I’m Will Burrard-Lucas, a wildlife photographer from the UK and founder of Camtraptions. Through my website WildlifePhoto.com, I provide a free online wildlife photography course with lots or tips and advice to help you take better photographs of animals. In this blog post, I have included 6 of my top tips that will have an instant impact on the quality of your images…
1. Get Low
The camera should almost always be on the same level as the subject or lower. This is important for two reasons:
1) It gives the subject greater presence and helps the viewer connect with the animal.
2) It increases the distance between the subject and the background, which helps throw the background out of focus and draw attention to the subject.
2. Keep your shutter speed up
Most of the time wildlife is photographed with a telephoto lens. Long lenses exaggerate camera shake, because a small movement of the camera results in a large movement of the picture frame. Therefore, you need to use a faster shutter speed to get sharp shots.
The longer the lens, the faster the shutter speed needs to be. A good rule of thumb is to keep your shutter speed faster than 1 over the focal length of the lens. For example, with a 400mm lens, you should keep your shutter speed faster than 1/400th second.
3. Focus on the eyes
You’ve probably already heard that you should focus on the eyes. If the eyes aren’t sharp, it is very hard for the viewer to connect with the subject. Sometimes, for portraits, you may also want to try to get the tip of the nose in focus too.
4. Light is key
Good light can turn an average photo into an extraordinary photo. The light is most beautiful in the ten minutes after sunrise and before sunset. There are two ways to use sunrise and sunset light. Usually, photographers will shoot with the sun behind them, so that their subject is bathed in lovely warm light. However, you can also experiment with backlighting your subjects, particularly if the light is low and strong (for example, when heavy rain has washed all of the dust out of the air).
5. Consider the background
The background can often make or break a photo. First and foremost, you want to make sure it is clear of any distractions such as bright spots or messy foliage. You also should ensure your subject stands out from the background and is attractively framed if possible.
6. Spend longer with your subject
I used to stay with an animal until I got a shot I was happy with and then move on to the next subject. This resulted in a number of good shots of varied subject matter. However, I’ve now found that sticking with one subject for longer has made a big difference to the quality of my images. The longer your spend with an animal, the more chance you have of witnessing (and capturing on camera) something special.
If you would like to learn more then you can sign up to my free online wildlife photography course at WildlifePhoto.com