Tips and Tricks

Photographing Wildlife From Afar: Tips & Tricks

Wild animals are, well, wild. They can be shy and dangerous, so it’s best to keep your distance. That means you need a long lens to get a good shot. Master these tricks to get the best cat pictures ever.

Use the right shutter speed:

Wildlife moves around a lot, so you need to use the fastest shutter speed you can. The slowest shutter speed you should consider is one over the focal length of your lens—for example, 1/400 for a 400mm lens. If you want to catch animals in motion, start with a shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second, maybe even faster.

Use a large aperture:

A large aperture equals a lot of light. A lot of light gives you a faster shutter speed and a narrower depth of field, all of which helps you isolate your subject against a busy background. If you’re still not getting the exposure you want, try raising the ISO. (Lowering exposure time will cost you crispness.)

Keep moving and stay steady:

Yes, a long lens is heavy, but you’ll get the best pictures if you set the focal length first and move around to compose the shot. You may have to work out a little to get your arms in shape so you can keep your camera raised and ready to react fast when you spot the wildlife. If you’re not a bodybuilder and your lens is heavy, consider a monopod.

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