in between.

Second, look at the maximum aperture size of a lens. The higher the number, the more light it lets in and can help capture even faster action shots or photos with limited light.

Third, think about what type of autofocus system works best for your situation. Many lenses come with fast autofocus systems which are great if you’re shooting fast-moving subjects or in low light conditions.

Finally, weigh up whether you need any special features such as image stabilization or weather sealing protection – these will vary depending on the type of wildlife photography you’re doing.

With all these considerations in mind, it’s time to move onto scouting out the perfect location for your shoot. Before heading out into nature with camera in hand, it’s important to plan ahead and choose a spot where you can observe and capture great images of wildlife in their natural habitat…

4. Scouting The Location

Scouting the location is an important step in wildlife photography. Statistics show that 89% of professional photographers take time to scout out a location before they shoot, and when done correctly it can lead to stunning results. To get the most out of scouting, consider the following:

  • Researching wildlife hot spots. Knowing where wildlife congregate is essential for successful nature photography. Do your research beforehand and find out where you are most likely to find the animals you’re looking for.
  • Visiting at different times of day. Wildlife behavior changes throughout the day, so it’s best to get a sense of what will be happening in your chosen spot when you plan on shooting there. Depending on the animal, this might mean visiting at dawn or dusk or during a certain season.
  • Taking notes about potential shots. Once you’ve scouted a location, jot down any ideas you have for interesting angles or compositions that could work well when you come back with your camera in hand. This can save time later on so that you don’t have to brainstorm on the spot when you’re trying to capture that perfect shot!

By taking these steps into consideration and fully preparing yourself before heading out into nature, you can set yourself up for success and make sure your photographs are as amazing as possible! Transitioning now into getting close to subjects, let’s explore how we can bring our shots to life by working with our environment.

5. Getting Close To Subjects

Getting close to subjects is one of the most important aspects of wildlife photography. It allows you to capture the animals in their natural habitat and get a detailed look at their behavior and expressions. But getting too close can be dangerous for both you and the wildlife, so it’s important to know how to approach them safely.

First, it’s essential to know the type of animal you want to photograph. Different species will have different behaviors and may require unique approaches when trying to get close. For example, some birds may fly away if you get too close while others may be more tolerant of your presence.

It’s also important to remember that animals are unpredictable, so it’s best not to take any risks when approaching them. Staying back from an animal can give you a better angle for your shot without putting yourself or the animal in danger. If an animal does seem agitated or aggressive, it’s best to back off right away and give them space.

Finally, move slowly and calmly when getting closer to an animal. This will help keep them relaxed while giving you time to adjust your camera settings and find the best angle for your shot. Pay attention to their body language as well; if they start showing signs of distress or aggression, then it’s time to stop and move back again.

By following these steps when getting close to wildlife subjects, photographers can ensure they are capturing great shots while also keeping themselves and the animals safe. Utilizing natural light is another key element of wildlife photography that can help bring out beautiful colors in your photos…

6. Utilizing Natural Light

When it comes to wildlife photography, utilizing natural light is an essential skill. Capturing the beauty of nature requires a photographer to understand how to use the light they have available. Whether you are shooting in direct sunlight, diffused light or low light, knowledge of natural light can help create stunning images.

Direct sunlight is a great way to make a wildlife subject stand out against its background and illuminate details. When using this type of lighting, be aware that it can cause harsh shadows and bright spots. To combat this, try diffusing the sun’s rays by positioning your subject in the shade or using a reflector or scrim.

For photographers looking for more subtle lighting effects, diffused light from overcast skies is the ideal solution. This type of soft light will make colors look richer and details sharper in your photos without any harsh shadows or overexposed areas. To maximize the effect, try taking your shots on an overcast day with white clouds as a backdrop.

Low-light conditions can also provide an interesting challenge for wildlife photographers. In these types of scenes, experimenting with slow shutter speeds or increasing the ISO settings may be necessary to achieve desired results. With some patience and practice, you’ll soon figure out what techniques work best for capturing beautiful moments in dimly lit environments.

Capturing movement through photography presents its own unique challenges but also offers exciting opportunities to get creative with framing and composition techniques.

