5 Wildlife photography tips to get the perfect shot
Getting into wildlife photography can become a very rewarding and exciting hobby.
If you have patience and a bit of know how, you can easily wander around in the wild for hours in search of that picture perfect moment.
In our books there is only one rule for capturing an animal; and that’s by taking its photo!
We spoke to Jack Fillery, one of the owners of Tomjachu, an avid photographer himself, to get a few tips on how to improve your wildlife photos. He is also the man behind the lens of the photos you see on our website and social media!
Here are some of his (and other professional photography experts’), pointers on how to improve your wildlife photography skills in a flash.
The Rule of Thirds
Play around with the composition of your photo when you frame your shot. Don’t always frame the subject at the centre of your viewfinder. Imagine you put a grid over your image, then cut it into three in both directions (most cameras have a setting where you can activate the grid lines in the viewfinder or on screen). If you place your subject at any point where the grid lines cross and ensure that the animal is looking into the photo, the image will sit much more comfortably on the eye.
Get Up Close & Personal!
In South Africa many of the animals have incredibly intricate features like beautifully detailed spots, stripes and bright colourful plumage.Therefore zoom in close, so that these features fill the frame for more interesting abstract ‘arty’ type and fun images.
Do your homework beforehand
If you have a better understanding of the animal’s behaviour before you head out into the bush, your chances of capturing really good animal photos will vastly increase. Find out more about their habits, for example, find out if they are more active at certain times of the day. Are they nocturnal or are they early risers? Do they rest during the heat of the day? Where do they graze or quench their thirst. What do they eat? A simple understanding of their habits will give you so much more rewarding results. Speak to our guide who can give you a good idea of animal behaviour before you head out, or go out on a guided walk or drive to make the most of their knowledge.
Unexpected noises and movement can easily scare off an animal. The first rule of thumb is to stay calm and quiet and move slowly when you are approaching your subject. Keep a safe distance and try to approach from an angle where they can’t see you, or even more importantly, smell you. Most animals have very sensitive noses, so try to approach them down-wind. Steady yourself… and take the shot. One of the most famous wildlife photography tips out there, is to switch off the shutter release sound, especially if you are using your camera in sports mode and capturing many frames in a short space of time as in the below example.
Tell a story
The best images are those that tell a story. With wildlife photography, stories can be incredibly dramatic, like when a predator is catching its prey. But it can also be a very simple interaction between two individual birds, animals or insects that can tell a vivid story of its own.
These simple techniques are just the tip of the iceberg. It goes without saying that the right camera equipment and lenses combined with the right lighting, will have dramatic effects on the quality of your wildlife photography but these simple techniques can even be applied if you are just taking photos with your smartphone and want a few stellar pics to share with friends.
We have the location, we have the wildlife, we have the animal knowledge and offer expert tips from Jack himself. Why not visit us for some real life practical experience at Tomjachu and give your photography skills a whirl. We are always willing to share our information and insider tips on how to capture the best wildlife shots.