10 common wildlife photography mistakes we’re all guilty of (and how to fix them)

How to set up a hide for wildlife photography: step 6

Wildlife Photography Mistakes: 05 Subject looking the wrong way

Best camera settings for bird photography

Although it’s exciting to get a shot of an animal you’ve never seen before, it’s not enough just to get a record shot, you want to be able to see its most interesting features, and usually its face.

Wait until the animal is looking towards the camera, or at least its face is visible, before you focus and take the shot.

Just as you would with a portrait, have the animal looking into space in the image rather than straight at the edge of the picture.

This is especially important if the animal is moving as you want to give the impression of it having space to move into rather than that it’s about to step out of the shot.


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Wildlife Photography Mistakes: 06 Feeder in view

How to set up a feeding station

Although it’s perfectly acceptable to use food or nest boxes to attract animals into an area where they can be photographed, you don’t usually want the signs of human activity or intervention to be visible.

A few shots of the bird on a feeder may be nice, but as you get more adept at wildlife photography look for ways to conceal the fact that you’re feeding them.

You may be able to hide the food in the cracks of the rough bark of a log, for example, or you could push peanuts into the ground so they are not visible from your shooting position, but the squirrels and birds can still get at them.

Similarly, if you are shooting in a zoo you may want to avoid signs that the animal is in captivity.

This can be tricky, but if you shoot with a long lens and wide aperture you can blur the background, concealing the fact that it’s man-made.

In some cases it’s even possible to blur out the cage in the foreground.


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  • Jacobus DeWet

    To be honest, one of the most useless articles I have ever read on wildlife photography. In future get an experienced wildlife photographer to write something of value with real life lessons and how to make the best of the situation you are given. Wildlife is not a studio, conditions change fast, you cannot pick the light, what do you do when you shoot in flat light to create great B&W images, Some of the best wildlife images ever taken is not a close crop but compositions with animals in their natural environment, how to deal with cluttered backgrounds, etc, etc ,etc

  • mwaters

    #6 If you are shooting animals in captivity, be sure and always state such in your description.

  • Monte Comeau

    I must disagree with this point entirely! We actually purchase these high end lenses with F4 and larger Apertures so we can purposely use a shallow depth of field.