Anyone with a keen interest in nature or wildlife photography is likely to have seen an image at some point in their life that has completely astonished them. It may have also made them wonder how the photographer has captured the shot and whether this is something an amateur photographer can also achieve. Using the following tips can help you improve your wildlife photography skills and to achieve better results.
Research is Key
It makes sense to do your homework before you set off for a stint of nature photography, even if this is the part of the job that professional nature photographers really dislike. Try to find out about the location you are visiting the wildlife in the area and any potential risks you may face.
Packing the Right Gear
Without the right gear, you have little chance of getting the quality of photographs you want to achieve. However, this does not necessarily mean that you need the most advanced pieces of kit or the latest must-have technologies. Perseverance and patience are much more important. Ultimately, the equipment you need depends on the type of photography. For example, if you are taking shots of animals and can’t get too close, then a great zoom lens is a must. On the other hand, if you are trying to get great landscapes, a wider angle lens may help you capture more of the scene.
Of course it will also be a no-no to run out of camera power, or smart phone battery juice. It may be best to bring a small generator meant for the outdoors so you can snap away even after several hours, days, even weeks.
Choose the Right Bag
Having the right bag really does make a difference and can both save you time and help things to run more smoothly. Find a bag that easily accommodates the gear you regularly pack. It can help to read some reviews online to find the bag that is most suitable for you.
Dress for Comfort
Getting the right shot hardly ever involves turning up at a location, taking one photograph and then going home. The reality is, you might have to walk a good distance to find what you are looking for and then sit for hours waiting to capture the perfect image. Therefore, dressing sensibly and comfortably is vital. Wearing shoes that are suitable for the terrain is essential. You should also dress appropriately for the weather conditions.
Find Out About Access, Permission, and Permits
While some locations are free for members of the public to access, there are certain areas that have restrictions in place and you may need to apply for a permit or permission to enter the area and get the pictures you want. This often applies to State or National Parks.
It is not always possible to park close to where you are having your photography session. Before setting off in your car, it is advisable to find out where the nearest places for parking are that you can safely leave your vehicle.
Consider Weather Conditions
Checking the forecast before you set off is essential. If you are unprepared for bad weather, you are potentially putting your safety at risk and also risking possible damage to your equipment. A really bad weather forecast may even necessitate a change of your plans and rearranging your shoot for another day.
Think About Time
Some parks and natural areas have set hours of operation and you will only be able to access your chosen location within these hours. Knowing this in advance will help you to plan your times of arrival and departure and give you a timeframe for capturing the images you want. Another time-related consideration is the active times of the wildlife you want to capture. For example, to photograph nocturnal animals you must visit an area with access at night. The daytime hours and hours of darkness will also influence your plans, so it is best to check out the times of sunrise and sunset.
Opt for RAW Format
Although using RAW format uses up a lot more memory space on your camera, there is so much more pixel information than in JPEG images. This is helpful in the post-processing stage when you want to make adjustments. Some photographers describe RAW image files as being uncooked or unprocessed images.
Take a Tripod
One of the most common mistakes made by photographers is to leave their tripod at home in the mistaken belief that they will not need it on that day. This is how even the best photographers miss fantastic photo opportunities. Always take your tripod with you for a nature or wildlife shoot just in case. You never know when you might need it and you will not want to regret deciding to leave it at home.
Wildlife and nature photography has the potential to be both rewarding and enjoyable. These tips can help you to make the most of the photographic opportunities available to you. While capturing breath-taking images is your main purpose, it is also important that you put down the camera from time-to-time to appreciate the beauty of your surroundings.