Wildlife and Nature Photography for Beginners

Wildlife photography is quite the challenging branch of photography, especially for beginners. You have no control over nature and animals, but you love seeing animals and want to know more about them.

As a wildlife photographer, you need to spend hours taking a good photo. You need to know about animal habits and nature in general. For beginners, it’s quite hard to fully understand both the nuances of wildlife photography and how you can best develop your skill. 

If you know about photography and want to take a bigger step to make a lifetime capture, follow the below steps. Saen Higgins photos will guide you in getting the best tips to photograph  wildlife professionally.

The eagle ready to fly
Image by rawpixel.com

Do You Research

Researching just about anything makes it a lot easier to understand your situation, and this is no different when it comes to wildlife photography. With research, you can prepare yourself for any challenges you face during wildlife photography.

Study Your Subject

If you study your subject, you can easily learn their next move. If you do homework on your own online about a specific animal’s behavior and their reactions, it will be easy to capture their unique reactions on film.  

Take for instance that your subject is the prey of an animal who depends on sensing the movement of the hunter’s approach. They change their positions by hearing, seeing, or smelling their approach. But when a storm hits, the subject behavior will change, and that will give you a unique, emotion-filled shot. They often stay in a wide area to avoid danger because hunters or predators can easily snatch them in the woods. With your correct position and perfect lens, you can manage to take an excellent stormy shot.

Study Your Location

Researching the location before going there is a very smart and a big brain move. You need to know about your surroundings and subject so it will be easier for you to get better shots. Knowing the location history will also help you feel comfortable and not getting scared or lost. 

If you spend lots of time chasing animals from location to location without studying them, it will not be easy to capture as good a photo as you wanted. Therefore, if you know about your location, its atmosphere, and the animal’s behavior, it will help you to capture your lifetime shot.

Lighting Tips

You must be wondering what kind of lighting is best for wildlife photos. Simply put, there isn’t one best tip for it. It mostly depends on the animals you are trying to capture, what position you want, and what you want to portray both in a creative and aesthetic way.

The lens in hand
Image by pixabay.com

Shoot During Special Hours

Light is the most important part of photography in general but even more so in wildlife photography. Dawn and dusk are marked as golden hours to capture perfect shots. Most animals’ perfect candid photos exist in either very early or late hours of the day. This time of day, the sun gives a perfectly rich color across nature that gives a dramatic backdrop for the subject. 

You just need to know the perfect location of the light and make a plan to get a perfect candid capture. Sometimes things don’t work as planned, but you need to think as creatively as possible to get the shot. The photographer should be capable of using light to his advantage as it’ll give him the best photos with light highlighting the subject.

Use Dramatic Lighting

Using dramatic lighting in wildlife photography is a great approach to framing the best quality pictures. It’ll end up with the best shots and unique style. 

If you want to use the sun as your dramatic lighting, you can do it! You just need to find out the correct time for it. For example, suppose you are trying to capture a family of elephants going back to their home. You can use the sunset as a perfect dramatic lighting.

Use External Lighting

External light is needed if the subject you’re trying to capture is too dark in comparison with its surroundings. A low lighted flash can come in handy if it is used correctly.

Know Your Camera and Other Gear

You need to master your knowledge of the camera. You need to know the variety of lens, ISO numbers, focus modes, meter modes, exposure modes, and more. First, you need to have all the gear you need for photography. A digital camera, a nature camera, a tripod, a secret camera, a variety lens, and a camera bag are all necessary. You also need to make sure all your cameras and lenses are waterproof. You need to have knowledge about your lens because the lens you need to shoot with varies according to the animal’s nature. Also, you need to have a quicker reaction speed for better pictures.

Photo camera hand holding
Image by pixabay.com

Shoot in RAW

Today, a project requires a good plan of how it’ll be completed. Basically, it needs a full blueprint. It doesn’t matter if you intend to post-process your image, it will still need the RAW footage. RAW footage or items have all of the captured items from your camera, and it is mandatory if you really want to post-process your image. 

Make sure you set your camera to capture RAW footage instead of JPEG images as it’ll give you full control over your shoot. These RAW files are everything you need to capture the perfect wildlife. You can transform it into any format you prefer. In short, RAW files provide more flexibility in capturing wildlife.

You Don’t Always Need More Zoom

One of the main problems of a beginner is they can’t get close enough to capture a perfect photo. Well, proximity isn’t necessary to capture the details of an animal. You can shoot the subject with the surrounding nature and make it look more appealing.

You’ll be kind of into this aesthetic style of photography rather than zooming into the subject too much. At some point, you’ll prefer wide lenses over zoom lenses because a wide lens shows the subject and its surrounding area in a higher resolution format.

Duck in water with splash
Image by rawpixel.com

You Don’t Need to Worry About ISO

In photography, ISO measures sensitivity. It will either make your photo dark or light. If you use a higher ISO number, your photo will be brighter, and you will be able to capture your photo in the dark. However, your captured image will look like it has increased photo noise and it will be unusable. Therefore, in most situations, you might want to use less ISO for better picture quality. If you want to shoot the quick movement of a wildlife at a high ISO number to keep the fast shutter speed, then do it. Your noisy picture, however, is far less visible than the blurry one.

Be Patient

It takes hours, days, and/or weeks to take a perfect shot. Wildlife photography doesn’t have a limited time like other kinds of photography. Some wildlife will be easy to get shots of, but most of the time it’s rare. All it needs to have patience and wait for the right moment. 

You need to put yourself in the best spot where you can predict your subject’s nature and capture it the best as you can. But often, it’s difficult to predict exactly what the subject will do. You can’t give them any directions or poses, but at least you can predict their behavior and wait for the perfect opportunity.

A lot of practice paired with your creativity can make you a perfect wildlife photographer.

Image credit: rawpixel.com

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