Wildlife pictures: 5 classic compositions (and why they work)

Wildlife pictures: 5 classic compositions (and why they work)

From environmental portraits to frame-filling close-ups, we show you five different ways to compose the same subject to create striking wildlife pictures and add variety to your portfolio.

Wildlife pictures: 5 classic compositions (and why they work)

All images and text by Mark Hamblin

As this stunning image shows, composition is just as important for creating wildlife pictures as it is for other subjects, but it might not be your first thought when you only have a few seconds to grab a shot of an elusive subject.

In the excitement of the moment, it’s easy to forget the photo composition basics and place the subject in the middle of the frame.

By taking a moment to consider your composition, it’s possible to add variety and interest to your wildlife pictures.

And it doesn’t even matter if you don’t own a super-telephoto lens, as there are plenty of alternatives to frame-filling portraits, as this selection of hares by nature pro Mark Hamblin shows.

SEE MORE: Photo composition tips – shoot one subject six different ways

Creative compositions for wildlife pictures: 01 Shoot wide

Creative compositions for wildlife pictures: 01 Shoot wide

Close-up wildlife portraits are great, but they don’t really provide any context regarding the animal’s environment.

By shooting from farther back using a wider lens you can place the animal in its habitat, which helps to tell more of a story and adds interest to the picture.

This shouldn’t be an excuse for not getting close enough to your subject, though.

SEE MORE: Creative photography – how to think beyond the obvious with composition

It needs to be clearly recognizable, even if it’s very small in the frame, and preferably positioned near the edges of the frame, to convey a sense of space.

Silhouettes work especially well in this regard.

Creative compositions for wildlife pictures: 01 Shoot wide
Creative compositions for wildlife pictures: 02 Move in closer
Creative compositions for wildlife pictures: 03 Make use of space
Creative compositions for wildlife pictures: 04 Fill the frame
Creative compositions for wildlife pictures: 05 Break the frame

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