10 Important Wildlife Photography Tips That Most Amateur Photographer's Ignore

January 20, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Tim Layton - Wild Horses of MissouriTim Layton - Wild Horses of Missouri In this article, I share ten tips with you that I often see other photographer ignore or forget to make part their regular routine.

You should not ignore any of these and if you are, thank me for reminding you, and scroll down and leave a comment below. 

It is very easy to get lazy or think that better gear is going to help you create better wildlife images.  This is a universal truth about any type and genre of photography.   

The cold hard truth is by following and really embracing these ten tips below, your wildlife photography will absolutely improve instantly. 

In the comment section below, share any other tips that you think are critical and let me know which tips resonated most with you.

10 Wildlife Photo Tips That You Should Not Ignore

1 - In camera composition matters.
2 - Only shoot in interesting/good light only and no front light!
3 - Get very low (don't look down on animal) - handheld, tripod, monopod, etc. 
4 - Study/research animal habitat, behavior, seasons as your core job.
5 - Wait for compelling and unique behavior (this is the holy grail because it tells a story).
6 - Respect wildlife (we are guests in their home).
7 - Get into a position where the animal will come to you. Stop taking photos of their asses. 
8 - When an opportunity arises, shoot at fastest FPS and change variables like aperture and/or shutter speed until the opportunity expires to give you a variety of images.
9 - Seek to photograph the "chase" and focus on the chaser (money in the bank).
10 - Research your location and surrounding area extensively before arriving.

After you master the base technical details of general photography and how to use your specific camera gear in the field, the vast majority of your time will involve research.  The photography part is actually the smallest part of wildlife photography.  

It is impossible to consistently get high quality images without understanding your subject.  We can all get lucky once in a while, which is great, but the larger degree of your success comes from researching and understanding behavior and natural tendencies. 

For example, let's say that you enjoy photographing birds and you are struggling with getting a "take-off" style image.  By knowing the precursor signs, you know what to look for in order to get that type of image.  This is a simple example, but it hopefully illustrates the general idea. 

Your research doesn't just stop with understanding animal behavior and habitat, you are required to extensively research your locations.  If you invest the time and energy to go to to place to photograph, if you are unprepared or or it isn't a good choice for your mission, then you are wasting a lot of your valuable time.  

You will be researching many other topics as well to include weather for example.  I don't mean just research the forecast, but also where the light will be and how the pattern of the sun can and will impact your choice for location.  Flat and front lit subjects won't get you too far.  

I am just skimming the surface with these examples.  The main point that I hope to be getting across to you is the value of research and how prominent it is in your overall and long term success as a wildlife photographer.

-Tim Layton

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