Wildlife photography is a genre of photography concerned with documenting various forms of wildlife in their natural habitat. It is one of the more challenging forms of photography which requires sound technical skills, such as being able to expose correctly, good field skills, deep understanding of animal behaviour and psychology. For example, some animals are difficult to approach and thus knowledge of the animal's behaviour is needed in order to be able to predict its actions. Photographing some species may require stalking skills or the use of a hide/blind for concealment.
Credits: Kalyan Varma
To become a wildlife photographer, it is not necessary to have a formal education but it could help in fast development of skills. Most photographers are self-employed or work on a freelance basis, so their success depends on their ability to deliver and sell compelling images.
The world's three largest photography organizations, the Photographic Society of America, the FédérationInternationale de l'ArtPhotographique and the Royal Photographic Society have adopted a common definition for nature and wildlife photography to govern photography competitions, their respective presidents writing in a joint statement, "The development of a common definition for nature and wildlife photography will be an important step in helping photographers, many of whom enter competitions internationally, know what the rules are. It will also provide organisers with a very clear definition when they need to deal with the problem of ineligible images."
Credits: Jordan Platt
Tips for Wildlife Photography
Wildlife Photography isn’t all that different from Nature Photography. The major difference between Nature Photography and Wildlife Photography is a combination of Location and the timing of the animal (subject). You need to be at the right place at the right time to capture moments in animal’s life. Also, you need to have information for whatever you’re about to shoot and that patience is the key to good wildlife photography.
1. Get to know your Subject–Wildlife photography is all about time and patience, much of which should be spent studying and paying attention to your subject. Instead of just showing up at a location once, return time and time again to photograph it. Watch an animal’s behavioural traits and try to pick up on clues it gives as to its next movement. With practice, you’ll often be able to predict where an animal will move to next, or what it will do.
2. Use your Lens Hood – That bit of plastic that comes with your lens isn’t just for decoration. It prevents stray light from hitting the lens, helping you produce clearer pictures, but it also provides physical protection for your lens. Too many times you’ll see photographers with it on, but the wrong way round. Make sure you take a few seconds to attach it properly before shooting.
3. Try Aperture Priority Mode–Light is often never evenly distributed in a woodland or similar environment. A moving animal will cross different areas of different light intensities. If you take a burst of photos of it moving through the area, aperture priority mode will adjust the settings and ensure your images are correctly exposed. In manual mode, there is simply no time to continually adjust the settings when shooting a constantly changing scene. By all means, you should understand how to use your camera in manual mode, but aperture priority is not the enemy. Adjust the ISO to increase or decrease your shutter speed, and use exposure compensation to fine-tune the exposure.
4. Be Patient – Wildlife photography is all about patience. When starting out in this field, you need to remember that rarely do wildlife photographers get a great shot in just a few hours of waiting. You may need to return to a spot time and time again, waiting for hours or days at a stretch, before you will capture a unique image.If you’re waiting in a hide, take a book with you, or a film on your smartphone to pass the time. Just remember to keep looking up and checking the scene in front of you.
Credits: Kalyan Varma
5. Think out of the box - With so many people taking excellent wildlife images nowadays, it is important to think outside of the box. Look at images others have taken and think “how can I do it better”. If you want your images to be noticed and stand out, give them the wow-factor by taking a photograph that no one has ever seen before. By wow factor, we don’t mean rare animal, but a rare style of shot.
Credits: Wayne Robinson
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