7. Capturing Movement

Capturing movement in wildlife photography is an important skill set to master. To achieve a successful photo, you’ll need to learn how to freeze motion, as well as capture the blur of motion. It’s also important to consider the composition of your shot, so that all elements create a strong image.

First, you’ll want to make sure you are using a fast shutter speed. This will help freeze the action and minimize any blur from movement. You should select a shutter speed that is at least 1/500th of a second or faster. If you are shooting in low light conditions, be prepared to increase your ISO to avoid motion blur.

Next, it’s important to think about your composition when capturing movement in wildlife photography. Consider what elements in the frame will be blurred and which will be sharp. Make sure the blurred elements are leading into the main point of focus. This helps create visual tension and draws attention to the subject matter in the frame.

When shooting moving subjects, it’s best practice to use continuous auto-focus mode on your camera. This allows you to keep your subject in focus while they are moving through different parts of the frame or distance from your camera’s lens. With a little practice, you can master capturing movement with ease! Transitioning into flash photography can help illuminate subjects and create stunning images even in low light conditions.

8. Using Flash To Illuminate Subjects

When it comes to wildlife photography, using a flash may seem counterintuitive. But in reality, it can be incredibly useful for illuminating the subject – bringing out details that might otherwise be lost in shadows or darkness.

Flash photography can add drama and impact to your shots – allowing you to capture vivid images that are full of depth. It’s also great for freezing movement, so you can take sharp photos even when your subjects are in motion.

But, of course, it’s important to use flash responsibly – particularly if you’re taking pictures of animals in their natural habitat. Be sure to have the right equipment and settings; this will help you avoid disturbing any wildlife or disrupting their environment.

Using flash judiciously can help you take stunning photographs of wild creatures without compromising their safety or wellbeing – so why not give it a try? With the right technique and an eye for detail, you’re sure to get some amazing shots!

9. Incorporating Backgrounds

When capturing wildlife, backgrounds can be a photographer’s best friend. As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and it’s no different for wildlife photography – creating an interesting backdrop can bring your photos to life. Think of it as a frame within a frame: the background serves to emphasize the subject and create depth in your image.

To illustrate this point, consider the story of photographer Jeff Revell: while photographing the beautiful polar bear on Svalbard Island in Norway, he noticed an added layer of beauty provided by the majestic mountains in the background. The mountainous backdrop not only served to enhance his composition but also brought attention to his subject – a feat that wouldn’t have been possible without using backgrounds effectively.

In addition to providing depth and context, backgrounds can also help establish scale or contrast in your images. For example, when photographing larger animals such as elephants or buffalo, adding smaller objects like trees or bushes into your frame will help give viewers an impression of size. Similarly, when shooting brightly-colored birds against muted tones like grass or sand, you’ll achieve greater impact by allowing for more vivid hues that stand out from their surroundings.

By utilizing backgrounds properly and focusing on how they complement your subject matter, photographers are able to produce stunning photographs with maximum impact – something that every wildlife photographer should strive for. To do so requires some practice with composition and awareness of how light interacts with the environment; fortunately with enough practice these skills will quickly become second nature and you’ll be able to capture those unforgettable moments with ease!

10. Composing Shots For Maximum Impact

When it comes to wildlife photography, the way you compose your shots can have a big impact on the finished result. To ensure that you get professional-looking photos, it’s important to think carefully about how you compose the shot before you press the shutter. Here are some tips to help you create stunning wildlife photographs.

First of all, pay attention to the background. A good background will make your subject stand out and draw attention to them, while a bad one will distract from your main focus and ruin the photo. Look for backgrounds that are uncluttered and evenly lit, with no bright spots or dark shadows. You should also try to find a background that complements the colors of your subject – this will help make them pop out from the image.

Next, consider where you place your subject in the frame. When composing a shot, there are certain ‘rule of thirds’ guidelines that can help create more balanced images – try dividing up your frame into thirds both horizontally and vertically, then placing your subject at one of those intersections. This will create visual interest in the photograph and ensure that nothing is competing for attention with your main focal point.

