In the fifth part of our Shoot Like A Pro series on how to photograph any subject you want we take a closer look at the best camera settings for wildlife photography. Getting sharp photos takes time to master, but here we show you all the best camera settings you should use to shoot both captive and wild animals to get great wildlife photos every time.
Best camera settings to photograph captive animals
When shooting in a zoo or wildlife park you can predict reasonably accurately when and where you will be able to shoot them. The greatest difficulty is shooting through fences or wire mesh.
The best way to avoid this is to shoot at the widest aperture available on your lens, while getting as close as possible to the obstruction.
Even though they are limited by their enclosures, captive animals will still move around. So set the Autofocus mode to Continuous or Servo focusing so that it will still focus if the animal moves, and try to position the autofocus point over the eye of the animal.
How to set up your camera to photograph captive animals
ISO Auto (upper limit 800)
To save time changing the ISO when moving around, set the ISO to auto and then limit the highest setting to 800 – if this feature is available on your camera.
Aperture f/5.6 (or wider)
When shooting through glass or wire fences set the widest aperture. Get as close to the obstruction as you can.
Exposure mode Aperture Priority (Av or A)
Shutter speed Set by camera, but at least 1/500sec
Lens 300mm or longer
Focus mode Servo or Continuous
Drive mode Continuous shooting
White balance Auto
Wildlife photography in any environment: free photography cheat sheet
Zoo photography: a fool-proof method for capturing animals through glass
Wildlife photography made easy: simple techniques for pro-quality pictures