7 Tips For Doing Awesome Animal Photography

There are so many unique and beautiful animals in the world and capturing one in a photograph is such an amazing thing. There is something to be said about being able to showcase a creature from this world in its own environment. Whether it is a bird in flight, or a squirrel hanging on to a window screen for dear life, or something more exotic like a giraffe reaching up high in a tree to eat the leaves high above, those captured moments are simply beautiful. Those are the moments that make our world a beautiful place.

We have put together 7 tips to help you do awesome animal photography. If you are a beginner just starting out with your passion for animal photography, these tips may be great to help you learn. If you have been traveling the world photographing wildlife for years and years, these tips may just be a nice reminder. Either way, be sure to check these out... along with some amazing animal photos to enjoy!  

1. Understand the type of animal you are shooting. 

Animals can be pretty predictable, especially if you know what you are looking for. If you are on the prowl (no pun intended!!!), for an amazing shot of a lion getting ready to attack its prey, it is important to know what you need to look out for before he begins the attack. If you know the habits of lions, you will be able to guess ahead of time when the attack will be happening based on his patterns of behavior.

Knowing your subject as best as you possibly can will make or break that amazing shot you take. If you are not aware of the behavior you will likely see with the lion, it is a pretty good chance you could miss the moment you are looking to capture. So take the time to study them. Read about them. And watch them in real life. Do not just go out and take the first couple shots you can and move onto the next subject. Watch them and see those behaviors and you will soon realize what an amazing shot it will be.   

Photo credit: Safari Partners via flickr

Photo credit: Safari Partners via flickr

2. Figure out what type of gear works best. 

Taking photographs of animals is difficult. They are not there to pose for you, or say cheese and let you try the shot over if you missed your chance. You have a very small window of time in which you are actually able to get that awesome animal photo. Wouldn't it just be awful if you were all ready and prepared and when you go to capture the moment, your shutter speed is just not fast enough? 

Here are a few things that are good to know about your gear ahead of time: know what your minimum shutter speed is so that you can obtain a sharp image with your camera and lens; know the added margins that the in-camera or in-lens stabilization provides; you should understand how to quickly switch between focus points or modes; and you simply must understand how high you can push your camera's ISO setting while still being able to get awesome results. 

Photo credit:  Jose Luis Rodriguez  via Bored Panda

Photo credit: Jose Luis Rodriguez via Bored Panda

3. Use the sun to your advantage, not disadvantage. 

Using the sun to your advantage is so wonderful. The best sunlight to use is the sunshine from the early morning sunrise or using the sunlight from the afternoon. Most of the time, the sun light that is out during the midday is not as wonderful and just a bit harsh in photos. (Of course, take your time and shoot all day long if you are having an overcast day)! 

Photo credit: Terry Allen via National Geographic

Photo credit: Terry Allen via National Geographic

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4. Shoot one animal, or shoot many!

There is something so amazing about shooting a single animal. You can really focus entirely on that one subject and their awesome behaviors by themselves. But, add a second (or third or fourth) to the mix and you can capture some amazing interaction. 

Photo credit: Stefane Berube via National Geographic

Photo credit: Stefane Berube via National Geographic

5. Show the animals how they truly live. 

To make an incredible animal photograph, you want to truly showcase that animal in its own environment. Showing how it lives, what climates it has to deal with, and survive in, can make for amazing work. Just like this photograph of the beaver below. Seeing him in this cold, icy environment is gorgeous, but also shows what he has to deal with in order to find food and survive. If it was simply a shot of a beaver lying on the grass, the way you think of the photo could be drastically different. 

Photo credit:  John Warner  via National Geographic

Photo credit: John Warner via National Geographic

6. Test your patience...with each and every animal you shoot. 

You must have patience. Photographing wildlife is simply not the same as a bride and groom you are shooting at a wedding. At a wedding, you can pose your subjects to make sure you get the family photos they want, or you stand in the background capturing the special moments of the event as the hours go by. All of which is still difficult, don't get us wrong. With animal photography, you have to wait and wait and wait for that exact moment you are looking for. 

You can not pose an animal into the perfect photo opportunity. You must have patience and wait and if you are not able to wait, then it is a good chance you may miss that shot you have been hoping for. 

Photo credit: Igor Siwanoqicz via wherecoolthingshappen.com

Photo credit: Igor Siwanoqicz via wherecoolthingshappen.com

7. Have fun! 

You are shooting some amazing creatures, and trying to capture moments that just not every one is able to capture. So have fun! Otherwise, why waste your time trying to get those shots you have been dreaming of getting? 


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