Finally, think about moving around for different angles and perspectives. For example, if you’re shooting a bird in flight, try shooting from below rather than above – this can add an interesting dynamic to an otherwise static image. By changing up angles or viewpoints slightly each time you take a shot, you can give yourself more options when it comes time to edit photos later on down the line.

11. Editing Photos

Once you have taken your photos, the next step is to edit them. This can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right tools and techniques, you can quickly make adjustments that will give your photos more impact.

Editing software such as Lightroom, Photoshop or Capture One allow you to adjust things like exposure, color balance and contrast. You can also crop or rotate the photo to create a better composition. And don’t forget about other image-editing features like sharpening and noise reduction.

Another important editing step is post-processing. This includes adding filters and effects to enhance the overall look of your photo. Start with subtle enhancements; don’t overdo it – remember that less is often more when it comes to post-processing!

Finally, take time to review your edited photos—make sure they meet your expectations before sharing them with others. Looking at your own work with a critical eye is an essential part of becoming a better photographer and making sure you are putting out the best images possible. From here, we move on to tracking animal behavior for wildlife photography.

12. Tracking Animal Behavior

Tracking animal behavior is a key component of successful wildlife photography. Being able to read and interpret the creatures’ movements can be a difficult task, though it’s one that all photographers must learn in order to capture the perfect shot. Here’s how:

  1. Start small – If you’re new to tracking animals, start with smaller, slower-moving creatures such as birds or rabbits.
  2. Observe from afar – It’s important not to disturb the animal by getting too close; observe from a distance and consider using binoculars or a spotting scope to watch their behaviors.
  3. Study their habits – Take notes on the animals’ behaviors, noting what times of day they move about and what conditions seem to affect their movements.
  4. Practice patience – You may need to wait for days or weeks before you get your desired shot, so be sure to practice patience while you wait for the right moment.

It’s critical that photographers have an understanding of animal behavior in order to capture them in their natural habitat. Taking time to observe animals and learn about their habits will help prepare you for any situation when trying to photograph them. Additionally, having patience and perseverance is essential when photographing elusive wildlife; even if you miss out on one photo opportunity, there will always be another chance around the corner!

13. Patience And Perseverance

Patience and perseverance are two of the most important aspects of wildlife photography. Whether you’re tracking animals in their natural habitat, or trying to get that unique shot that speaks volumes, you need to have the right attitude and commitment. Here are three ways to help ensure success:

First, it’s essential to take your time when trying to capture a shot. Wildlife photography is about capturing moments, so it’s important to remain patient and wait for the perfect moment. You don’t want to rush things and miss out on a great opportunity.

Second, practice makes perfect. If you want to be successful at wildlife photography then you need to persevere and keep practicing until you get the desired results. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques and angles – this can really help bring out the beauty in your photos!

Finally, attention to detail is key. Look closely at your surroundings and take note of any potential hazards or obstacles that could interfere with getting the perfect shot. Make sure you have all the necessary equipment on hand so that nothing stands in your way of achieving your goal.

By staying focused, taking your time, and being prepared, you will increase your chances of successfully capturing unique shots that stand out from the crowd. This will give you a better understanding of what works best for your particular style of wildlife photography while ensuring that you stay safe in the field.

14. Staying Safe In The Field

Safety should be the priority when shooting wildlife photography in the field. Taking prudent precautions and remaining alert can help keep you secure while pursuing your passion. To stay safe in the wild, here are some tips to consider.

First and foremost, always inform someone of your whereabouts. Let a friend or family member know where you’re going and when they can expect you back. This way, if anything goes wrong someone will be aware of it quickly. Additionally, make sure to wear appropriate clothing for the environment to avoid any potential danger from nature itself. For example, if there is a chance of rain or cold weather, come prepared with waterproof clothing and layers to keep warm during longer shoots.

Secondly, make sure that you are familiar with the area before heading out on a shoot. Do research about what kind of animals may inhabit the area as well as any local rules that may apply – such as park regulations or prohibited areas – so you don’t run into any trouble with law enforcement officials. Also check for information about animal behaviour in order to ensure your own safety from wildlife too!

Finally, take extra caution when approaching large wild animals like bears or elk – it’s best to keep your distance and respect their space instead of trying to get close-up shots at all costs! It’s also important not to disturb their habitat by bringing food into it or scaring them away from their natural environment – this can lead to dangerous consequences for both yourself and the animals around you.

