Improving your Wildlife Photography
I often wish I had some of the wildlife photography experience I have now, all those years ago, when I was still a struggling amateur wildlife photographer. I now know exactly what it takes to get a good wildlife photo, and I have also learned what to do to achieve what it takes...
1. Get up early in the mornings and stay out late in the afternoons
The main thing that makes a wildlife photograph excellent is the lighting. In the early mornings and late afternoons when the sun is low, the light is very warm and makes for excellent wildlife photography. You have to be in the field when this is going on... So, drop the excuses, get up earlier and go get that shot.
For more on good light, see the Wildlife Photography section of my website: http://www.africa-nature-photography.com/wildlife-photography.html.
2. Use proper camera support
Sharpness is a must for any wildlife photograph that is going to be admired or published. If your pictures are not sharp, forget it. They won't cut it. Trust me, I learned this the hard way...
Always use proper support for your camera. In Africa, this would have to be inside your vehicle, as you can not leave your vehicle to use a tripod while photographing dangerous animals. I use a door bracket or beanbags.
3. Get that prime lens
I have worked with both zoom and prime lenses over time and I am a really big fan of prime lenses now. The are sharper, faster and smaller than zoom lenses (except those f/2.8 or f/4 monsters).
I know they are expensive, but there is nothing that would improve your photography more than using the best equipment. I know, as I had to figure this out the hard way. I wish I got the best gear sooner, as I would have been able to use all my old photos now that I am professional.
4. Spend time in the right places for wildlife photography
Go there where it is still really wild. Nothing beats the photographs you get when you go into the real wilderness.
Stop wasting time at your zoo, and organize a trip to Africa! I give information on visiting Africa on my Africa Safaris page at http://www.africa-nature-photography.com/africa-safaris.html and it would be a good idea to read what I say there before planning your visit.
When you have taken pictures in the Okavango Delta, you will never photograph in your back garden again.
5. Get some action into those photos
Frankly, the world has seen more than enough pictures of wildlife doing nothing. Enough already. Get that action shot!
My results improved considerably when I realized this and started taking photographs of animals doing something. Start trying to capture that special moment where the Impala is flying through the air while fleeing something, or the lion is chasing the warthog, or even just a pretty water bird catching a frog.
If you start applying the principles outlined here, you will see big improvement in your wildlife photography results. Who knows, maybe shortly you will also be among the prizes in that famed wildlife photography competition.
Dries Cronje is a professional freelance wildlife photographer and web designer. He has a passion for teaching and has dedicated one website completely to helping his fellow wildlife and nature photographers.
For wildlife photography, see http://www.africa-nature-photography.com/wildlife-photography.html.
For landscape photography, see http://www.africa-nature-photography.com/landscape-photography.html.