IMPROVING YOUR WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY – UDO KIESLICH
- Prepare an equipment checklist – this will help make sure you don’t forget essentials like tripod, lenses, extension tubes, batteries, filters, memory cards, flash, Lenspen, camera manual etc.
- Be prepared – always have your camera and lenses ready, and make sure all your equipment is working. The night before your game drive check / reset your camera settings (White Balance, ISO, exposure compensation, file size, quality setting). Make sure your equipment is clean and that the batteries are fully charged. Have spare memory cards and ideally even a storage device to download your images onto. You can never predict when something amazing might happen.
- Be patient – it is very difficult to speed up or slow down nature, and without patience you will struggle to get good results. You often need to remain very still for an extended period of time before the animal starts behaving naturally. Very occasionally you’ll capture something unique at your first sighting of the animal, but most of the time you just have to be patient.
- Research the area you’ll be visiting – check the sunrise and sunset times so you can decide on the optimum locations for each time of the day.
- Photograph normal behaviour – wildlife photography does not always have to be of spectacular animal behaviour. Just seeing normal animal behaviour in a natural environment can make a great photograph.
- Accurate focus is critical – if the animal is looking in your general direction, make sure that you focus on the eyes and try to keep them unobstructed by out of focus branches or leaves.
- Camera positioning – when photographing smaller wildlife try to photograph from a lower camera angle to accentuate the animal’s size.
- Anticipate – this can often make the difference between success and failure. Try to learn the habits of the animal you intend photographing by observing them. Practice photographing animals on the move and learn to predict their movements by practicing at the zoo, or even on your own pets. By knowing your subject’s habits you have a much better chance of putting yourself in the right place at the right time.
- An award winning shot can be taken of any animal – you don’t have to photograph only the big 5 for great results. Even the smallest animal photographed in beautiful light, and in an interesting way, can make a wonderful shot.
- Timing – be there at the right time of the day. At sunrise and sunset the light is far softer and it has a beautiful warm colour.
To learn more on Wildlife Photography consider doing our Outdoor Photography course.