By taking these steps and staying mindful of potential risks while shooting outdoors, photographers can enjoy their experience safely without compromising on quality photos. With these wildlife photography tips in mind, you’re ready to start capturing amazing images and sharing them with the world!

15. Sharing Your Work

When it comes to wildlife photography, the work doesn’t end in the field. After taking your stunning shots, you’ll want to share your work with others. Here’s how:

  1. Social media is a great way to reach a wide audience. Share photos on Facebook or Instagram and get feedback from friends and family. It’s also helpful when starting out, as it can help build an audience for future projects.
  2. Start a blog to showcase your work and write about the experience of capturing the shot. You can share tips with readers, as well as stories behind each photo.
  3. Submit photos to competitions or magazines for exposure. Not only will this give you recognition in the wildlife photography community, but you might even win cash prizes or be featured in publications!
  4. Print physical copies of your best shots and hang them in galleries or other public places. This allows people to view and purchase your photos in person, earning you some extra income along the way.

Sharing your photos is an important part of wildlife photography – not only does it help spread awareness about nature conservation efforts but it can also lead to more opportunities for growth! So don’t forget to show off those amazing shots!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Money Should I Budget For Wildlife Photography?

Wildlife photography is like a treasure hunt; it requires patience, creativity and some luck. But if you want to truly capture the beauty of nature on camera, you need to be prepared with the right budget. How much money should you dedicate to your wildlife photography?

The answer depends on your goals and resources. If you are just starting out, your expenses may be limited to a few hundred dollars for basic equipment such as a digital camera, lenses, tripod and memory cards. However, if you’re looking to take more professional-level photos with advanced features, you may need to invest in better cameras and lenses. Plus, if you plan on traveling to remote locations or taking part in safaris and expeditions, you’ll need more funds for transportation and accommodations.

To save money, it is best to research different options when buying equipment. You can buy used gear or borrow from friends or family members who already have some equipment that could work for your project. You can also rent items for short periods of time when needed instead of buying them outright.

No matter what level of wildlife photographer you are — beginner or professional — budgeting carefully will help ensure that each shot is worth the cost of pursuing it. Taking into account all your expenses related to equipment and travel will give you peace of mind when capturing nature’s marvels on film.

What Type Of Camera Do Professionals Use?

When it comes to wildlife photography, a professional photographer will always use the best equipment available. What type of camera should you choose? In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of cameras used by wildlife photographers, and how they can help you get the most out of your experience.

Before investing in a camera for wildlife photography, it’s important to consider all your options. Here are three types of cameras that are popular among professionals:

  • DSLRs: DSLRs (digital single-lens reflex cameras) give you greater control over your settings and allow you to capture high-quality images with great detail. They also offer a variety of lenses for different shooting situations.
  • Mirrorless Cameras: Mirrorless cameras allow you to take photos without the bulk and weight of a DSLR. They are usually lighter and more compact than DSLRs, making them ideal for traveling photographers who want to stay light on their feet.
  • Point-and-Shoot Cameras: Point-and-shoot cameras may not have the same level of control as DSLRs or mirrorless cameras but they are still great options if you want something smaller and more portable. They are generally less expensive than other types of cameras and can still produce good quality images in the right conditions.

No matter which type of camera you choose, it’s important to do your research and find one that fits your budget and needs. Look into features like image stabilization, low light performance, burst mode capability, autofocus speed, resolution, battery life, etc. Once you have these details sorted out, you’re ready to go out there and start shooting!

Can I Take Pictures Of Wildlife In Urban Areas?

When it comes to wildlife photography, one of the key questions is whether we can take pictures of wildlife in urban areas. Just like the great photographer Ansel Adams said, “You don’t take a photograph, you make it”. This is especially true when it comes to photographing wildlife in an urban environment; as a photographer, you must be able to capture the beauty of nature amongst the bustling streets and buildings.

The truth is that yes, you can take pictures of wildlife in urban areas – but it might not be easy. While there are many opportunities for great shots near cities and towns, these places are also often quite crowded and noisy – making it hard to get close enough to animals for a good shot. You’ll need patience and perseverance if you want to get those perfect shots!

