Wildlife photography

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Nature with its vast diversity offers countless subjects. But as the demands of the subjects grow, so does the challenge. Photographing animals in the wild is a supreme discipline that requires a lot of patience and practice. Good planning, good weather and some luck are needed for unforgettable photos.

Orang Utan in sunlight

Source: Gundel Woite

Basic information and behavioural tips

There are many companies offering photo safaris. Kenya, Namibia and South Africa are currently booming. If you can’t travel to distant countries, you should visit a wildlife park, a biotope or a nature reserve in your area. You can’t catch lions, giraffes or elephants here, but insects or birds as well as deer and bears are excellent subjects.

But no matter where you want to photograph wild animals – you should be considerate of them. It is best to keep a sufficient distance to the animals. It is therefore advisable to obtain information about the animals and their surroundings beforehand in order to get a feel for the special traits and characteristics of the animals. However, the most important thing when photographing wild animals is patience. It often takes a little longer to find the desired picture. Animals cannot be instructed, so keep your eyes open and take plenty of time with you.

Deer baby in wildlife enclosure

Source: Annika Weiland

With these accessories your snapshot will be a success.

For successful photos it is better not to use a smartphone or digital compact camera. However, you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money on a high-quality SLR camera. Especially for beginners, a low-cost version of this camera type is sufficient. However, if you really want good shots, you should dig a little deeper into your pockets. A good single lens reflex camera and the right accessories help you take expressive photos and make the work of every photographer easier. The additional purchase of a telephoto lens is recommended here. A tripod shouldn’t be underestimated either, because it can be a real helper to shoot photos from a distance with a remote shutter release. For crystal-clear photos it is best to turn on the image stabiliser. The question of the right lens is particularly important in this context. A wide-angle lens is suitable for landscape photography. If you want to photograph animals from far away, a telephoto lens is indispensable. Insects and other small animals are best photographed with a macro lens.

Ants on leaf with macro lens

Source: Annika Weiland

Another tip: When choosing your clothes, make sure you choose muted colours, because the animals are frightened by bright colours.

Requirements for the correct camera settings and lighting

To photograph small animals, such as insects, it is best to use a tripod and a macro lens. In addition, a remote shutter release can be used to make it easier. For large animals you should set a wide focal length, because without sufficient focal length, the animals will be shown too small. Large animals are often photographed from a distance, so it is better to use a telephoto lens. When it comes to light, avoid the bright midday sun in summer. Experienced photographers use the light shortly after sunrise or sunset. Backlight should be avoided when photographing wildlife. If the subject is always centered in the middle of the picture, it can quickly become boring. Therefore, try out other compositions and let the animal run into the photo. The same applies to still subjects – a moving subject is more exciting, but also more difficult to photograph. With continuous shooting, the chance of catching the right moment and showing the animal in sharp focus can be increased. Why don’t you try out a few image variations?

Elephant photographically captured

Source: Shaun Levick

The best thing is to take your camera and start practicing. Only those who know all the functionalities of their camera and have experience in photography can take successful pictures in wildlife photography.

And don’t forget: First check the battery level and the capacity of the memory card. Good preparation is a basic requirement in wildlife photography.