Wildlife Photography Essentials

What is Wildlife Photography?

Wildlife photography is a popular branch of photography that focuses on capturing various types of animals, plants, fungi, and other organisms in their natural habitats. To achieve a great wildlife photo requires not only photographic skills, but general outdoor skills and an understanding of animal behavior.


Important Camera and Lens Considerations for Shooting Wildlife

There are two critical camera requirements when shooting wildlife: fast and accurate autofocus, and high frame rate (at least 7 fps). Autofocus is important because unlike traditional portrait photography where the subjects are controlled and predictable, the subjects in wildlife photography will be uncontrolled, unpredictable, and often fast. Your best photo opportunity can be gone in the blink of an eye, so having a camera with a strong autofocus system will ensure your image comes in sharp. A high frame rate is equally important as it allows lots of photos in a small amount of time. Often times, a tenth of a second can make all the difference from an amazing photo to a mediocre one.


There are also two critical lens requirements when shooting wildlife: long focal lengths and fast speed. Lenses with long focal lengths have incredible zoom, which allows for photographing wildlife from safe distances. A “fast lens” refers to a lens with a larger maximum aperture (or a smaller minimum f-number). Larger apertures let more light in, and thus allow for faster shutter speeds and clearer images even in lowlight situations.


Thankfully, today’s cameras and lenses are advanced and affordable enough to make wildlife photography accessible even to tight-budget photographers.


Be Prepared, Be Patient

Wildlife photography arguably requires more preparation and patience than any other genre. In addition to having the right photo gear, wildlife photographers need to be fieldcraft specialists. Operating stealthily, surveying animal behavior, and understanding the terrain will put you in a good position to get the perfect shot. Having good situational awareness and practicing patience is imperative as well. These qualities put photographers in position to get the perfect shot and create unforgettable memories.