Wildlife photography tips

Wildlife photography tips by Richard Young

Find some wildlife

We are lucky in NZ to have the chance to encounter some amazing wildlife while walking along our coastline. Knowing where to find your subject always helps; whether it's seals on a rocky shoreline, penguins walking up a sandy beach to their nest in the forest or some of the many bird species that migrate along our coastline. Time of the day and year also have a huge impact on what species you will find where.

Know your subject

The key to great wildlife photography is capturing fleeting moments of natural behavior. It pays to observe your subject, getting to know their behavioral patterns so you can predict what it will do next. Most importantly stay at a distance that you are not changing their behavior, getting too close will only result in stressing out the animal and them running away.

Capture the environment

Don't just zoom right in on your subject and completely fill the frame with it. Try to show your subject within its natural environment and the landscape where it lives, a close-up shot could just as well be taken at a zoo! Make sure you also take the time to just sit there and enjoy the privilege of spending with an animal in its natural environment.

Get your settings right

Make sure that you are using a fast shutter speed to capture any movement, this is also important when using long lenses; as any vibration in the camera will be magnified. The most import part of any wildlife photograph is the eyes of your subject, they need to be sharp and in focus; set your camera on single point focus (not auto point focus) and then make sure the focus point is on the eyes.
Join us in New Zealand wildlife capital; the Otago Peninsula on our Wildlife Masterclass Workshop to capture the area’s exceptional wildlife including New Zealand sea lions and fur seals, as well as a host of rare bird species, such as the Yellow-eyed penguin
About the Author
Richard Young is a full-time landscape and wildlife photographer based in Wellington. He has been guiding groups of photographers in New Zealand since 2010 and founded New Zealand Photography Workshops in 2013.

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