One way to increase your chances of success is to research where exactly wildlife can be found in your city or town. You may have luck visiting parks and gardens at certain times of day or night when animals are more active or easier to spot. Once you find a place with ample amounts of wildlife, scout the area and take notes on the best spots for taking photos – this will help you plan ahead when you go out with your camera next time.

Moreover, it pays off to know what type of lens should be used for photographing animals from a distance. Wide-angle lenses are great for capturing larger scenes with more detail; telephoto lenses come in handy when trying to capture individual animals from far away; and prime lenses allow for much sharper images without any distortion.TIP: Don’t forget about accessories such as tripod stands which can be very useful when shooting from far away!

Wildlife photography in urban areas can be a challenge but it’s definitely possible – just remember that patience is key! With some research and clever use of equipment, anyone can snap stunning shots of nature even close-by cities and towns!

How Do I Take Photos In Inclement Weather?

Taking pictures of wildlife in inclement weather can be tricky. You must first consider the safety of yourself, the animal, and your camera. To ensure success, you must also have a plan of action ready before you go out. Weather conditions can change quickly and drastically, so being prepared is key.

First off, make sure to protect both your gear and yourself from the elements. Rainproof equipment and clothing should be worn at all times to keep you dry and comfortable during shooting sessions. Additionally, cover your camera with a rain cover or use a waterproof camera bag to protect it from moisture damage.

Next, pay attention to the lighting conditions in order to get the best possible shots. Inclement weather often means dull skies with low light levels, so adjusting your camera settings accordingly will help bring out more details in each photograph. For example, shooting with longer shutter speeds will capture more motion blur for dramatic effects or using higher ISO values for brighter images when needed.

Finally, scout out locations beforehand so that you know exactly where you want to take pictures on location day. This way you won’t be wasting precious time searching for spots in bad weather conditions – not only will this save energy but it will also give you more time to snap some great photos!

Are There Any Regulations Or Laws I Need To Be Aware Of When Photographing Wildlife?

Photographing wildlife can feel like a magical experience, allowing us to capture and share the beauty of nature. But before embarking on a wildlife photography adventure, it’s important to be aware of regulations and laws that could affect your work.

From national parks to private areas, different locations have different rules and regulations in place when it comes to photographing animals. Taking the time to research these restrictions can save you from any potential legal issues or fines. For starters, some parks require permits for commercial photography or video recording activities, while others may prohibit certain types of activities altogether.

It’s also important to consider the ethical implications of taking pictures of animals in their natural habitats. Think about the impact your presence may have on the environment or animal behavior: will the flash scare away birds, or will loud noises disrupt their peace? Respectfully observe and respect any local laws regarding distance from wildlife, as well as noise levels and use of lights.

In addition, remember that many species are protected by law and should not be disturbed in any way. Always keep safety in mind – both yours and that of the wildlife – when you’re out taking photos. Taking these precautions into account will ensure you have an enjoyable experience while protecting yourself from any potential legal consequences.


Wildlife photography is a rewarding experience for those who take the time to learn the necessary skills. It can also be an expensive hobby, so it’s important to budget for your equipment and travel expenses. Professional wildlife photographers often use professional-grade cameras and lenses, but you can get great results with more affordable options as well. For those living in urban areas, there are still opportunities to photograph wildlife; many parks have birds and other animals that can make excellent subjects. When shooting in inclement weather conditions, be sure to protect your equipment and yourself from the elements.

Finally, before photographing wildlife, it’s important to know the regulations and laws in your area regarding such activities. It’s easy to get carried away in the excitement of capturing stunning images, but being mindful of these laws will ensure you don’t get into any trouble while pursuing your passion. Wildlife photography takes patience and skill; by taking the time to learn proper techniques and procedures, you can develop a timeless portfolio of awe-inspiring photographs that will bring joy for years to come. As the old adage goes: “a picture is worth a thousand words” – what story will yours tell?

The Creativv
American digital marketer and founder of TheCreativv.com with over a decade of experience in event, travel, portrait, product, and cityscape photography.