4 Advanced Wildlife Photography Tips

4 Advanced Wildlife Photography Tips

I’m sure many photographers would like to know how to take better wildlife photos or perhaps how to photograph wildlife in general. You’ve found the right place! 

Photographing wildlife can be an exceptionally rewarding endeavor, and with these advanced wildlife photography tips, you’ll be better prepared to capture gorgeous images. 

We already know the basic wildlife photography tips of how to photograph animals and wildlife. Use a long lens to isolate the subject but don’t be afraid of normal or wider lenses for including the surroundings, try to have fast shutter speeds for action stopping but also allow for motion blur to imply speed of action, and use composition tips such as Rule of Thirds or negative space to achieve a nice view.

Using the right equipment is only half the story, being able to control it to achieve the wanted results is vital as well. So we learn all of the functions and features of our camera and practice the techniques of wildlife photography so that they become comfortable and familiar, allowing us to concentrate on the photography. 

Here are 4 other advanced wildlife photography tips to take your images to the next level.

Autofocus is one of the best advances in modern photographic equipment, allowing us to get sharp photos in many varied situations. Modern AF is actually so good, many professionals use it for most of their work.

The advanced technique is how to make AF work even better. Choosing the right focus points and AF modes will get you better wildlife images. 

Some cameras have an incredible amount of focus points, these points are activated by predictive programs or can be assigned and chosen by means of shooting modes or physically assigning them.

For wildlife photography tips, choosing a few or even one focus point puts you in control of what to focus on and what can be ignored by the camera automation. Some cameras have available modes such as eye focus automation, but you will want to practice with these modes first before relying on them 100% for capturing your wildlife images.  

Using one or a centralized small group of focus points is very helpful when shooting for selective focus techniques. Learning the back focus button technique is also a nice option.

Other aspects of AF control are the settings for continuous AF or single shot AF modes. Most cameras allow the shutter to be released regardless of focus status when set for continuous, while single shot allows shutter release only when focus is confirmed. 

Continuous AF can be very useful when tracking wildlife motion, but the odds of being slightly off focus, especially with long lenses and selective focus, are high enough to require our careful attention while shooting.

Since we’re covering advanced wildlife photography tips, it pretty much is a given that we will be outside ourselves. Even in the relatively mild wilderness of being outside near our home in the city or the suburbs, the weather conditions can have an immediate impact on our imaging choices.

Sometimes, the wildlife we’re seeking seem to enjoy inclement weather more so than a bright, clear, sunny day. So, we need to be prepared with adequate protection for ourselves and our camera gear. 

Much of this protection is stuff we probably already have, but if not, moisture wicking undergarments are essential gear for outdoor photography in every season. Especially will moisture wicking socks be a welcome addition to your outdoor wardrobe.  

Camera protection can be simple or sophisticated. Simple gear can be as simple as a plastic bag and rubber bands. More sophisticated camera protection will range from specialty made plastic bags for your specific type of camera gear, to rain shields that mount to the camera like a canopy, all the way up to underwater housings good for as deep as 300 feet or more.

Clear lens filters and hard lens hoods are important for many wildlife photographers, as they add an extra layer of damage protection from bumps and pokes and blowing things.

In addition to protecting us and our camera gear from the elements, some of that same gear can also be used as a form of concealment and stealth. 

A trip to a local outdoor gear store that caters to a wide range of outdoor enthusiasts, such as hunting, fishing, camping, and outdoor sports, will teach us how much can be found and how concealed, or not, we want to be for our wildlife photography.

If our cameras have silent modes, these are also useful for concealing our intrusion into their habitat. Many current lenses use silent focus motors, we can turn off all beeping notices, and if we have a mirrorless camera we can be almost completely silent, though DSLRs can be quieted down quite a bit by different settings and by using some of the weather proofing gear already discussed.

Unlike that old cartoon, animals rarely punch time clocks, so we will need to know when and where our photography targets will be active and available for imaging opportunities.

A lot of animals are very active at times some of us may consider to be outside our normal work hours, such as at dusk and dawn. A little research will go a long way in our figuring out when to try to take our wildlife photos.

Take full advantage of these and other advanced wildlife photography tips for increasing your enjoyment of this fascinating genre. 

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