Wildlife photography can be exciting, especially when something you’ve been waiting for suddenly starts happening. But if you get caught up in the rush of the moment, you can forget the little things and your photos will come out a bit lacklustre. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Background – Photos aren’t just about the subject, the background also plays a huge role in making the photo great. Make sure your background doesn’t distract from the subject, and that there’s nothing in there that you don’t want.
Having a stick growing through your head probably isn’t comfortable, and it makes the background distracting. Light areas and lines draw the eye away from the subject.
Framing – Make sure you haven’t cut off any of your subjects extremities. I am often zoomed too close and clip off wing-tips and feet of birds. It’s really disappointing to get the photos on the computer only to find you’ve severed body parts from an otherwise good photo. Put some space around your subject, and make sure your shots are well-composed.
Zooming out just a little bit would have made this shot a keeper.
Shadows – Awkwardly placed shadows on the subject can be a pain, so try to eliminate them. It can be as little as moving slightly to the side, or waiting for your subject to turn to a more photogenic angle.
Great background, but a pesky shadow and no catchlight in the eye.
Pick your shots – If you are like me, and a little trigger-happy (shutter-happy?), you’ll want to blaze away as soon as the fun stuff starts. I’m not saying it’s a bad method, but a better one is waiting for the really good stuff to happen – when the subject turns it’s head to the right angle and gets a catchlight in the eye, or calls, or yawns, or stretches. If you blaze away from the beginning, there’s a chance that you’ll miss this due to your buffer being full, which is very disappointing as you watch it happen through the viewfinder!
It’s good to have a checklist to run through in your mind, to make sure you’re not overlooking anything. I hope this helps. It’s not a complete list by any means, so if you think I’ve missed something out, let me know by commenting below.