Let’s talk about wildlife photography! I’ve been on about 40-50 safari this year and had plenty of opportunity to improve my wildlife photography – which is good, because I was a complete beginner before.
In today’s photography video, I want to share some wildlife photography tips and tricks I’ve picked up in 2018 – basically a wildlife photography for beginners 101.
Whether it’s your first time doing wildlife photography or you’re a long-time wildlife photographer, I hope you pick up at least a tip or two from this video. And of course, feel free to share your own wildlife photography tips below!
All of the footage and photos shown in this video were taken in Chobe National Park in Botswana. Being on safari is my favourite way to do wildlife photography, but of course it’s not the only way. Wherever you like take photos of wildlife, I hope this video helps you on your journey.
The camera I use for wildlife photography – UK: / USA:
My affordable wildlife photography lens – UK: (new version) / USA:
If you enjoyed this video, don’t forget to check out my other photography videos:
Other videos from Southern Africa:
As always, thanks for watching! I’ve been travelling the world full-time since 2017 and capturing it all through photography and videography. I share all the best bits of the world, along with camera talk and some behind the scenes insights into my digital nomad lifestyle every Wednesday and Sunday at 5:30PM UK time. Don’t forget to subscribe to see more and hit the thumbs up if you enjoyed this video!
Other places to find me:
My camera gear:
Join the community:
heading off on another Safari and today I want to share some wildlife photography tips so let's talk about wildlife photography I really want to share some wildlife photography tips with you today and I should start by saying that I am NOT a professional whole life photographer at the start of this year I was a complete beginner if you've been part of this community for a while either on this channel or on Instagram then you might remember back in April when I went to s or teenie if you don't remember that because you're new to the channel then I will put a link up here so you can go see those videos and make sure you hit the subscribe button just below this video if you want to see more travel more photography more wildlife more cool stuff like that when I went to s Latini that was the first time I ever went on Safari that was my first ever Safari and my first real shot at doing wildlife photography and I even bought this Sigma lens for my 5d for that trip I had no idea that I would actually be using this lens so much the rest of this year because I've now been on Safari about 40 or 50 more times since I arrived in Africa in October so yeah it was a complete beginner at the start of this year but I've also had a lot of opportunity to practice my wildlife photography here in Africa and I feel like I've learned a lot so I want to share those tips with you today and if you're just getting sighted or even if you've done a fair bit of wildlife photography yourself I hope they're gonna help you take better photos whether you're on Safari or whether you're just taking photos of the creatures in your back garden holders and monkeys my first tip for wildlife photography is similar to lots of photography and that is to get up early except in wildlife photography you want to get up as early as you possibly can when you're staying in national parks like these ones in southern Africa then you're going to be restricted by the gate times the gates usually open about thirty minutes before sunrise so if you can get out there on the top you're gonna have a much better chance of seeing some cool animal action you're gonna have a much better chance of seeing animals close to the road to seeing them getting up to all sorts of mischief and that's because most animals are nocturnal animals are most active during the night but unfortunately it's always kind of hard to see them at night whether it's because you have to be back in the gate at that time or whether it's just because you need so much gear do you night photography it makes it kind of harder so normally you can go out on game drives in the morning or in the evening but I've found the morning tends to be best just because the animals are still active from the night before if it's a hot day they might not get active till long after sunset so get up early get out in the morning it'll be worth it we were getting up at 4 a.m. every single day in Kruger and honestly it wasn't even a struggle wildlife photography is just so much fun and so rewarding when you're off at that time and you actually get to see stuff that it is totally worth it tip number two is get ready to delete a lot of your photos you want a big SD card that can take a lot of photos when you go out and do wildlife photography because a lot of the time you're just sort of birth shooting hoping that you get a shot and the reality is you're gonna take more photos than you normally would but you're probably also gonna delete about 98% of them and it's a long painful process which is actually why often Namibia i sat down with Brendan and we went through each other's photos you can see that video here if you want to see what came out of that and yeah I just find that such a painful part of the process I now kind of try and focus more on specific shots but if you only have a short time and you're not able to like photograph animals as much you might want to just make the most of it take loads of photos and then you're going to delete most of them unfortunately tip number three and I think this has been the most useful thing for me in learning about wildlife photography and it has nothing to do with photography that is to learn some animal behavior most animals most wild animals are very predictable they have a set of behaviors and they respond to certain situations in different ways and they have say maybe five to ten behaviors that they display constantly and if you can learn those behaviors so you can predict what they're going to do you can be prepared for that shot and you can get the photos if you know the elephants flap their ears when they're hot then you can go out when it's hot in the middle of the day and you can wait you can get a shot of the elephant with this massive ears out like this if you know that leopards drag their kill ah pertree you might be able to get a shot of a leopard dragging an Impala up a tree and even if you miss that shot like I did you may be able to get a shot of the leopard coming back down the tree which I did and that was probably my favorite photo from this whole trip learn some animal behavior and it's going to be so much easier to get cool photos animals always look better when they're doing something when they are in action and they are the hardest photos to get so if you have an idea of what an animal is about to do you've got a much better chance leading on from that and on a similar note my next tip is to be safe and respect the animals yes it's great to take photos of animals it's great to photograph wildlife but you have to remember that these are wild animals and you are in