The art of taking successful animal photos is a special challenge for many photographers. Find out more about the particular aspects of animal photography and read about the equipment you need for successful animal photography.
Which aspects you should consider with animal photography
Animal photography has a very high value in the conservation of nature and for environmental protection. Photography produces works of a captured and catalogued nature.
For many viewers, this increases the awareness of the importance of various animal species. It is about the animals living on land and the underwater creatures that most people rarely get to see. Photographing wild animals is often extremely difficult, adventurous or even dangerous – primarily when wild animals are shot in their natural environment.
There are impressive illustrated books of animal pictures to admire. In this way, the different animals are brought a lot closer to the people. In the end, these people are more willing to think of animals when it comes to species protection or the preservation of the ecosystem.
Ready for the adventure
Indeed, animal photographers are always looking for adventure, for example, when they want to take pictures of the “Big Five” in Africa or even explore the deep seas’ secret world. For such pictures, many wildlife photographers are prepared to put themselves in very dangerous situations. But the pictures that are taken are valuable testimonies of nature for many people.
It is also challenging to photograph insects, some of which are found in extremely remote areas. Even today, new unknown species are still being discovered through animal photography. Animal photography often results in pictures of various species as they have never been seen before.
Flying Resplendent Quetzal – The Quetzal is a green and scarlet coloured bird from the family of the Trogone. Further, four types of this species live in Latin America. The Pre-Columbian cultures hunted the Quetzal because of its splendid long tail-feathers, which served as a headdress for its priests.
The optimal equipment for animal photography
When choosing the right equipment for photographing animals, some items of equipment should be emphasized:
Choosing the right lens
There are animals that are particularly good for photography due to their slow nature with moderate movements. Others simply do not want to stand still and are often much more interesting in flying, running or swimming anyway. For such sprinter shots to be successful, a special lens is needed that can capture the images without blurring. An extremely fast shutter release is also very important.
Since most animals, especially in the wild, are often very far away, a lens with a very long focal length must ensure that the shot can be taken as close as possible. In this way it is also possible to photograph those animals that are very shy or too dangerous to get closer to them.
When buying the lens, you should also make sure that it has an ultrasonic motor so that the lens can follow the animals when they are in motion.
But also in the world of insects there are interesting specimens that are always worth photographing. This requires special macro lenses, which even make sharp photos of the eye of a fly possible.
Using a camera tripod
It is also essential to have a good tripod that is quick to set up and easy to transport. Without a tripod, you will hardly be able to take good pictures of far distant animals!
Motion photography or portrait
Animals are photographed both in quiet moments and in fast motion. The individual requirements for this type of photography are different.
In portrait photography, a large aperture can be selected to achieve a blurred background; the exposure time may also be longer – a blurred image is not very likely.
If you choose motion photography, the camera settings must be adjusted. The exposure time should be set to a value above 1/250 sec. Smaller apertures are an advantage to prevent the animal from “running out of focus.”
Guanacos in Torres del Paine National Park. – The Guanaco is the wild living ancestor of the llama. Because of its valuable wool, the guanaco has been almost exterminated by hunters. Today they are protected by law, which explains the rarity of this animal fibre.
Great animal pictures – practical tips for beginners
Beginners in the field of animal photography should consider some points. Who has pets can observe them for practice and try to photograph them in special poses or situations. The zoo is also a good place to practice. In general, there are some rules you should follow to get good results:
- Practice equipment handling: One moment, the bird is sitting there peacefully, the next moment it is about to take off – you have to be prepared for spontaneous changes in a situation and know your equipment.
- A lot of patience is necessary: animals will never sit still in front of the camera on command. Apart from that, you usually want to take pictures of them in their natural environment. A lot of storage space and patience is therefore necessary.
- Viewing angle: Birds you usually photographed from below, cats and dogs from above. It would be best if you change these typical angles of view to get more interesting pictures.
- Always focus on the animal’s eye: The eye must always be sharp because the viewer is the first to look at it, and because the eye says a lot about the animal’s mood.
- Whole Body photography: Animal photos should never be cut off if possible; the appearance is rather strange. The animal’s gaze should be given enough space – if it looks to the right, it is best to position it on the left side of the photo.
Although animal photography can be expensive fun, it is still worth investing this money. The results often speak for themselves. We hope we could arouse some interest and you will try it yourself. Even though it takes a lot of time, it is very relaxing and brings you closer to nature than many other photography areas could.
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