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5 tips for capturing wildlife for amateur photographers

  • Jun 7, 2016

While professionals have a litany of tools and tricks for capturing breathtaking photographs of wild animals, casual outdoor enthusiasts may instead be working with a simple digital camera or smartphone. Fortunately, it is still possible to take spectacular pictures of animals big and small with minimal training and relatively basic photography equipment.

Whether you're looking to post a memorable photo on social media or simply wish to catalog an encounter with a wild animal, consider these tips on your next hiking or camping trip:

1. Check your settings
The Digital Photography School stated that before you even head out on your trek, it's important that you review the settings on your camera or smartphone. There are a number of different variables that can impact the quality of your photos and your ability snap a picture of a fast moving animal.

Check out the shutter speed on your camera. By changing the settings so that you can take many pictures very quickly, you may be able to capture a creature in motion and will have more photos to sort through. Be sure to also see what options are available in terms of lighting and auto-enhancement.

2. Research your potential subjects
You may be poised to take the perfect photo, but unless you know where and when to find wild animals, all of your effort could be for not. Talk with a local guide or do some research ahead of time to find out what animals may inhabit the different areas of a given state park or outdoor area.

Many creatures are most active during dusk and dawn before the heat of the day sets in. Likewise, the early morning or a setting sun can present lighting opportunities that will make your pictures look even more beautiful. 

3. Keep an eye on the weather
Conditions may change drastically during the day, and Photography Life reported that shifting weather patterns can create all sorts of problems, as well as opportunities when it comes to photographing wildlife. 

Sunny weather may actually over-saturate a photo and make it difficult to take a good picture. Cloudy or overcast conditions, meanwhile, can often create conditions that are more conducive for picking up details in a photo. This can be especially true for individuals using a camera or smartphone that may not otherwise have the ability to overcome the harsh glare of a midday sun.

At the same time, rain and snow may give your subjects a new, interesting look. By using your PRO TREK PRG300-4 with Triple Sensor technology, you can monitor any changing weather patterns and plan accordingly. 

4. Capture the surrounding environment
Aside from the technical know-how of taking photos, making sure these pictures look nice is also important. National Geographic photographers Cary Wolinsky and Bob Caputo found that finding ways to capture both an animal and its environment make for the most arresting finished products.

Of course there are all sorts of artistic visions and styles to consider, and you may decide you prefer a different type of photograph. Nonetheless, Wolinsky and Caputo stated that they believe that incorporating the surrounding environment can convey mood and personality better than a zoomed-in shot. 

5. Consider an equipment upgrade
Even for hobbyists and casual photographers, investing in a new camera or lenses could make a big difference when it comes to capturing wild animals. Simple digital cameras and modern smartphones are immensely powerful, but other, slightly more advanced options give even amateur photographers many more choices and options when it comes to snapping good photos. 

This is especially true when switching between different animals. Capturing a deer many yards away requires different settings than photographing a bird in flight or friendly lady bug. With a new camera, it can be possible to make adjustments on the fly a little more easily.