Wildlife Photography Tips
Consider photographing the habitat around wildlife apart from close portrait shots of animals in a forest.
When on a safari Jeep, always try to sit on a seat or on the floor of the safari Jeep while photographing an animal, to get the low angle perspective. Always try to avoid photographing animals when standing on the seats of the safari jeep, as low angle perspective photos look more appealing than pictures shot from a high angle.
Always keep the Subject (Animal) off-center. When the animal is moving from left to right, keep more space towards the right in your picture to show the movement of the animal in your picture.
Follow Rule of Thirds when photographing animals in vast forest landscapes with wide angle lenses. When you see there is more drama in the sky, choose 70% sky and 30% foreground, and when you see there is more drama in the foreground, choose 70% foreground and 30% sky.
Follow leading lines and points of interest while composing your picture, which will make the photo more dramatic and give the viewer the illusion that they are being taking into the picture.
When you are photographing animals from a safari Jeep in a forest, watch your shutter speed. Never shoot below 1/500 sec - it will result in a blurred image because you are not standing on stable ground. Besides, your friends and family in your Jeep may be excited to see the wild animals and may start moving inside Jeep to take their position while you are capturing the image. When on stable ground, you can shoot at 1/250 sec.
Always capture images in RAW so that you have the flexibility to bring out a true white balance and adjust the exposure to bring out what you saw.
If required, boost your iso to 3,200 or higher and open your aperture to f2.8 or whatever is lower on your camera to get higher shutter speeds on your camera during early morning and late evening safari trips in a forest. Noise created due to high iso in a picture is always better than a blurred picture.
When you’re out photographing birds, please be on 1/1000 sec shutter speed or higher to freeze the motion while it’s ready for flight. If you have good light, I recommend you shoot at 1/2000 sec shutter speed. If required, boost your iso and open your aperture to F2.8 or whatever is lower on your camera to attain higher shutter speeds.
It’s recommended to photograph in either Aperture priority or Shutter Priority modes. When shooting in Aperture priority, keep a watch on Shutter speed. If required, boost your iso to achieve higher shutter speeds. Alternatively, you can also photograph in Shutter priority and increase your iso when required to get a higher f-number on your camera. A higher F-number will give you a greater depth of field.
When photographing during golden hour, try to underexpose by two stops to make silhouettes of animals or birds against the orange sky and setting sun.
Always try to place the focus point cursor on the face of the animal or on the eye of the animal when it is closer to you. It’s more appealing to see sharper eyes in the picture for the viewer.
Please carry a zoom lens with a focal range of 50mm to 400mm to capture close ups of animals and birds and a wide-angle lens with a focal length of 14mm to 50mm to capture forest habitant.
Move to CH - continuous High shutter release mode when you see an animal or bird in action, which records a burst of images as long as you hold down the shutter button. This is a great feature for photographing a fast moving subject or a prey chase in the wild.
Take the support of a beanbag or monopod when carrying heavy prime or zoom lenses for your support. This will enable you to get sharper photos and will take the burden from your arm muscles in wildlife photography.