All photographers would agree that capturing the movement and actions of animals in camera is no easy task. Even with the high-end DSLR’s and fastest lenses, getting that perfect shot can seem pretty tricky. Animals move quite quickly and that increases the difficulty, making the task even more challenging. So, is there anything that you can do to capture the movements of the wildlife? Well yes! Like we said, the task is challenging but not impossible with these clever wildlife photos tips.
Wildlife Photos Tips: Shoot Wonderful Wildlife Action Photography
It takes only a fraction of a second to miss a fantastic movement of fast moving animals. Most of them are faster than your expensive photography gear. And due to the limitations of your camera or lack of basic wildlife photography knowledge, you may lose an amazing flight shot of a rare bird or robust fight scene between two brutes.
Hence to avoid that, we have compiled a list of top wildlife photos tips that you can follow to successfully capture the action in your pictures.
Observe the Behaviour of the Animal Closely
One of the best wildlife photos tips is to be observant of the animal's behavior. If you observe your subject very closely, you would be able to predict what the animal would be doing next. This way you would have a better chance of capturing something brilliant. Learning every animal’s behavioral pattern is practically impossible.
Therefore, you can apply some general rule to a class of animals. For instance, when a bird is about to fly away, it would lean forward before taking a flight. At times if the bird is feeling anxious and disturbed by a human presence, it would poop before flying away. Also, if the bird has taken a dip into water, it is quite obvious that it would flutter its wings to dry itself. Observe little things like these and you would be able to get the perfect shot.
Check out this ideal bird photography guide for beginners!
Telephoto is the Way to Go
With wildlife photography, it isn’t possible to get very close to the animal except for a few of them who allow humans to come near them. But, to capture a great picture, it’s the photographer’s responsibility to get the animal to trust them. When it comes to portrait photography, you could easily isolate the face of your subject with a wide-angle lens.
However, this won’t work when photographing animals. A telephoto lens with a large zoom or focal length would allow you to isolate your subject safely through framing. By using a telephoto lens, you would be able to capture the personality of an animal in its truest form.
Fast Shutter Speed to Freeze Movement
A fast shutter speed should be used to freeze the movement of an animal if you good lighting available. To avoid any camera shakes, a general rule is 1 over the camera’s focal length. This means that if you have a lens of 400mm, the shutter speed must be a minimum of a 1/400th second so as to avoid blurring.
But, if you follow this rule, you wouldn’t get a shutter speed that’s fast enough to freeze an animal’s action. Judging the pace of the animal, adjust the shutter speed of your camera. For flying or fast running creatures, a shutter speed of somewhere around 1/1000th would be a good option. As mentioned, it would depend on the pace of the animal and the way that you are shooting. Keep on reviewing your images to ensure that your shutter speed is okay. If you notice any motion blur, increase the shutter speed.
Use Continuous Focus
By using continuous focus mode on your camera, you would be able to track the focus with a subject that is in motion. Animals are pretty fast and if you have to refocus manually because of your camera locking onto a spot after achieving focus, you would never get a crisp shot. Therefore, with animal photography, it's best to use continuous focus.
Go through the camera settings and then find the option that helps to set either achieving focus or pressing the shutter a priority. Set this to shutter. By doing so, you can now shoot the perfect pictures at any time.
Avoid Using Live view
This is a wildlife photography rule - do not touch the Live View mode on the DSLR camera. The Live View mode makes tracking quite unmanageable. So, every time you engage autofocus, the live view turns off as the mirror flips down. Further, it makes things unstable because of the way you will be holding the camera. Hence, why not stick to the viewfinder? The mode makes it easier to react quickly and track your subject easily.
Pay Attention to the Composition
Another idea for better wildlife photos tips would be to pay attention to the composition of your picture. Composition involves organizing the essential elements of the image in a logical way so that it looks impressive. It is the process that can turn an average image to a brilliant captured shot presenting a story.
You might not be able to nail it the first time but practice is the key. Experiment with a different perspective and try to find vibrant colors and rich textures. It would give some life to your pictures and make them stand out.
The next one of the wildlife photos tips is something that you must have heard from time to time – remaining patient. Some of the great shots of animals are the results of days of waiting. You cannot just expect the animal to pose for you when you want their picture. If you spot an animal at a distance, lie down in such a way that you remain hidden and wait patiently. Click when the animal is moving or maybe when there’s an interesting background behind.
Make your calculations and plan your composition accordingly. When you are waiting patiently, take a few trial shots to make sure that the settings are perfect. Be prepared with your camera at all times and you might be able to capture a once-in-a-lifetime shot. You would be rewarded for your hard work and efforts for sure.
Use Motion Blur
Another wonderful photography technique is to use motion blur. This is where you capture the action and movement of your subject. When you can capture the wildlife’s movement, it would add some character to your image. Panning is a very creative technique that you can adapt to shoot the motion of the animals. You might not succeed the first time but keep practicing and you would get that perfect shot.
Use a Tripod
One of the great wildlife photography tips for beginners would be to use a tripod. But, why do you need it? It is because it helps in eliminating any kind of camera shakes so that you can get clear and crisp pictures. When you are panning with an animal, the tripod would help you to keep the camera absolutely steady. If you want, you could use a gimbal head to allow the camera to move freely and capture the wildlife more easily. In general, you want a great horizontal movement so that you can freeze the animal’s motion without causing any blur. A tripod makes this possible.
And that was a quick round of wildlife photo tips!
However, if you feel that you are better off with holding your lens with your hands, you can choose to do that too. But, shooting an animal isn’t something that you can do very quickly. You have to wait and at times this wait can be pretty long. So, it would be best to use a tripod.
It is rightly said that practice makes a man perfect. The most helpful wildlife photos tips would be to remain patient and to keep practicing. Capturing fast moving animals or any of animals, in general, isn't an easy task. It requires a lot of hard work and effort and the only then would you be able to master it.
You cannot just pick up the camera and expect to get amazing pictures. It is not the camera but your skills and techniques that help in capturing stunning shots. If it were just for the camera and the lens, anyone could have been a photographer. Be dedicated and focused and you would get fruitful results.