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: 07 Depth of field too shallow

How to set up your camera to shoot macro photography with shallow depth of field: aperture

Because you need to use a fast shutter speed to freeze movement and a long telephoto lens to frame your subject tightly you are likely to have to use a wide aperture and you may find that depth of field is very restricted.

This can mean that only the subject’s face is sharp and its body is soft. While this may be effective in some cases, in others it just doesn’t work.

If you need to close down the aperture to get greater depth of field you’ll have to do push-up sensitivity setting that you’re using.

Naturally you want to keep this as low as possible to avoid the introduction of noise, but sometimes there’s just no avoiding it.

Another option, of course, is to return when the light is better allowing a smaller aperture and fast shutter speed to be used.


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Wildlife Photography Mistakes: 08 Birds underexposed

How to photograph birds in flight: step 3

It can be particularly tricky to expose birds in flight correctly because the bright sky can fool your camera’s exposure system into under exposing the image.

Rather than using your camera’s multi-zone, evaluative or matrix metering system switch to using centreweighted or even spot metering.

Provided that the metering point is linked to the AF point and that you keep the active AF point over the subject, these modes should ensure that the subject is correctly exposed, although the brightness or darkness of the image of the subject will play a part.

Keep an eye on the histogram in your camera’s LCD screen and try to avoid having a large peak at one end or the other indicating that there are lots of very dark pixels or lots of very bright pixels.

If necessary use the exposure compensation facility to get the subject looking right.


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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.