10 Wildlife Photography Tips
Wildlife photography is probably the most exotic genre of photography, conjuring images of intrepid exploration through steaming jungles, alpine forests, scorching deserts, to the frigid Polar Regions and beyond. There is so much mystery and allure but equally there is confusion about how to start being a wildlife photographer, what sort of gear is required, what principles or factors dictate the success of one’s images, etc.
There is a veritable smorgasbord of information, tips, suggestions, and tricks pertaining to wildlife photography, but where does one even begin? As a wildlife photographer I wanted to curate and share 10 tips and insights into the world of wildlife photography, to help you get the best out of your photography, irrespective of whether you are a newbie or a seasoned hobbyist.
These tips and insights have been ordered progressively, starting from the most basic question of how and where to begin. The importance of starting out with local fauna in your neighbourhood, to help you gain familiarity with your camera, helping you get the best out of your gear, before you move on to more exotic subjects and destinations. Tips on learning how and why photographing at different times of the day can be highly productive, or detrimental to your images depending upon the hour.
Is wildlife photography merely the act of picking up the camera and taking a picture of an animal, or is there a creative aspect to showcasing the subject. What role do camera settings play in bringing that creativity to life? Insight into how the composition of an image helps evoke an emotion, and is instrumental in telling a story. While the animal or bird may be the subject of the image, it is critical to remember what effect the background may have on the image. Backgrounds are pivotal as they can detract from the subject, or the image can showcase the background to bring context to the subject.
What draws the viewer’s attention in to an image and how does knowing that help you as a photographer position yourself to compose an image? In the process of progressing from portraits to action photography, it is important to note what goes into making those iconic action images of incredible animal behaviour. Are they merely products of luck and quick reactions or is there more to discerning animal behaviour and anticipating the moment?
At the end of the day, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then those words need to be woven into a cohesive narrative, where what matters is the story, not the make of camera, the focal length of the lens, the ISO, or any technicality. All that matters is the ability to tell a story, without words.
Watch the You Tube video here.
Zhayynn James is a wildlife photographer who loves to tell stories and share emotions frozen in time, through his images, be it the savannahs of Africa or the jungles of India.