their territory and you just don't want to disturb them or do anything that's going to make them uncomfortable because what's the point of being able to share nature if you're also sort of damaging it and disrupting it so first of all make sure you know some animal behavior so that you can stay safe especially with animals like elephants and hippos that can be pretty dangerous if you don't know the signs that they give off and second of all make sure you're not harming the animals or scaring the animals in any way I've seen people who want to get a photo start clapping or making noises to get the animals to move that's gonna scare the animals you don't want to scare the animals so yeah just be a good person don't be mean and yeah just be really respectful of nature and that also kind of leads me on to the fact that you're gonna need to be patient there's kind of two parts to wildlife photography especially on safari the first part is finding the animal and that can take hours that could take days that could take weeks if you're looking for a rare animal that's really hard to come by but even if you find that animal there's no guarantee that you're gonna get a good shot it might be in bad light it might be in the shade it might be doing something really boring you just don't know what the animal is going to be doing there might not be any kind of cool position or frame that you can get so you might need to wait with that animal for a while and again knowing animal behavior can help with this but you have to be patient a lot of times on safari if you come across something cool or an animal that looks like it might get up a move or hunt then you can sit with it for maybe an hour or two waiting for that moment and when you get that shot it's gonna be so so worth it but you do have to be patient and have the camera ready and yeah don't expect things to just happen and there to be action all the time while locator if he takes a lot of patience and it's a lot of potluck as well and that also brings me on to my next point which is to have your camera ready if you're in your own vehicle you might want to have a bean bag on the side so that you can leave your camera kind of resting there and not hurt your arms whether you have that or not you want to make sure you know your camera really well I shoot most of my wildlife photography on AV mode but I also shoot a lot of the time on manual wildlife photography is the one time that I shoot on manual mode just because I want to make sure everything's right and sometimes I've just found like especially when it's hot the camera has a hard time picking the right settings and I can do a better job myself so it's the one time I shoot on manual you don't need to shoot a menu I also shoot wildlife photography on AV mode a lot of the time but knowing your camera and knowing how to quickly change between what you might need to change between how to quickly do those basic things and do it under pressure without looking at the camera is going to help you so much when you're in the moment and there's action going on and you don't want to miss that shot another camera tip for wildlife photography a lot of beginner wildlife photographers will zoom in as far as they can on the animals and a lot of the time you do need to zoom your lens as much as you can this one only goes up to 400 so I do spend most of my time with it zoomed right in but you want to make sure you don't seem too much actually what you don't want to do is crop off an animal's fur or part of their tail so that you Colin is the image it's always better to kind of zoom out just a little bit especially if they're moving around and you don't know exactly where they're going to go and then you can just zoom in on the animal when you're editing the photo so wildlife photography is also the one time where I don't worry about being super zoomed in or having the perfect frame because it's kind of out of your control and that will say brings me on to the next point which is composition is hard you're gonna have to work with what you've got with wildlife photography and that is one of the big challenges of wildlife photography sometimes an animal is just in a beautiful frame and the composition is incredible the lights amazing and you get that great shot without really having to think about it and that's bull assume most of the time however when you come across an animal they're gonna be kind of in an awkward position you might not be able to see the whole animal and you're gonna have to get creative so if you're driving if you're on a self-drive Safari it's a lot easier to move the car to an angle or position you need try and think about different angles and what you can do to make that a photo rather than just a quick snapshot of an animal so you might want to use stuff in the foreground there might be some grass or some bush that you can blow out just to create a frame around the animal it might be that you even just zoom in on part of the animal I found this is especially true for elephants they're just so big and they're just not photogenic but if you can zoom in on just a crop of their face especially the behaviors that I can look pretty cool so yeah you're gonna have to work a bit harder to get a good composition with wildlife photography but it also means you can get kind of creative and that does bring me uncie my final tip which is to try and get at the animals I set for and I appreciate that this is kind of almost impossible sometimes this again it's just pot luck but if you can get the animal eye level it's just gonna tell a much greater story is gonna have more emotion to the photo one of the hottest animals to photograph is a giraffe because they're just all the way up here and they just always look the same by if you get your off coming down to drink water or eat a tree and you get an eye level it makes such a difference so try and gets the animals in of all I appreciate that's really hard if you're in a safari vehicle if you're in a car if again it's just kind of potluck waiting for the right moment and trying to plan ahead as much as you can if you're doing a different sort of wildlife photography and you have a hide with something it's probably gonna be easier but yeah always try and get at the animals eye level or maybe even just below and that is it for my wildlife photography tips I wanted to share some sort of wildlife tips for everyone whether you're a beginner whether you're a bit more advanced I think I've learned a lot this year I've learned a lot on this trip as well and we still have plenty of Safari to come here on the channel as always thank you for watching if you enjoyed this video don't forget to give it a little thumbs up leave a comment if you have any tips of your own that you'd like to share or if you found any of these tips useful I'd love to know what you thought of them I post new videos on this channel every Wednesday and every Sunday there's always travel photography and yeah behind the scenes of my life of food home travel so if that sounds good and you're not subscribed already make sure you hit subscribe the next video will be up in a few days time and I hope