Animal Photography – How to Take Amazing Animal Photos

If you love taking pictures of animals, this article will surely give you some practical tips that you can immediately start using. Animal photography, also called wildlife photography, encompasses the entire world of animals, from your pets to polar bears. This article focuses on wildlife photography, but you can apply many of these tips to photograph Muffin or Fido. To learn how wildlife photographers get those awesome wildlife images, read on …

The basics of photography for taking great wildlife photos start with these tips. As always there are exceptions, but the following goes a long way in ensuring the success of animal photography:

o Use natural lighting to your advantage.
o Fill the frame with the subject.
o Focus on the eyes.
o Shoot from various angles.
o Capture the personality.

Perhaps you are wondering how you can, without a giant lens and an SLR, get close enough to a wild animal to “capture the personality” or “fill the frame”?

In fact, even professional wildlife photographers don’t always take their winning photographs in the wild. Most of the wonderful photos you see of wolves, polar bears, and other wildlife have been taken in wildlife sanctuaries and zoos. To cheat? Maybe, but it’s safer for the photographer and doesn’t disturb the mating and feeding cycles of their free-range cousins.

Some of the wildlife sanctuaries offer special tours for photographers, but even without the perks these tours offer (it’s often allowed to get closer shots and without all the people), there are plenty of things the hobbyist with a compact camera can do for taking professional-looking photographs of wildlife.

Animal photography tips for wildlife sanctuaries and zoos

Simplify composition: If the background is distracting, use a wide aperture or Portrait mode to blur it. Or use a photo editor like Photoshop to clean or blur the background.
Go Natural: Avoid showing cage bars, fences, humans, signs, etc. If it is safe and not against the rules to do so, point the lens through a gap in the chain link, so that you can take the picture without the fence being visible. Sometimes there will be an observation point that will allow you to shoot over the top of the fence. Look for these opportunities. Again, use a good photo editor to blur what you can’t delete while taking the photo.
Fill the frame: Use the zoom (optical for best quality) or a telephoto lens to get closer.
Use sport mode: use sport mode or set shutter speed priority to about 1/250 to freeze motion.
Use light and weather for best results – cloudy days are often best for animal photography. If the overcast sky is not too bright, it will avoid glare from light or watery backgrounds. If the sky is too dark and you have an SLR, raise the ISO. With just the right amount of overcast sky, you can get well exposed and sharp images with your compact and animals won’t be squinting. Since the eyes are usually very expressive and are the best place to focus, avoid squinting. Another way to eliminate it is to photograph when the animal’s back is in the sun. In this case you will need to use fill flash (turn off auto flash and set it to “On”) to avoid underexposure or a silhouette, and you will need to use a lens hood or wear a wide-brimmed hat to avoid lens flare .
Try this when shooting through glass – when you want a picture of a terrarium or aquarium animal, fire the flash and shoot from an angle. Be sure to check your manual for safe distance when using the flash to photograph living things without harming your eyes. Or turn off the flash and gently press the lens against the