If you’re on the lookout for awesome wildlife action shots this summer, there are few simple adjustments worth making before you get started. From trialing your gear before you head out to making smart choices with your camera settings, here are 3 wildlife photography tips you should experiment with when working in this exciting niche:
When working with a subject as unpredictable as a wild animal, the settings you choose for your composition will be crucial. First of all, it’s important to realize that most animal behaviors and interactions are quick. Based on our experience, if an animal starts doing something exciting or fun, you’ve probably got about 5 or 10 seconds to get focused and capture a shot of it before the opportunity is missed.
With this in mind, you should already know the minimum shutter speed you can use on your device while still capturing a sharp, crisp image- and you should try working with that. You should also (before you’re in the field) spend some time practicing how to quickly switch between focus modes.
Knowing your subject is crucial no matter what you’re taking a picture of- but it’s arguably the most important when it comes to wild animals. So if you’re headed out to a nature reserve near your home and you’re specifically looking for deer, for example, it’s worth doing some research on their behavior so that you know what to expect from them. Learn how they react around humans, and if you can, reach out to a park ranger or someone with expert knowledge of the specific place you’ll be shooting- he or she may be able to give you tips on locations to try.
There are a couple general photography rules that we like to teach all our new students. From the rule of thirds which most photography buffs are already familiar with, to simple rules about composition and lighting, it’s important not to throw these away just because you’ll be working with a more unpredictable and impulsive subject. Although we understand that applying the rule of thirds isn’t so easy when you’re taking pictures of, say, a bird in flight- we recommend that for the best results, you try to apply them anyway as much as the situation will allow.